After a rocky start to the 2012-13 season, Michigan left winger Phil Di Giuseppe said he will stay in school for his junior season of college hockey.
Di Giueseppe was the Carolina Hurricanes first draft pick in 2012, going in the second round as the 38th overall selection of the NHL entry draft.
He finished his sophomore season with 28 points in 40 games after notching 26 points in as many games as a freshman.
I was expecting to improve on last year, Di Giuseppe said in an interview in Ann Arbor, Mich. But as long as the team wins, Im happy no matter what.
Di Giuseppe finished with nine goals this season. He credited his 19 assists in part to playing on a line with senior Kevin Lynch, drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2009, and freshman Boo Nieves, selected by the New York Rangers in 2012.
Di Giuseppes numbers improved toward the end of the season as he recorded eight points in as many games from Feb. 22 to March 16. Michigan went 7-0-1 in that span after starting the season 10-18-3, but failed to qualify for the NCAA tournament.
Im not really focusing on points, just getting the job done, he said.
Di Giuseppe said his involvement with the Hurricanes was minimal during the season, noting, Ill occasionally talk with the player development staff but not the head coach or front office.
His closest friend in the Canes organization is childhood friend Ryan Murphy, the defenseman who was the Canes first-round draft pick in 2011. The two grew up in the Greater Toronto area, attended Villanova College School and played briefly together for the Villanova Knights in 2009.
As Di Giuseppe anticipates an eventual professional career, he realizes the Hurricanes strength is at forward.
He said hell embrace any opportunity with the Hurricanes organization, whether that means playing extended time with minor-league affiliates Charlotte Checkers (AHL) or Florida Everblades (ECHL.)
They want to make players the best they can be, he said of the organization. And whatever their plan is for me, Ill just do it that way.
Canes mourn loss
The Hurricanes said Thursday that longtime employee Doris Barksdale died Wednesday in Raleigh. She was 77.
Barksdale joined the organization as a motivational consultant in 1994 and took on responsibilities with the community relations department when the team relocated to North Carolina in 1997. As motivational consultant, Barksdale was available to all team staff members and players on an individual basis.
With the community relations department, Barksdale helped facilitate the identification of community organizations that would benefit from a relationship with the Hurricanes and the Kids N Community Foundation.
She founded the teams Pick Up a Book and Read program, which gives third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students incentives to read.
General manager Jim Rutherford said Barksdale was a very special and inspirational figure and said he had lost a very dear friend. Chip Alexander