Just over 24 hours from now, the Carolina Hurricanes will start their league-mandated week off, the team’s first-ever in-season bye week that means no organized activity for five days. The Canes will return to practice on Thursday, February 16 to prepare for the next night’s game at home against the Colorado Avalanche, but in the meantime they’re going to scatter to recover and get ready for a stretch run that’s going to see them play more games than almost any other team in the league.
When they get back to work next week, they’ll have games in hand over everyone in the East, but the downside is that they’re going to cram 29 games into just 52 days, so the rest will be welcomed and very necessary if the Canes are going to make a charge to the playoffs.
In the meantime, here are some reading assignments to occupy you while the Canes go recharge the batteries.
The Edwards Mill Report
- Bryan Bickell, who has been out since October after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, is targeting the homestand following the bye week to make his long-awaited return to game action. [NHL.com]
- Here’s what Bickell had to say after practice yesterday. Suffice it to say he’s pretty pumped to finally see the end of the long road back to playing hockey.
- Chip Alexander asked around to see where some players are headed for the bye week. To the shock of absolutely no one, Justin Faulk is going ice fishing in Minnesota. [N&O]
- Got your Casino Night tickets yet? It’s less than two weeks away. [Hurricanes]
- The Carolina Mudcats are doing a bit of cross-promotion on May 13. Their second annual “Cats ‘n Canes” night will feature alumni appearances, Stormy and the Storm Squad, and of course, all the zaniness inherent to minor-league baseball.
- Ron Francis joined Adam and Joe on Wednesday to talk about, among other things, being named to the NHL’s Top 100 and what the team plans to do at the trade deadline. [WRALSportsFan]
- SI’s Alex Prewitt has spent a lot of time around the Canes lately and has written some great profiles. Here is his feature on the long and winding road taken by Derek Ryan on his way to the NHL. [Sports Illustrated]
- And here’s Prewitt with Bill Peters, whom he interviewed while the coach was on an exercise bike. Seriously. [Sports Illustrated]
- Where do players around the league see fighting fit into today’s game? Cam Ward, Jeff Skinner and Ron Hainsey are among those who share their thoughts. [ESPN]
Getting Out Of Town, In More Ways Than One
- The New Jersey Devils are one of many teams with a love-hate relationship with the bye week. [NJ.com]
- The Florida Panthers, meanwhile, fall firmly on the “hate” side of the ledger after they were trounced by the Kings in a game that saw both goalies get the hook. [Pro Hockey Talk]
- Could Kevin Shattenkirk be part of the NHL’s first sign-and-trade? [ESPN]
- Tomorrow night’s opponents have been, to put it politely, disappointing this season. Defending Big D says that’s not a reason for GM Jim Nill to overreact. [DBD]
- Who, if anyone, should the Maple Leafs target at the deadline? (PPP takes on Damien Cox in this piece, which is always worth your time.) [Pension Plan Puppets]
- The Arizona Coyotes, meanwhile, despite having their proposed arena deal fall apart after Arizona State University pulled out of the agreement... [Five For Howling]
- ...insist that they are not getting out of town to anywhere other than another suburb in the Phoenix area. [Arizona Sports, and the original story from the Glendale Star which has been dismissed by all parties involved]
Elsewhere in the Hockey World
- The infamous FOX Glow Puck turned 20 years old on All-Star Weekend. Sports Business Journal has an oral history of how the most ridiculed innovation in hockey history came to be. [SBJ]
- This is a little old, but it’s a really good read on what’s changed with Alexander Radulov on his second tour of duty in the NHL. [Sportsnet]
- An ice crew member for the Los Angeles Kings was an emergency stand-in for a last-minute cancellation from Fifth Harmony at the All-Star Game, and she acquitted herself very well, thank you. [Puck Daddy]
- Two peewee teams in New Brunswick were fined $350 apiece and suspended from further competition after missing a mandatory tournament over Christmas... [CBC]
- ...until a good Samaritan from the other side of the country stepped in and paid the fine himself to put an end to this nonsense. [CBC]
- This Week In Stick To Sports: The Flyers are going to Russia next preseason. Broad Street Hockey helpfully offers ten candidates who could kick Vladimir Putin’s posterior. [BSH]
- Dave Lozo wonders, with the salary cap expected to stay flat next year, what teams are most at risk of being broken up by not having enough cash to go around. [Vice Sports]
- The February stock watch, courtesy of Down Goes Brown. [Sportsnet]
- How would you feel if you were at the Beanpot in Boston on Monday, minding your own business, and around rolls an NHL GM on the concourse?
(No doubt scouting out relocation sites when the Canes move back to Hartford, of course.)