Thoughts and observations from Carolina Hurricanes camp after Friday’s practices.
▪ It had to be reassuring to the Canes to have goalie Scott Darling on the ice for a full practice Friday, and there’s a chance he could play Saturday at Washington in the next preseason game.
Canes coach Bill Peters, who had said Darling was a little “banged up,” said Friday that Darling took a shot high and off the shoulder in a practice and had experienced soreness. He’s ready now and Peters said the plan was for Darling – slated to the the Canes’ No. 1 goalie – to play 120 minutes in preseason, although not saying how those minutes might be split or in how many games.
▪ The Canes seem determined to find Martin Necas a place to play, both on the roster and in the lineup.
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Necas, Carolina’s first-round pick this year, was drafted as a center out of the Czech Republic and been used at center in training camp. But with winger Lee Stempniak out, Necas was moved to right wing Friday on a line with center Derek Ryan and left winger Jeff Skinner.
Asked about Necas playing the wing, Peters smiled and said, “He wants to play.” This year, in the NHL. “I think if we asked him to play his off side on the back end on D, he would,” Peters joked.
▪ Stempniak’s absence in camp is becoming a concern and his affliction something of a mystery.
Peters said Stempniak, who has missed considerable camp time, has “a lot of stuff going on” – that the veteran forward has had soreness in his back, then into his hip and groin area. Peters said Stempniak has undergone an MRI.
▪ Never read too much into the lines at practice – that’s a Peters mantra.
Sure enough, just when it appeared Peters was set on two lines, they’re changing, at least for one preseason game. The coach has had Jordan Staal centering Sebastian Aho and Elias Lindholm, and Victor Rask at center with Teuvo Teravainen and Justin Williams.
For Saturday’s game against the Caps, Staal will center Teravainen and Williams, and Rask will have new linemates. “I just want to know what we have, and the ability when we do makes changes with our lineup that guys have played together,” Peters said.
▪ Good to see center Nicolas Roy back in a regular practice jersey. Roy suffered a concussion after taking a vicious hit during the Traverse City (Mich.) prospects tournament, missed some camp time while in the concussion protocol and then returned to the ice this week wearing a yellow, no-contact jersey.
But he’s good to go and the Canes want to get him into a preseason game and get him some meaningful minutes.