Carolina Hurricanes: The Players are Back on the Ice

The Carolina Hurricanes are back on the ice and skating.

After a nearly four-month break from hockey, the Carolina Hurricanes are back with 16 players hitting the ice for some drills.

The wait is over. The ice is back. The boards and benches have been reinstalled. The lines have been painted. The nets have been placed. All we needed was the players and we got plenty of them for Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting practice as part of the NHL’s Phase Two of the Return to Play Plan.

Among those confirmed to be on the Ice were team captain Jordan Staal, Goaltender James Reimer, Winger Brock McGinn, and of course fan-favorite defender Dougie Hamilton who despite the gruesome injury in January that has seen him sit out from the ice since looks like he hasn’t missed a step. Take a look at this wicked top shelfer:

https://twitter.com/Canes/status/1278008141377142785

It is good to finally have the boys back on the ice, even if it is in limited numbers. The team is still collecting back their players as the July 10 target date for training camp gets closer. Having PNC Arena up and running has allowed them to fully utilize the facilities there while also remaining in a bubble that keeps them safe with consistent testing as dictated by the NHL.

The players weren’t alone in the Arena either. Assistant Coach Jeff Daniels ran them through drills designed to get them back into full hockey shape and get a better feel for what to expect when the puck drops for real in about a month or so. Apparently that involved pelting pucks at poor old James Reimer:

But in seriousness, this is the time to get as much ice time as humanly possible while staying as safe as possible under the guidelines of the league.

The upcoming opponents, the New York Rangers, have been a thorn in this team’s side for the last decade thanks to a certain Swedish goaltender. Henrik Lundqvist aside, the Rangers still have a formidable team that can fall apart in front of a good team, but there needs to be a good team on the ice for that to happen. That team has to be the Carolina Hurricanes.

While it is understandable to want to go after that juicy first-round pick and Alexis Lafrenière with a 12.5% chance equal among losers in the play-in round, this Carolina Hurricanes squad isn’t exactly known for playing for possible future teammates. This is the kind of squad built around a solid defense with a very volatile offense that can carry any deficit in goaltending all the way to a Cup run.

That is where the mindset needs to be during these practices. That is where the fans’ mindset needs to be.

If anything happens to the playoffs and they do not happen, then the Carolina Hurricanes miss out on any chance of winning that pick. Might as well forget it and focus on playing the best hockey as a team that anyone has ever seen. That starts with these small group practices.

Question for CC Readers: Who stands out to you the most in these practices?

Next: Draft Profiles: Yaroslav Askarov
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