Hear that squeaking? That’s my writing rust breaking free after a summer away from the rink. Thank goodness for preseason… maybe I’ll remember how to do this again after a game or two!
Last night in Raleigh, the Hurricanes participated in their first preseason game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Jackets had a couple of other games this week – on Sunday at home, and followed by a split squad game where half the team played at home, and the other half was in Minnesota, so the rust seemed to be a bit less apparent in the first period, though their lineup was not nearly as stacked as that of the Hurricanes, who’s lineup was nearly completely composed of Hurricanes regulars, and a few guys on the cusp of making the team this year (specifically, Brett Bellemore, Chris Terry, Nicolas Blanchard, Brett Sutter and Michal Jordan).
I could recap the game goal by goal, but really it was a preseason game, at times a bit hard to follow because of a lineup that consisted of about 50% Canes regulars, and 50% Canes hopefuls . The bottom line is due, I’d say, to sloppy play and still developing chemistry (or a lack thereof), and the Hurricanes lost 5-4 to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
A few relatively disjointed thoughts:
- Michal Jordan netted his first and second NHL points with assists on goals by Alexander Semin and Jeremy Welsh.
- Chris Terry, the Checkers alternate captain last season, also had an assist on the Welsh goal, and drew the Nikita Nikitin penalty which led to the Checkers first power play goal. Terry spent time on both the power play and penalty kill. As has been mentioned and written about by many others, including the great Paul Branecky, Terry is having an incredible camp, and his on-ice performance last night was quite notable.
- Former Checker Drayson Bowman had five hits, which was second on the team to Tim Gleason’s seven. Does anyone need a refresher on what Mr. Bowman looks like? Don’t get me wrong, he’s a phenomenal athlete, but he’s not exactly the type I’d expect to be on the giving end of huge hits, and with sizable men like Mike Komisarek and Kevin Westgarth on the ice for Carolina, I was a bit perplexed why they weren’t the ones dishing it out, and young Bowman was
- Columbus’ goaltender Mike McKenna, who came into the game in the second in relief of Curtis McElhinney after he allowed three goals in five minutes, was perfect. McKenna allowed zero goals on 12 shots. He’s is a prolific tweeter (follow him, it’s worth it!) and is set to be the Springfield Falcons goalie this year.
- At the end of two periods, shots on goal were in favor of the Hurricanes 26-15. The third period had the Blue Jackets outshooting the Hurricanes 16-8. The third period was just sloppy all the way around, but again, it’s a preseason game, and the first one that, and I have confidence it will get better. But still, yikes.
- Six hours in the car and about 350 miles round trip makes for a long day, but it’s totally worth it! I need to get to more games in Raleigh. It’s great to see the NHL perspective i comparison with the AHL which I admittedly follow much more closely. I may have to check my calendar to see what other games I can attend this year!
Checkers training camp notes:
Earlier in the day, the Hurricanes announced that they had reduced their training camp roster to 35. Sent back to the OHL was Brock McGinn, who spent time with the Checkers last year. Assigned to Charlotte were Mike Murphy, Brody Sutter, Danny Biega, Victor Rask, Keegan Lowe, Austin Levi, Brendan Woods, Rasmus Rissanen, Beau Schmitz, Justin Shugg and new to the organization Mark Flood. They will all be at Charlotte Checkers training camp which begins on Monday.