Yesterday evening, we saw the list of those 56 hockey players who will line up at the RBC Center tomorrow morning for the first official day of the 2011-12 NHL season. Many of them expect to play for the Hurricanes this year. Others are on the bubble and/or may spend most of the season in Charlotte. Several will be back in Juniors by next week. There are likely a few who have every intention of surprising management and the coaches to earn a spot starting in Raleigh October 7th. Let's call that the "Skinner Effect."
This is the largest number of players invited to Camp in the last three years. Last year there were 45 invites and just two groups. In 2009 - the year following the run to the Conference Finals, only 41 received invitations. In 2008 we saw 57 competing for a spot. That was when Peter Laviolette was coach and also the last time the Canes held a Red vs White scimmage.
This year the Hurricanes will play two intra-squad scrimmages plus two exhibition games in just the first seven days of camp. After that game next Friday, Sept 23, vs Nashville, it looks like there will be some cuts and the groups reduced from three to two, with likely about 18 - 19 players each, meaning around 20 young men will head out.
We here at Canes Country anticipate that you will need some sort of a cheat sheet to help to keep track of all these names, many of whom are new to the organization. And this guide would be especially useful when you're watching the action live along the boards of the arena Sunday at the 9:30 practice or the noon Red vs White scrimmage. And again, for the second such scrimmage next Wednesday, Sept 21, at noon.
After the jump, Canes Country has just what you're looking for.
Click on the red text to open a downloadable 7-page pdf of Canes Country's Guide to 2011 Training Camp, which has been separated into the three groups (Teams Black, White and Red) with photos, stats and notes about who all these players are, what's they've done and, perhaps most importantly, what the expectations are going forward.
On the 7th page is the schedule divided into three segments over the next three weeks. One caveat: expect the groups to be fluid, and I'll do my best to keep current when we hear of players being moved around. The link to the Guide above will take you to the latest revision and be updated until the first cuts next weekend, following the Nashville game. Then I'll set up a new Guide with a new link.
In his post this morning, Carolina Hurricanes Training Camp Preview: Part One - Forwards, Bob took an in-depth look at the the battles for roster spots among the forwards. Building on that, here's my best guess on how the lines are likely to set up (and repeating: this will be tweaked early and often - but for a first glance, it tells you what Paul Maurice and his staff might be thinking).
Team Black (10)
Team Red (11) - I had a hard time guessing who would be the bottom 5 here. Suggestions welcome, particularly with Victor Rask's plans for the 11-12 season being an unknown and depending totally on his perfomance this week.
Team White (10)
For the Defense, Bob will be looking at the expectations and camp battles ahead tomorrow. Here's how the pairings might look when they take the ice Saturday.
Team Black (7) (with seven, Allen is conspicuously the only lock for the NHL roster on Team Black.)
Austin Levi - Ryan Murphy
Team Red (6)
Kyle Lawson - Chris Murray
Team White (6)
Random observations and trivia
Murphy and Skinner reunited
Remember right after he was drafted at #12 overall in June, Ryan Murphy talked about how "it would be pretty weird to be on the ice with Jeff Skinner once again but I'm looking forward to it" ? Looks like he won't have to wait long - they're together on Team Black and practice Saturday at 12:30pm.
For all the celebrations of Suomi power we've had in Raleigh the last 12 months or so, there are some other European countries that are contributing their talents to the Canes franchise. Here's the break down by nationality.
Ukraine, Switzerland and Germany - 1 each
Sweden - 2
Czech Republic - 3
Finland - 4
That's a total of 12 who are European born. The other 44 are North American:
US born - 14
Canadians - 30
[For you sticklers for detail, I didn't count Brandon Sutter as US born, though I did Keegan Lowe.]
With all the recent discussion of whether young prospects should choose US Colleges vs Canadian Major Juniors, this year's camp has11 players who came through the NCAA en route to Raleigh this week.
Zac Dalpe, Chris Durno, Patrick Dwyer, Justin Faulk, Justin Krueger, Kyle Lawson, Jon Matsumoto, Jamie McBain, Mike McKenzie, John Muse, and Riley Nash. Plus Rod Brind`Amour if you want to include the coaching staff.
Once a Whaler...
Finally, because it's become a predictable story line every year at every draft, just how many of these kids played with the Hurricanes' owner Peter Karmanos' OHL team near Detroit, the Plymouth Whalers?
I counted these
6 - make that 7 : Forwards Chad LaRose, Chris Terry; Defensemen Brett Bellemore, Michal Jordan, Austin Levi;and Goalies Matt Mahalak and late add Justin Peters, who played most of his Junior hockey with the St Michael's Majors and one final year with Plymouth, after the Canes had drafted him.
Is it October yet?
Again, here's the link to the Canes Country's Guide to 2011 Training Camp, and remember to check back for changes as they happen. See you Sunday!