Canes Now

Eric Staal, other injured forwards could return during trip

The Canes were shorthanded at forward Sunday, with 10 dressed for practice at PNC Arena.

Captain Eric Staal, out the past two games with an upper-body injury, did skate on his own, Canes coach Bill Peters said. Staal may be able to return late in the upcoming four-game road trip -- maybe for the Vancouver Canucks game on Oct. 28 to end the trip.

Peters was not sure about the availability of forwards Pat Dwyer (upper-body injury) or Nathan Gerbe (lower-body). Jeff Skinner missed the first four games of the season after a concussion Oct. 5, but has been at practice and will be in the lineup Tuesday when the Canes began the trip at Winnipeg.

"I think we're going to trickle guys back in as we go," Peters said. "They're getting close. They're day-to-day. We look forward to the addition to the lineup but in the meantime the kids will continue to play and play well."

Forwards Brody Sutter and Patrick Brown were in the lineup Thursday for the New York Rangers game, Sutter making his NHL debut. Both were reassigned Friday to the Charlotte Checkers (AHL), who played their first home games Friday and Saturday, and one or both could be recalled depending on the injury situation.

Defenseman John-Michael Liles (upper-body injury) was in a yellow, no-contact jersey Sunday -- all eight defensemen were on the ice -- and should be good to go for Winnipeg.

Peters has alternated goaltenders Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin in the first four games and Khudobin was in net, and sharp, against the Rangers. Peters said the starter for the Jets game was still to be determined.

"It's interesting, you look at Cam Ward's numbers head-to-head against Atlanta/Winnipeg and they're very good, but 'Dobby' was very good (against New York)," Peters said. "We'll make that decision tomorrow but I liked Anton's game. I thought he was solid in New York, for sure."

While the Canes are 0-2-2, Peters continues to say he likes the players' attitude, focus and interest in working at practice. The Canes have lost shootouts the past two games.

"The guys skated hard today," he said. "They're sticking with it. They know they were one shot away both times in overtime and the shootout. We've just go to make one more play.

"We've got to stay with it. It's a process and I liked how hard we worked in New York."

What the Canes could use as much as anything is that first victory.

"It would go a long way, wouldn't it?" Peters said. "Sooner rather than later would be great. If they work hard and pay attention to detail we'll have a chance on all for games on the trip."