We're still early in the preseason but the Hurricanes have already hit a busy spot in the schedule. They'll practice this morning, fly to Buffalo this afternoon to take on the Sabres tonight, then head from there to Long Island to face the Islanders tomorrow night.
Bill Peters and his staff have continued to introduce the Hurricanes new system in a very step-wise, deliberate, and logical fashion. The early attention to the power play, controlled zone entries, and net presence were apparent in Sunday's game, but also obvious were the defensive zone breakdowns which have not been addressed so far in camp. In his post-practice comments, Peters emphasized his style of making sure subjects are taught rather than touched on. With only a few days of practice, these early games will be played before all of the aspects of his plan are rolled out, but he expects to be "humming on all cylinders" by game six.
Tonight's line-up won't be known until after this morning's practices. The game group practices first at 10:30, followed by non-game group at 11:30. We'll post the roster when it becomes available. Here's what we do know:
- Anton Khudobin has been announced to start in net, backed up by Drew MacIntyre, MacIntyre, if you're not familiar, was signed in free agency this summer and will likely occupy the Checkers number one spot this season.
- Alexander Semin will not play, for the same reason Eric Staal was held out Sunday. Both had surgery in the off-season and will see limited game action throughout the preseason.
- The camp roster was trimmed to 44 yesterday. Sergey Tolchinsky and Alex Nedeljkovic, who played Sunday against Columbus, were returned to their junior clubs, along with Clark Bishop, Brent Pedersen, Tyler Ganly, Kyle Jenkins, and Josh Wesley.
- Most likely veterans on tonight's roster would include Jordan Staal, Jiri Tlusty, Nathan Gerbe, Justin Faulk, and Ron Hainsey. Among the prospects, expect to see Traverse City standouts Victor Rask and Brock McGinn get their first shots on the roster tonight. Thought not really a prospect but not quite a vet, Zach Boychuk is likely high on the watch list as well.
The Sabres are also playing their second preseason game. Tonight's their home opener. They lost to the Capitals 1-0 on Sunday in Washington. No roster has been set yet other than the news that center Sam Reinhart, drafted 2nd overall in this summer's draft, will play tonight in his second game. Head coach Ted Nolan said to expect a more experienced lineup tonight which should mean Matt Moulson, Drew Stafford, Marcus Foligno, Chris Stewart, Tyler Myers and such will be in the lineup. No starting goalie has been named but according to the Sabres website, Jhonas Enroth "should" get the start.
Speaking of goalies, I was reminded that former Hurricanes netminder Arturs Irbe is now a goaltender coach for the Sabres, added to Ted Nolan's staff in August. Another former Hurricane, Zac Dalpe, was picked up by the Sabres in free agency, but he played Sunday so probably won't be in the lineup tonight.
The game won't be televised but you can visualize all the on-ice action by listening to Chuck Kaiton's call from left to right on your radio dial on 99.9 FM The Fan. Also by the way, Canes web producer Michael Smith will be on the road for all the away games this season so hopefully that will mean more features and updates for fans.
- Bill Peters audio from Monday's practice [CH.com].
- Training camp notes from Monday's practice [CH.com] [WRALSportsFan] [N&O].
- Updates from Sabres' training camp [Sabres.com] [Buffalo Hockey Beat].
- I know a lot of y'all are just dying to know what's going on with your homeboy Chad LaRose, who was signed to a tryout contract by the Checkers over the summer, so here's an update [N&O] [Checkers.com].
- ICYMI, yesterday's much talked-about Peter Karmanos interviews regarding the conditions under which he'd sell the Hurricanes [TSN] [N&O].
- After yesterday's practice, most of the Canes players participated in the annual Kids 'N Community Foundation golf tournament at Prestonwood Country Club. [insert joke about Canes and golf practice here]. Lots of photos to be found at @CanesKNCF.