This may be just a blip on the radar, but Kirk Muller continues to look for ways to bring maximum returns from the players on the roster: Hurricanes depth chart from practice as of Jan 5 2011. From CarolinaHurricanes.com Note: the sequence of the lines has since been updated to show Brandon Sutter's line is considered the 2nd line.
The Carolina Hurricanes had an earlier-than-usual practice this morning in preparation for their game tomorrow night when the Buffalo Sabres are in town. The shoot-out loss Tuesday has led to some roster adjustments with Zac Dalpe and Derek Joslin assigned to Charlotte yesterday.
It appears Patrick Dwyer has not yet been cleared for contact (same for Skinner) which leaves the Canes with just 11 forwards. This opens the door for another emergency recall. Per Chip Alexander, the call goes to the Checkers captain, Brett Sutter. This will be Sutter42's first audition in front of the new Coach.
We'll update this with the link when the Canes make it official. 5:25PM: It's Official.
Post practice audio from Coach Kirk Muller today - 4 minutes, including discussion of the who's why's and when's.
Canes likely to recall Brett Sutter- Chip Alexander, Canes Now ★★★★★ Muller had Staal centering Tuomo Ruutu and Jussi Jokinen, moving Jokinen back to a wing.
"We're trying to look at the options," Muller said. "They're three veteran guys and put a little onus on them to lead the charge up there, to produce as a top line. (Jokinen) has had some chemistry with 'Staalsy' and 'Ruuts' is playing harder. I think it's important that we establish that type of a line."
LATE UPDATE: Muller Will Get First Look at Brett Sutter - Tracking the Storm ★★★★★ Brett Sutter will be up with the big club for both games. With Sunday a scheduled off-day, news on Skinner or Dwyer’s return most likely will wait until Monday in advance of the Hurricanes’ game with the Philadelphia Flyers at home on Tuesday.
Jamie Kellner was at practice yesterday and put together a ★★★★ flickr photo set of the more informal setting at RCI.
Hurricanes send Dalpe, Joslin to Charlotte - NewsObserver.com ★★★★★ with attention paid to how the coach determines lines and TOI:
"I think the message overall is we've got to compete, we've got to compete hard and we've got to win battles," Muller said. "It's consistency that we're after. We've got to be a hard team to play against, with the puck, without the puck. One-on-one battles, everywhere on the rink."We can't have any exceptions. That's the way we have to play to get results on a consistent basis."
After the jump, Canes-focused news and links, including speculation on those players who are here now, but might not be by the trade deadline, checking in with Victor Rask at World Juniors, and a few other updates from across the puckwebz.
Catching up with the Hurricanes
- Kirk Muller on Canes Corner - WRALSportsFan.com Carolina Hurricanes coach Kirk Miller joined Mike Maniscalco on canes corner fromt he Backyard Bistro to talk abotu the transition to NHL head coach. 45 minutes ★★★★★
- Ron Francis - SPORTSNET 590 The FAN Toronto 7:40 - talks Staal and his linemates, Skinner, his own evolving role on Canes, living in Raleigh, concussions, and HBO's 24/7. ★★★
Plus some text
- Canes' Skinner back to practice - NewsObserver.com ★★★★ Jeff Skinner can't say definitively when he'll be back in the Carolina Hurricanes' lineup, back to playing in games.
Dissecting the Shootout with Jussi Jokinen - Michael Smith, Tracking the Storm ★★★★ Jussi Jokinen is one of the best shootout specialists in the NHL.
- A little out-dated, but worth a read: Nodl getting comfortable with Canes - Canes Now ★★★ "I've never been traded before and especially coming to a new team (on waivers) during a season is pretty challenging," Andrea Nodl said. "You've just got to get comfortable again and make a lot of new friends and all that stuff. It took me a little while to get comfortable."
- December 2011 Monthly Report - Tracking the Storm ★★★★★ Looking back at December, a month in which the Canes finished 5-7-2. Far more than stats, but a succinct mid-term "State of the Team" from GM Jim Rutherford.
The Canes have a number of upcoming unrestricted free agents that have "rental" potential for Stanley Cup contenders. As the trade deadline nears and playoff races heat up, Rutherford suspects the prices for these rental players will become steeper.
View from the outside
- Caps and Canes: Coaching changes paying off? | Powerscout Hockey ★★★★ Interesting advanced stats take on the Hurricanes before and after Muller took over.
- Hometown story for context on Zac Dalpe 's development: Dalpe sets pace for the next wave - Brantford Expositor - Ontario, CA ★★★ Friday at the Brant Sports Complex, Dalpe was the veteran pro setting the example, as the next wave of young guns worked out with local hockey gurus Scott Rex and Paul Polillo.
- Following Justin Peters' season debut in goal vs the Penguins last week, one well-known goalie guru had this evaluation: Loss Aside, Peters Shines in Season Debut - The Goalie Guild ★★★★
I really like the way Peters moves in the net. He’s wider than he is taller, so his space management is fairly solid. It was really good in last night’s game, mainly due to the fact he was able to get to the top of his crease on most occasions. He has quick feet for his frame, which is essentially the most important part of quality in-crease movement. Everything in terms of his technique and performance came together nicely right from the drop of the puck, so he rode the wave of momentum throughout the night and finished as Carolina’s best player.
Prospects and the WJC
It's the Swedes vs the Russians for the 2012 World Juniors Gold Medal at Calgary's Saddledome Arena tonight. It'll be broadcast at 8pm ET on NHLNetwork. Victor Rask has not played a major role on the Swedish team yet, but still, it's a great experience and as a top center for the WHL's Calgary Hitmen, he gets some extra attention from local media.
- A LOCAL HERO PLAYS FOR GOLD - IIHF.com BLOG Born in 1993, Victor Rask may not get that much ice time and registered just one assist in five games, but he certainly enjoys the experience and might be back stronger next year in Ufa. ★★★★
- Video: 2012 JC - Victor Rask and Max Friberg, Sweden - Hockey's Future From the media scrum after the Swede' win in the seimfinals over Finland - to get to the Gold medal game. ★★
Plus: a nice showing in Charlotte from the Number 5 goalie in the system. John Muse, formerly the backstop at Boston College, where Brian Dumoulin still plays, has an AHL/ECHL contract and got his first AHL start in the back-to-back. As happens in pro sports, he, like Justin Peters, is a beneficiary of the Brian Boucher injury.
- Muse helps Charlotte even two-game series with Rampage | CharlotteObserver.com A stellar performance by Charlotte rookie goaltender John Muse and goals by Jerome Samson and Riley Nash allowed the Checkers to defeat the Rampage 2-1, and split their two-game home series with San Antonio. Pleased to note that John Muse was also named first star of the night by the AHL.
[rampant] Trade speculation
For those of you keeping track, there are 54 days or so till we know how this shakes out:
- Red Wings midseason report: Team in good shape - The Detroit News Trade deadline possibilities: The Red Wings have wiggle room to be major players at the trade deadline (Feb. 28) — be it another forward with size or scoring ability (Carolina's Tuomo Ruutu or Edmonton's Ales Hemsky ), a defenseman (Carolina's Bryan Allen ) or backup goaltender (New York Islanders Evgeni Nabokov ).
- Las Vegas Coyotes a longshot + 30 Thoughts- Elliotte Freidman, CBC Sports - ★★★★★
4. You guys love trade talk, so here's some: If you've got defencemen to trade, you are in position A. NHL general managers may sell their children for blue-line depth. One defenceman who appears to be available and will command interest is Carolina's Tim Gleason. "He's a good player," said one GM. Gleason is a UFA-to-be.
To which I say, between Keegan Lowe and Brett Sutter, Rutherford has already established precedent in concept. Does Holmgren Jr. even play hockey? And if so, how would he compare to one or more of Ken Holland's progeny?
- From last week, but still relevant: Staal deals with trade rumours, losing - Toronto Sun ★★★★★ When Eric Staal steps onto the ice against the Maple Leafs at the RBC Center on Thursday, hordes of television viewers back in Canada will dream of what the gifted centre would look like in blue and white.
- Time to dump Ruutu? - Matt Karash - HockeyBuzz.com ★★★ So I think it might be time now to cut Tuomo Ruutu loose early for a couple reasons...
- The Untouchables - Corey Sznajder, Shutdown Line ★★★★ Carolina are more likely to be sellers this deadline with the team being out of contention and having a few expiring contracts on hand but let's say there is a deal like the Erik Johnson/Chris Stewart trade from last year and the Canes do make a big trade, who would be on the team's "untouchable" list.
- Rick Nash would waive his no-trade clause if Blue Jackets wanted to move him | ProHockeyTalk A true captain knows when to fall on his sword if it benefits the team.
- Ducks GM says Selanne, Koivu are only ‘untouchables’ | ProHockeyTalk Yes, that means Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan could conceivably be had.
Around the league
Remember when we all cared about this?
Leading vote-getter Karlsson leads Ottawa's charge in ASG voting results - 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game Ottawa dominates fan voting results, earning four ASG berths. Rest of the invites will be announced later this month. The events are set for Jan 27 to 29, in Ottawa. Yes there will be a fantasy draft.
Off ice considerations
Your HM special - from last night's local news: Hurricanes bonding over recent fatherhood - WRALSportsFan.com ★★★★★ WRAL's Mandy Mitchell spoke to several new fathers on the Hurricanes team and staff about how they are bonding over their new babies.
No further description needed - just take a look. Tumblr: He's Just So Thrilled ★★★★★ Eric Staal holds all sorts of things. (sticktap to Caniacgirl3016)
Because the Hurricanes came in second to only the NY Rangers, something to distract you or cause further consternation and debate: Tea with Ms. Conduct: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall… - Ms Conduct, Backhand Shelf ★★★★
But because we’re not just winging it here at Backhand Shelf — because we have integrity and we like to put numbers and facts behind our work — I knew I couldn’t just assume the Rangers were the most attractive team in the league. I had to make up numbers to support my theory.