Staal to play against Leafs; Skinner questionable

Staff writerDecember 12, 2011 

— Eric Staal will be in the Canes' lineup Tuesday against the Maple Leafs but Jeff Skinner is expected to miss his second straight game.

Staal returned to Raleigh for the birth Sunday of a son, Levi John. He was not at practice today but will be at Tuesday's morning skate at the Air Canada Centre -- coach Kirk Muller said his first inclination was not to have a skate following two hard practice days, but that he may with Staal not available until Tuesday.

Skinner, who has an undisclosed injury, did not play Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets. While not completely ruling Skinner out of the Leafs game, Muller said, "As of right now I don't think we're going to have him."

Drayson Bowman, who is an emergency recall from the Charlotte Checkers (AHL), was used today on Brandon Sutter's left wing opposite Chad LaRose. But Muller said not to read too much into it or assume Bowman would get significant ice time.

"I put him there because he had played with Sutter before," Muller said. "We worked on some systems and all that, so I wanted to get him on a line to get used to it. It was more just for today because we were short bodies. We'll see tomorrow."

The Canes had another high-speed practice today at the MasterCard Centre rink. All of the coaches were loud, banging sticks against the boards, pushing the pace.

"If we're going to play the game he wants us to play, play uptempo, you have to do it in practice, too," forward Pat Dwyer said. "It's what he's preaching in practice: he wants you to go from the start of practice to the end of practice, like you've got to go from when the first puck drops 'til the final buzzer goes."

"There's going to be shifts when you get caught in your zone, or the P.K., where you're going to have to dig through it. You're going to be tired and want to get off but you have to stay sharp and get through it."

With Staal and Skinner out, Tim Brent was used at center with Dwyer and Jiri Tlusty. Jussi Jokinen centered Alexei Ponikarovsky and Tuomo Ruutu, and assistant coach John MacLean hopped in for a few minutes to center the fourth line with Anthony Stewart and Andreas Nodl.

In the five-on-five drills, Tim Gleason was paired with Jamie McBain, Justin Faulk with Jaroslav Spacek, and Bryan Allen with Derek Joslin.

General manager Jim Rutherford said the Hurricanes may allow Faulk to participate for Team USA in the World Junior Championship, set in late-December and early-January in Calgary and Edmonton. Rutherford said the team may wait until the deadline just before Christmas before making a decision on Faulk.

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service