Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 10/05/08 at 08:16 PM ET
After losing the first three exhibition games (and looking bad doing so) the Hurricanes rattled off three straight wins to finish the preseason. Carolina will start playing games that count on Friday with a home game against the Panthers.
Eric Staal and Ray Whitney scored today for a 2-0 shutout over the Preds. Cam Ward went the distance, making 31 stops with both teams pretty much fielding the “A team”.
For the first time all preseason, Rod Brind’Amour played. He skated 19 shifts for a total of 15:04 of ice time. He took just 13 of the faceoffs, compared to 17 taken by Brandon Sutter. This was pretty much the plan: to use him sparingly.
Winger Tuomo Ruutu sat this game out again but will possibly be ready to go on opening night. Defenseman Nic Wallin, who sat out the last four games with a concussion, was back in action.
Patrick Eaves, who will have a bigger role than expected this fall, has looked sharp in these warm-up games. He appeared in five games, getting a goal and two assists. Newcomer defenseman Joni Pitk&3228;nen has been very impressive. Offensively, he’s put up three (1/2) points and has looked pretty darn good.
Cam Ward is pumped up and ready to carry the load this season. The good news is that with Johnny Crackers out of the picture and a much better Michael Leighton as the backup, Ward won’t feel the pressure of having to start and play well in 70 games.
Last week, the Hurricanes treatment room was jam packed, with 10 guys suffering from some injury or other, but they’ve mostly gotten back into the lineup or been cleared to play.
Carolina’s roster is at 28 right now. They’ll have to cut four and place Justin Williams on the injured reserve to get their roster down to 23. Look for those cuts to come sometime Monday.
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About Red and Black Hockey
David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.