Here's a quick look at six players that impacted their fortunes one way or the other during Sunday's Red-White Game at the RBC Center, plus some other news and notes.
Dan LaCouture — The 31-year-old journeyman winger was the best player on the ice all night, and not just on the scoresheet. From my vantage point, no one was skating harder and doing more to make things happen than the veteran. It's early, but LaCouture is making his case for the vacancy at forward.
Dwight Helminen — Helminen had the most jump to start the game — it probably helped both him and LaCouture that they were teamed up together (with Ryan Bayda) on a line. Helminen was productive in the offensive zone and even showed a little jam, standing up the much bigger Anton Babchuk at one point.
Mike Murphy — The slight goaltender was probably the most dynamic puck stopper in the game. He made one stunning glove save on a slap shot from Brett Carson, and was otherwise solid in net. Fellow netminders Justin Peters and Daniel Manzato played well also, though Manzato was victimized for a couple goals on highlight-reel plays from the opposition.
Also worth noting: Carson and fellow defensemen Casey Borer solidified their spots as the team's two most NHL-ready prospects. Both were confident with the puck and responsible in their own end. ... Drayson Bowman was solid, if unspectacular, at the scrimmage, but the interesting thing is he's listed as the first-line right wing on the Canes' depth chart. Depth charts, of course, are to be taken with a grain of salt, but it's worth pointing out. ... Jakub Petruzalek and Stefan Chaput were both active throughout the night, as was Joe Jensen. Jeff O'Neill was in the spotlight all night and he performed well for his first time out in a year.
Benn Olson — I really noticed Olson twice on the evening: once when he nearly fell over trying to get back in his own end, and again when he did tumble to the ice.
Michal Jordan — There's no denying Jordan is a smooth-skating blueliner, but his passes were frequently off the tape and he was careless with the puck a few times. Of course, there's plenty of time for Jordan to polish his skills, and he'll get to do so under the (sort of) watch of Carolina while with Plymouth.
David Leggio — Leggio struggled a bit in net, and it was probably more noticeable because of the way Murphy was playing on the opposite side of the rink.
Also worth noting: Bobby Hughes and Nick Dodge did not play. According to director of media relations Mike Sundheim, Dodge was back on the ice today. There's still no official word on Hughes, but River Rats beat writer Phil Janack said in the comments section of his blog that Hughes has not yet been cleared to play. ... Babchuk left the game early with an apparent knee injury and, according to Sundheim and Paul Branecky's article on the team's site, it was for precautionary reasons.
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Chip Alexander has a couple nuggets worth repeating from Lord Stanley's Blog. First off, first-round pick Zach Boychuk has been cleared to practice with the team, a surprise given that it was expected Boychuk's wrist would not be sufficiently healed for him to participate in all the team's drills. Carolina's site has a article up about his solid performance in practice today.
Also, Alexander reports that GM Jim Rutherford offered free agent winger Mark Parrish an invititation to camp on a tryout, but Parrish declined.
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The NHL Network will be televising the Hurricanes' preseason game against Philadelphia at the old Spectrum Saturday at 1 p.m.
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Finally, the NHL — as expected — gave its approval to Eric Staal's deal Friday, finalizing the seven-year deal after a brief hiccup with the wording in the no-trade clause held things up.