Alexander Semin will not be in the lineup for the Canes on Saturday and will be a healthy extra against the Arizona Coyotes.
Canes coach Bill Peters left the door slightly ajar Friday after practice, indicating Semin likely would be a scratch but saying a final decision would be made Saturday. At the morning skate, Semin was the extra forward and John-Michael Liles the extra defensemen.
Both stayed on the ice after the skate for extra work with assistant coach Rod Brind'Amour, as general manager Ron Francis closely observed from the stands.
Peters said Saturday that if he was "sending a message" by holding Semin out of a game, it was a message intended for the team and not just Semin.
"You'd rather do that than do it 22 separate times, right?" he said. "You can grab everyone's attention at once. It's much quicker and much more efficient."
Peters noted he has met with Semin, talked it out, asked for more out of the winger, talked some more. Semin has no goals and two assists in the first eight games.
"At some point, action speaks louder than words," Peters said. "That's what happens when you're a healthy scratch, and you have to handle it professionally, and you have to bounce back and when you get back in the lineup you've got to be a good player and make sure it doesn't happen again."
Cam Ward will be in net as the Canes try to snap out of a winless (0-6-2) start to the season. The Coyotes are 3-5-1 overall and 0-2-0 on their Eastern road trip, causing coach Dave Tippett to say Saturday that there will be "two desperate teams" going at it at PNC Arena.
Both seem eager to play. Both Peters and Tippett ended their media briefing Saturday by saying they were ready to drop the puck and not wait for the 7 p.m. start.
"I like the feel of the team and I like the energy they had today and the pace we had," Peters said. "I thought we were quick."
The Canes' lines Saturday had Eric Staal centering Jeff Skinner and Jiri Tlusty, Riley Nash at center with Nathan Gerbe and Elias Lindholm, Victor Rask with Chris Terry and Zach Boychuk, and Jay McClement centering Brad Malone and Pat Dwyer, who was activated off injured reserve Saturday.
On the back end, Andrej Sekera is paired with Justin Faulk, Ron Hainsey with Brett Bellemore and Jay Harrison with Tim Gleason.
"We're still looking for our first one and it's really important for us to get that first one and kind of kick everything off," Tlusty said. "I don't know if we are too stressful about getting that first win, but as I heard Bill Peters say, the longer we wait the harder it will be."
One statistical note: the Canes and Coyotes are the NHL's two best face-off teams, both at 54.4 percent. Another statistic that should concern the Canes: the Coyotes have the league's second-best power play at 26.5 percent.
"It will be a physical game, a high-paced game," Tlusty said. "We have to be all-in. That's most important for us."