A couple of things were noticeable Thursday as the Carolina Hurricanes returned to practice — Teuvo Teravainen’s position and Eddie Lack’s tan.
Teravainen was at center on a line with wingers Jeff Skinner and Lee Stempniak, and will be there Friday when the Canes begin a critical five-game honestand against the Colorado Avalanche.
And Lack? His tan was the talk of the room, good for some good-natured chirps. It was obvious the goalie found a sunny beach — in the Bahamas, apparently — during the Canes’ five-day bye week.
Not everyone had it so warm and cozy. Skinner, for example, said he spent part of his time at home shoveling snow in Markham, Ont.
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Teravainen said he used the break to go to Orlando with a friend, taking in Walt Disney World and SeaWorld and taking his mind off hockey. He returned Thursday to see “86” on the lineup sheet on a line with “53” and “21” — Skinner and Stempniak.
“I want him to skate more, hang on to pucks and make plays,” Canes coach Bill Peters said of Teravainen. “He’s very comfortable as a winger or a center. I think he moves his feet and is a little bit more involved offensively in the middle.”
Teravainen was at right wing with Derek Ryan at center and Brock McGinn on the left side in the Canes’ last game, the 5-2 road loss Saturday against the Dallas Stars. Victor Rask centered Skinner and Stempniak at Dallas.
“You never know how long the lines will stick,” Teravainen said of the switch. “You want to play good to stay in the lineup and you want to play good whether at center or winger. Hopefully it will be a good thing and we can get some wins. We really need those.”
The other lines at Friday’s morning skate had Jordan Staal centering Sebastian Aho and Elias Lindholm, Rask centering McGinn and Ryan, and Jay McClement at center with Joakim Nordstrom and Viktor Stalberg.
Defenseman Brett Pesce missed the morning skate with an illness but Peters said he is hopeful Pesce would play against the Avs. If Pesce is unable to go, Matt Tennyson would be paired with Jaccob Slavin, Peters said.
The Canes were eight points out of playoff position in the Eastern Conference, with six teams between them and the Toronto Maple Leafs, who were in the second wild-card playoff spot before Thursday’s NHL games.
“We knew going into the break, by the fact we were not playing, we’d lose some ground,” Skinner said. “We have some games-in-hand now. We just need to make sure we come back to work and get off to a good start and try to be good in the homestand.
“Everyone knows where we are and what time it is in the season.”
The NHL trade deadline is just a few weeks away. Some changes could be made, either by addition or subtraction.
“We want to keep this group together. I know I do for sure,” Peters said. “I believe in this group. I think we can make a real good push here.
“We have our next five at home, we have some games-in-hand. We’ve got to play good. We have to go on a run and we have to play our best hockey coming down the stretch. We’ve got 29 games left and we’ve got to get into playoff-battle mode sooner rather than later.”
Peters said he’d like to add to the group. The way to do that, he said, is “make it hard on management.”
“Go on a good run the next two weeks and be right there knocking on the door,” he said.