Gleason, Lindholm near return for Canes
Posted October 22, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Elias Lindholm and Tim Gleason are close to rejoining the team and both practiced for a second day with contact. Gleason has missed the Hurricanes first nine games this season and Lindholm has been in and out of the lineup with upper body maladies.
Gleason has dealt with a concussion since the pre-season and has said the toughest part is being off the ice but can’t wait to get back.
“Three, three and a half weeks of feeling like poo is the most frustrating thing all through the tests," Gleason said. "The team did a great job getting me to certain people that are that top level of concussion (treatment). I’m feeling good now and ready to get back.”
Lindholm skated with the fourth line Tuesday comprised of wingers Brett Sutter and Kevin Westgarth. The rookie center is on track to be inserted back in the lineup Thursday night in Minnesota.
The second line had a different look Tuesday as well with Radek Dvorak and Drayson Bowman flanking Jordan Staal. Canes head coach Kirk Muller had some line shifting to do at practice due to injuries to Nathan Gerbe, who missed his second day with a lower body injury, and Patrick Dwyer, who was absent with an upper body concern.
Gerbe was involved in a nasty collision with the New York Islanders Michael Grabner on Saturday. Grabner caught Gerbe with an elbow to the head while the Hurricanes winger was in a vulnerable position. Grabner was suspended two games by the NHL for the hit - a punishment that Muller says fits the action.
“It’s a big discussion now with the hits to the head," Muller said. "I don’t think he was going for it deliberately, but coming across, it is more just being responsible for the hits to the head now. You know Gerbs was in a little vulnerable spot there and it happens.”
Dwyer was banged up in a high-tempo practice Monday and missed Tuesday’s session. His availability for the road trip is in question and will be decided tomorrow.
Crowded blue line
With Gleason returning from IR, the Hurricanes have eight defensemen on the NHL club. Muller is not looking at it as a problem.
“I think right now we are kind of blessed with eight guys that are able to play," he said. "I think really after the next couple games, we will kind of get a feel for what are going to be the right pairings and obviously using more than six of them.”
Top line production
The Hurricanes had one of the best lines in hockey last season with Eric Staal centering for Alexander Semin and Jiri Tlusty. The head coach thinks that they are on the right track with their compete level and pace to their game.
The Captain agreed. “We came together pretty good in Long Island and even the game before that," Staal said. "We are continuing to get better and we will continue to get better as we go forward.”
The Hurricanes have four days off in between games, and early in the year, it isn’t a bad time to get that break.
“I think it is good anytime you can get a break throughout a season; you want to take advantage," Eric Staal said. "Now, early in the year, we can work on a few things that we want to work on special teams, I am pretty sure that Kirk and the staff will have something lined up for us here as far a game plan to what we are trying to accomplish in practice and that’s good.”