The Carolina Hurricanes were back to practice today, although only nine skaters were on the ice. According to reports on Twitter, Anton Khudobin and Cam Ward took plenty of shots on goal while brothers Eric and Jordan Staal were among the attendees.
It will be interesting to see the team's frame of mind when they come back for their first game. Will they take things easy and try to work themselves back into a mentality where every period is important, or will they be that way from the drop of the puck in Buffalo?
It will be March before you know it, which means that it will be April very soon as well. There is not much time to right the ship and get above the playoff line. Coach Muller is wishing he had more practice time, but it is what it is.
See what coach had to say in Chip's article from earlier today. Canes Now
Andrej Sekera and Alexander Semin should be returning back to Raleigh fairly soon, since both of their teams have been eliminated. Sekera looked good in the games that I watched. Semin could not get much offense going and was eventually moved off of Russia's top line with Ovechkin and Malkin.
The move didn't matter though as neither of the superstars could get much going even without Semin, as their team was eliminated by Team Finland. Speaking of Team Finland, Tuomo Ruutu is getting plenty of playing time and is chipping in with offense. Hopefully, he can bring that back with him and do the same for Carolina.
Justin Faulk has been scratched for Team USA and has yet to see action.
There was a report on Twitter after Team Russia was eliminated saying that Semin was playing through wrist and back injuries, although that has not been confirmed.
The team announced yesterday that Justin Peters was being assigned to the Checkers for a "reconditioning stint". Apparently, the rules regarding such are very liberal, since it had never been reported that Peters had been injured this season.
The reconditioning stint could be more of a showcase for a trade. The Checkers play Friday and Saturday night this weekend so look for "Pete Dawg" to see plenty of rubber, much like Khudobin and Ward did before him.
The trade deadline is less than two weeks from today and it seems unlikely the Canes will carry three goalies the rest of the season.
Of course Eric Staal also had a knee injury while representing Canada during the summer, which is now being blamed for his slow start this past fall.
It's fun to watch NHL'rs in the Olympics, but it is easy to see the arguments against this when millions of dollars are at stake. And the women's hockey match today certainly showed that there can be quality, exciting hockey in the Olympics without the NHL being involved.
In case you missed it, Team USA women lost to Canada in overtime, (with the help of a couple of questionable penalties in OT.) It was truly a heart-breaker as the American girls were up 2-0 with less then four minutes to play, before Canada jumped on them.
Friday at noon, Team Canada and Team USA face off again, this time for a men's semifinal game. It should be another good one.
The Canes will be practicing at Raleigh Center Ice on Friday, Sunday, and Monday at 11 a.m. They have a special practice at Cleland Ice Rink at Fort Bragg on Saturday at 11:15. ((UPDATE- team will practice at 10am Friday))