Thinking about all the hockey players who are traveling today. The Carolina Hurricanes "media guy" Mike Sundheim is with the newest NHL celebrity Jeff Skinner for the pre-season Player Media Tour in New York. Then the youngest players in the Canes system are playing in the rookie tournament at Traverse City and many are tweeting updates from the airport as they converge on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. Surrounding it all, the news surrounding the tragic loss of the KHL's Lokomotiv Yaroslavl yesterday is overwhelming.
Here in town, new and familiar faces are streaming into Raleigh to take part in the pre-camp workouts led by Canes' head trainer Pete Friesen. There were 30 players on the ice at Raleigh Center Ice yesterday participating in a very serious 5-on-5 scrimmage. With Joni Pitkanen and, now, Tomas Kaberle's arrival today, the full NHL 7-man defensive corps is all present and accounted for.
Travel-blog: Skinner Takes Manhattan - Mike Sundheim and Michael Smith - Tracking the Storm Nineteen-year-old Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner was this year invited to take part in the 2011 Player Media Tour in New York City. Includes this 9-page media kit which you can download as a .pdf: Jeff Skinner media kit. You can also see the pictures tweeted by Sundheim here @MikeSundheim and at the Canes official twitter account, @nhl_canes.
Coming up: Checking in up at Traverse City, more thoughts on the loss to the international hockey community including Josef Vasicek, plus a plethora of Canes' season previews and roster projections and several Canes alumni in the headlines.
Goin' to Traverse City
The NHL Rookie Tournament begins Saturday in Traverse City. For most of the players, this may be the most challenging and important tournament of their young careers.
Here's a link to the roster and schedule. Almost all the players who were at the Hurricanes' prospects camp in Wake Forest in July will be there, with the exception of Frederik Andersen. Three players who we've been watching at RCI the last couple weeks are also headed up to Michigan: Justin Faulk, Justin Krueger and Jared Staal. The first game is at 4pm Saturday vs the Dallas Stars.
Plymouth Whaler goalie Matt Mahalak is getting the twitter talk going:
@Sutts19 @bgoodrow23 @ryanmurphy24 @klowe4 @victorrask Packin up for traverse city. cant wait for a great week w/ the boys #niceblinkerdoug
It's not much, but one of the Hurricanes games in Traverse City will be televised on the NHL Network. From the TV Listings. Set your DVR's for Tuesday, 9/13, at 3:30 PM showing the Traverse City Prospects Tournament: NY Rangers vs. Hurricanes (plus more than a few replays in the ensuing 24 hours.)
The Kitchener Record - Will Hurricanes claim another Ranger? Are the Kitchener Rangers about to get Skinnered? Blue chip prospect Ryan Murphy leaves for the Carolina Hurricanes camp Thursday and there is a chance the first round draft pick may not be coming back..... Murphy, who went 12th overall in the draft this past June, is an offensive-minded defenceman who would fit nicely on Carolina’s blue-line, especially on the point of the team’s brutal power play that ranked 24th out of 30 NHL teams last season.
Vasicek and the KHL's Lokomotiv
On Josef Vasicek and his Lokomotiv teammates from Yaroslavl who lost their lives yesterday as they headed to play their season-opening game at Minsk, Belarus.
- Canes mourn Vasicek's death in plane crash - Chip Alexander, NewsObserver.com Josef Vasicek put his name on the Stanley Cup in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes. There will always be that tie, that memory, that bond.
- WRAL.TV's Adam Owens produced this story for the evening news, including comments from Rod Brind`Amour.
- Tthe Hockey Hall of Fame shared this wonderful photo from 2006 on Facebook: Josef Vasicek with the Stanley Cup at home in the Czech Republic
- Player agent shares memories of Demitra, Vasicek - Mike Morreale, NHL.com "Vasicek is a young kid I've known since he was 15 years old," Winter told the station. "He was a lovable guy with a big smile. He'd never hurt anybody and everyone that's ever played with him loved him."
- Hard Hits feature: Remembering Joe Vasicek - HurricanesBeat.com At 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, Vasicek was affectionately called Big Joe by those of us who followed the Canes from the press box and stands alike. Number 63 was an easy guy to like; his big heart and zest for life in the NHL evident each day with his big eyes and even broader smile.
- Remembering the Czech Condor - David Lee, Red & Black hockey At some point during that season, I picked Vasicek as my favorite player. He wasn’t the most skilled or the most well-known player, but he earned a lot of respect by working hard, crashing the net and treating every shift like it could be his last.
- HockeyBuzz.com - Matt Karash - Rest in Peace: Josef Vasicek Scorer of biggest goal in Canes history
This Dallas blogger presents one of the most poignant accounts from yesterday: Reality Check: achicksperspective
I open up the trip ticket info on my phone, to see who I am picking up. Aaaah, another Dallas Stars transfer to the airport. That explains the van. These hockey guys always have big bags because they are usually traveling overseas. The last name, Skrastins. Never heard of him. No first name. I’ll have to google him. Google search: Skrastins Dallas Stars.
These last two were posted in the comments here yesterday, but are wonderful tributes from some talented writers who knew "Big Joe" very well.
- Luke DeCock, Canes Now - Remembering Josef Vasicek, 1980-2011
- Mike Sundheim, Guy Behind the Guy - Big Joe
Looking ahead to the new season here in Raleigh
Player profiles and Roster analyses
Buried in the Lokomotiv news yesterday, but this must read interview from Bob Wage addresses so many questions Canes fans have been pondering: Paul Maurice Shares Some Insight - Canes Country
Jamie Kellner's latest photo set of 2011 RCI Pre-Camp Skate - Week 3 features first appearances this season of Tim Brent, Chris Terry, Jay Harrison, Justin Soryal, Joni Pitkanen and Tomas Kaberle.
Canes Now - Sanguinetti happy to be healthy "I'm coming in with the mindset where I'm going to try to make the team," Bobby Sanguinetti said. "You've got to believe it for that to happen and that's where I am now."
HockeyBuzz.com - Matt Karash - Need to loosen the leash on nastiness With the Canes 2011-12 roster full of young skill players early in their NHL careers, the team will have need for a little bit of policing to do this season. Karash also did separate posts on the forward lines: You make the line combos and then looking at the D: Round 2 of sorting it out - The blue line
Hard hits analysis: Roster Questions - HurricanesBeat.com, Kurt Dusterberg Roster Settled? Don't Bet On It The Hurricanes have 20 players signed to NHL contracts. They are light one forward, a spot that will presumably be filled by one of the Charlotte prospects. They have seven defensemen and two goaltenders signed. Despite that stability, there are three potential questions marks as training camp approaches.
Carolina 2011-12 Season previews
Bloggers Breakouts 2011 - Carolina Hurricanes - Fantasy Hockey Scouts Seven fantasy questions with Canes- expert Bob Wage from Canes Country. Bob's Breakout player? All I can say great minds think alike.
I did this preview myself over at Red Light District: 30 in 30: Carolina Hurricanes The edgy attitude we’re hearing from the players and management in Raleigh as they prepare for the 2011-12 season couldn't be more different than it was a year ago.
Bringing the snark: Puck Daddy NHL Season Preview 2011-12: Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford has one of the strongest pimp-hands in the League, getting his players back in the fold very summer for a reasonable price despite crying poverty about their free agency. The Kaberle move is one of his boldest in years. He's built a playoff contender, and kept it together.
From the Canadian perspective: 30 Teams In 30 Days: Carolina Hurricanes - TSN.ca previews With their core of young talent, the Hurricanes will be a headache for opposing teams in the Eastern Conference for years to come. From TSN's Fantasy writer: Cullen: Hurricanes need production from young players - TSN.ca
About that core of young talent:
Super read from The Hockey News: Ryan Kennedy: Hurricanes prospects look to follow Jeff Skinner's lead The goal for Dalpe and the other young Canes is to replicate Skinner’s 82-game NHL feat this season. Zach Boychuk and Drayson Bowman both saw action 23 times last year, but neither made huge impacts. Though the team added forwards Alexei Ponikarovsky and Anthony Stewart in the summer, there will once again be chances for the next wave to grab roster spots.
Twitter / @coreypronman: Look who this widely read NHL prospect scout picks to be among the 5 highest scoring rookies in the NHL this season:
Though I suspect you're more interested in the reverse of this question, a relevant post from Boston: Big Bad Blog: Will Joe Corvo be able to replace Tomas Kaberle?
For the sake of comparison, Tomas Kaberle is a little bigger than Joe Corvo, while Corvo is a better skater. (While Kaberle’s passing skills were as-advertised, one thing that stood out here with the Czech blueliner was how poor a skater he was). Corvo’s 40 points last season tied a career-high, while Kaberle had 47 points in a season that was close to on par with his recent output, but far from the 67 he had in the 2005-06 season.
Cory Stillman to announce retirement from NHL after 16 seasons | ProHockeyTalk. Another story lost in the news yesterday: Cory Stillman won two Stanley Cups in his career and after 16 seasons in the league, he's calling it quits to join the Florida Panthers in an off-ice role.
Hurricanes Hire Shane Willis as Youth and Amateur Hockey Coordinator - The Hurricanes today hired former forward Shane Willis as its youth and amateur hockey coordinator.
Canucks Formally Invite Legace, Begin to Training Camp | The Province Blogs The Vancouver Canucks have officially signed G Manny Legace and C Steve Begin to Professional Try-Out contracts.
Another retiree: WBS Penguins’ Tough Guy Retires | INSIDE HOCKEY "You may all know my husband, Jesse Boulerice," read a post written by Jacqueline Boulerice. "He has retired and we are settled into our home, and he is in the working world now…
Last, don't forget that this Sunday is the Annual Pete Friesen 5K Fun Run at the RBC Center which corresponds to the first day that single game tickets go on sale. Over the last 7 years, the event has raised nearly quarter-million dollars for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Eastern North Carolina.
Looking ahead to October, another big annual fundraiser the Hurricanes players participate in is getting some promotional videos as well. Here's Derek Joslin with Justin Peters working as straightman and backup: Derek Joslin on KNCF Golf Tournament Video - Carolina Hurricanes