After a light practice with big smiles, some laughter and a full roster (and then some) at the Rec Zone at noon Thursday, the Canes are headed to Sunrise, Florida for the first half of their home-and-home with Southeast Division rivals the Florida Panthers this weekend. After the Canes amazing Finnish finish last night, the music that reflected the smile on Tuomo Ruutu's face after his first hat trick at the RBC Center, seemed still to be playing in the less glamorous confines on West Hodges Street.
Good news: Tim Gleason returned for his first outing on the ice with his teammates since returning from last week's roadtrip Monday. You can check out the camera-phone image captured through the glass today to confirm he is indeed on the mend. All Hail! However, Tim and Niclas Wallin did not make the trip, and Coach Paul Maurice stated after practice that they should both return to the line-up on Saturday when the Panthers come to Raleigh.
For those of you tracking who Coach Mo is working with now, present on the ice today:
All the NHL'ers were present, excluding Chad LaRose, Erik Cole and Sergei Samsonov. Niclas Wallin and Tim Gleason who have both missed games lately were both out with the group. In addition to Brandon Sutter, who I think we can safely say has earned his place as an NHL regular, add in these call-ups from Albany: forward Patrick Dwyer, and three count 'em three defensemen Bryan Rodney, Brett Carson and Jay Harrison. By my count that is 11 forwards, 8 defensemen and 2 goalies.
The local media was all over Gleason at his first appearance since the weekend, and Tim obliged them with some great lines:
Gleason Upbeat Despite Injury - Carolina Hurricanes - Paul Branecky Here's a typically memorable excerpt from Gleason's recollection of his "Ovechkin moment" last Friday: "The shift I got out there I saw him coming down and I wanted to give it to him," he recalled. "I hit him so hard, but it didn’t really move him. He’s a solid human being." Although it didn’t contribute to his injury, the hit may have actually done more harm than good in the short term. "The red stuff on my face scattered onto my visor and I couldn’t really see much after that, so I had to go back and clean it up. That was kind of funny," he said, before seeing the surrounding reporters’ reactions and trailing off somewhat. "At least I thought it was funny at the time."
Canes Now - Gleason back in practice "I probably should have taken it lightly on Saturday," Gleason said. "I just kind of went with it. I didn’t feel like I was all there on Saturday, but I thought I was good enough. … I think Sunday it did hit me."
Gleason: A nod to the old school - Canes - NewsObserver.com Carolina Hurricanes assistant coach Tome Rowe calls defenseman Tim Gleason "old school." Veteran winger Scott Walker prefers "old-time hockey" in talking about him.
The other development in the Canes organization comes to us only through a single tweet from TSN's Bob McKenzie:
Carolina puts Mike Ryan on waivers. from UberTwitter
Center Michael Ryan, who suffered a concussion pre-season, has been skating in Albany but has not played a game there yet. This move suggest he must be getting close to 100%. He is also listed as 5th in theCanes depth chart at center.
After the jump some additional links about last night's feel-good win for the nice guys, plus a few links from around the league you might like.
Forslund with Adam Gold and Joe Ovies Audio link to a more optimistic conversation than we've heard in a while, from the morning after the Dallas win.
Here's what people who don't follow the Canes as closely as we "Canes Country addicts" do are hearing on the evening news. Canes look to future - WRALSportsFan.com The Carolina Hurricanes may look to move some players moving forward. Mike Maniscalco on camera, explaining why the familiar veterans might be traded.
Another audiolink that I posted in the comments yesterday: EStaal on 620 the Buzz Wednesday morning. The eldest Staal talks about Parker, Timmy Gleason, AWard and the Olympics. Best interview with Eric I've ever heard.
Some rumors about trades. Luckily Eric Staal is no longer an E4 almost definitely going to St Louis!
The Return of Ray Whitney - The Cannon A proposal to bring Ray Whitney back to the Columbus Blue Jackets. They just noticed this guy has some value I guess. Wondering if the Wizard's moment of Christmas giving last night is a sign of poor judgment or great leadership....
The Hockey News: Rumor Roundup: Flying solo has more speculation on some upcoming trades for NHL Netminders.
Players that will be on the move | Crashing The Crease The top 3 names on this blogger's list? 1 - Ray Whitney, 2 - Jaroslav Halak, 3 - Matt Cullen
Here are your links re-capping last night's game, in case you didn't scope them out before your morning coffee.
Three Stars: Busy night for Ruutu's; Elliott, Huet blank foes - Puck Daddy Tuomo Ruutu #1 at Puck Daddy and NHL.com
Dallas Stars Blog - Stars' Daley won't play vs. Atlanta tonight - ESPN Dallas for which he can thank Tuomo Ruutu.
News on our next 2 opponents
The Hockey News: Ryan Dixon's blog: Florida Panther's Weiss and Horton amp it up Horton has racked up 23 points over his past 18 games, while Weiss has put up 20 in 16. Both are on pace to sniff around the 75-point barrier, which has to have DeBoer ready to do back flips.
The NY Rangers' demise has finally gotten obscene - Puck Daddy - NHL Blog - Yahoo! Sports Tortorella = Andrew Dice Clay? This ought to be fun Monday.
Some heart-warming stories in the Season of Giving and follow-up links to stories we've been tracking
Canes score smiles with children - Canes - NewsObserver.com A few lucky kids do some Christmas shopping with the Canes.
Canes may open overseas - Canes - NewsObserver.com The Carolina Hurricanes could be opening next season on the road - in Finland.
Canada names final WJC roster - 2010 World Junior Championship Canada named its roster to go after a sixth-straight WJC gold medal.
College players provide base of USA Junior Team - NHL.com - On Campus No players currently affiliated with the Canes on this partial list for Team USA either.
Canadiens still mulling captaincy options - NHL.com - NHL Insider The Montreal Canadiens are still mulling captaincy options. So here's how the oldest team in hockey goes through the process.
NHLPA search committee set to look for new executive director - ESPN The NHL Players' Association executive board has picked players Ryan Getzlaf, Jamie Langenbrunner, Brian Rafalski, Brian Rolston and Mathieu Schneider for a search committee seeking a new executive director.
Teams of the Decade: Shooting and PDO - Behind The Net Teams of the decade in shooting. What about Carolina? The Hurricanes have simply had really bad goaltending during the season but have turned it up in the playoffs - Cam Ward has posted .915 and .920 save percentages in the post-season, while an Arturs Irbe/Kevin Weekes tandem hit .938 on the way to a Stanley Cup loss in 2002. We tend to remember Carolina's strong finishes, but they've frequently been very, very bad during this decade.
John Buccigross: My 13 simple rules for hockey parents everywhere - ESPN Orion. The Big Dipper. The stars aligned to bring Bucci to hockey. Now, he's passing along his 13 simple rules to keep the love of the game alive.
Finally, Puck Daddy linked this a few days ago, but in the spirit of the season proof-positive that hockey can (and should!) be fun, (even in Carolina: be sure to listen to Forslund's conversation on 620 the Buzz above). See how the top-ranked Pittsburgh Penguins have turned shootout practice into making team merriment (and unlike the Tampa Bay Lightning, everyone is allowed to keep his clothes on).