Tonight marks the sixth exhibition game for both the Canes and the Sabres. The teams met last week in Buffalo and the Sabres came away with the 2-0 win. Neither team has set a game roster yet, so we'll update line-ups later today after both teams hold their morning skates. In the meantime there's a ton to click and read and listen to in preparation for tonight's game.
The Canes reduced their training camp roster by 11 yesterday, now down to a more manageable number that will allow Bill Peters to get his players into one practice unit, which is how they practiced yesterday. The goal has been to ice tonight's roster as close as possible to an Opening Night line-up, but those plans may take a detour if Alexander Semin is out. Sasha left practice early yesterday, and in post-practice comments, Peters had no information available as to his status but was hopeful the issue is minor (unknown as to whether it might be related to his recovery from offseason wrist surgery). Giving Eric Staal, Semin, and Jiri Tlusty game time together continues to be a very high priority going into the final two preseason games.
In another practice development, Victor Rask continued to be rewarded for stepping up his preseason play, centering a line with Elias Lindholm and Jeff Skinner. More (much more) on Rask in today's news links.
Patrick Dwyer didn't skate after leaving Wednesday's game early in the third period with a lower body injury. There was no report on his status for tonight.
Cam Ward will start tonight's game, with the plan to give him the full 60 minutes in net tonight with Anton Khudobin to get the same Sunday against Washington.
The Sabres play their preseason finale tonight. They are 2-2-1 so far and are coming off a 6-1 shellacking of the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night. Yesterday's practice lines are posted on the Sabres website. Tyler Myers didn't skate yesterday but head coach Ted Nolan said he is likely to play tonight. Patrick Kaleta, Johan Larsson, and Mark Pysyk are out with injuries. Michal Neuvirth will start in net.
News Links (y'all need to click every one of these, trust me):
- There's a lot more from Bill Peters in yesterday's post practice audio and in an afternoon interview with Adam and Joe on 99.9 The Fan. Hear comments on how Victor Rask continues to earn his promotions, bringing Eric Staal and Alex Semin up to speed, calling for a starter in net, and when Chad LaRose might see game action [CH.com] [WRALSportsFan].
- Jay Harrison dialed in to talk with Mark and Mike on 620 The Buzz about leadership on and off the ice, the value of preseason prognostications, and Robert Plant [WRALSportsFan].
- Eric Staal spoke with the David Glenn Show and answered questions on what gave him optimistm about the season, what to say to critics that ask how much he 'cares', and the challenges of fatherhood (breaking news: there's another Staal on the way) [WRALSportsFan].
- Erin Summers and Mike Maniscalco talk about the goalie watch, and high expectations for Victor Rask [WRALSportsFan].
- Chip Alexander and Luke DeCock both weigh in on, you guessed it, Victor Rask [N&O-Alexander] [N&O-DeCock].
- With Jordan Staal officially on Injured Reserve as of Thursday's roster moves, Section 328 provides insight on how other teams have handled recent significant injuries [Section 328].
- Want to see what another sports market had to say about the Canes? Cory came across this great recap after Wednesday's game [Columbus Dispatch]. Just in case you don't click it, here's a cut and paste of what Blue Jackets media said about the Canes (emphasis mine):
"The Hurricanes team the Jackets faced last night was not loaded. A number of regulars - such as forwards Jordan Staal (broken leg), Eric Staal, Alexander Semin and Jeff Skinner and defensemen Justin Faulk and Andrej Sekera stayed home in Raleigh. Yet, their team identity was evident.
With an entirely new hockey-operations staff led by Ron Francis and a new coaching staff led by Bill Peters, it is clear that a certain message is getting through to everyone in camp. These Hurricanes use their speed to mount an aggressive and relentless forecheck. They gave the Jackets all they could handle, particularly in the second period. They might have something special in center Victor Rask, a former second-round pick."
- Finally, if you missed the hoopla yesterday... Canes president Don Waddell was on WRAL TV early in the day to talk about the direction of the team under the new leadership [WRALSportsFan]. From there he attended a meeting with the Centennial Authority during which he addressed recent comments that Peter Karmanos is looking to sell the team, as reported quite thoroughly by Chip Alexander [N&O]. Later in the afternoon, the Triangle Business Journal tweeted a blurb (I hesitate to call it an article) about the event with the headline "Hurricanes president: Team will remain in Raleigh for now" [TBJ], causing all kinds of backlash including a comeuppance from the Hurricanes VP of Communications [twitter]. Waddell returned to the airwaves Thursday afternoon to set the story straight with Adam and Joe [WRALSportsFan], and the article's author, Jason deBruyn, called in as well to give his side of the story [also WRALSportsFan]. I'll recount my favorite moment:
Jason deBruyn: "If you read the very first sentence in the story, it even says Don Waddell says talks of the Hurricanes being sold are overblown. That was in the story."
Joe Ovies: "But those are two separate things. Selling the team and moving the team are two separate things."
Jason deBruyn: "Well, yeah... They're two separate things, but I mean they're SORT OF connected."
Kudos to Adam and Joe for getting both interviews and putting the issue to rest. For now. Sort of.
One more thing about tonight's game, and I know I said this the other night and was proven wrong, but here's a programming note that I believe comes from a reliable source: