Carolina Hurricanes coach Bill Peters has done an admirable job of not publicly showing irritation or frustration, which he calls the “F-word,” during what has fast become a challenging season.
But some of that appeared to leak out of him Friday, when a question was raised about goalies Cam Ward and Eddie Lack and whether the last 20-some games of the season would be a “competition” between the two to see who plays the majority of the games.
Peters was mindful that Ward has played in 49 games and Lack in 10, and that Lack allowed four goals on 16 shots Wednesday in the 4-3 overtime loss to Tampa Bay. Lack, who missed much of the season with concussion issues, has a 3.33 goals-against average in his 10 games and a .873 save percentage.
“Well, you’ve got to push,” Peters said. “One guy has played 10 games. Eddie has played 10 games and was poor in his last outing, let’s not kid ourselves, right? There were 16 shots, four went in. Not good enough. You look at his numbers in the league, they’re not good enough.
“So I don’t think it’s much of a competition. We’ve got a guy who’s well ahead of the other guy. That’s what I see and the numbers back that up.
“So when he gets in another game, you better play. You better earn some respect from your teammates. Your teammates are out there working their bag off. You better get some saves and a timely save at the right time wouldn’t hurt.
“That’s a little bit honest, eh? I just looked it up. You look up any goalie who has played 10 games in the National Hockey League and the top 60 in save percentage, I know who’s 60. There’s 30 teams. Not good enough.”
Peters ended the media scrum by glancing down the hallway, in the direction of Lack’s distant locker stall, and saying, “Make a save.” Or something like that. Maybe an extra word in there. But the point already had been made: the coach was not happy with the player.
For the record, Ward was scheduled to be in net Friday against the Arizona Coyotes at PNC Arena.
The Canes will have Jeff Skinner back in the lineup, Peters said. Skinner missed the road games at Florida and Tampa Bay after returning to Raleigh for a medical evaluation, but was at Friday’s skate.
Forward Brock McGinn, who was injured against the Panthers and did not play against Tampa Bay, will be out of the lineup Friday with an upper-body injury. Peters said McGinn might travel with the team for upcoming road games against Arizona and Colorado.
The Canes on Friday reassigned forward Andrej Nestrasil to the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL.
The lines at Friday’s morning skate had Victor Rask with Sebastian Aho and Elias Lindholm, Jordan Staal centering Phil Di Giuseppe and Teuvo Teravainen, Jay McClement at center with Skinner and Lee Stempniak, and Derek Ryan centering Joakim Nordstrom and Patrick Brown.
McClement, called a “warrior” by Peters, will be playing his 900th career game.
The defensive pairs were Jaccob Slavin-Justin Faulk, Noah Hanifin-Brett Pesce and Klas Dahlbeck-Ryan Murphy.
“I really liked our game in Tampa and I want to play the exact same way the rest of the year, to be honest with you,” Peters said.
With one exception: the goaltending.