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Rutherford: Hurricanes in better position to compete

Posted January 8, 2013

— With his team unofficially preparing for a season that is likely to begin in the next two weeks, Carolina Hurricanes General Manager Jim Rutherford said Tuesday that he believes the 'Canes are built to compete in a compressed regular season. 

Citing the return of defenseman Joe Corvo and the addition of Jordan Staal and Alexander Semin, Rutherford told Mike and Mark on 620 The Buzz that the organization's depth is as good as it's ever been. 

"Clearly, we have a stronger team and we've given ourselves a better chance to compete," he said. "This team is pretty young, and I think that is going to be an advantage this season and for the long run."

According to an email from NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly on Monday, a 48-game regular season is the most likely option, with Jan. 19 being a likely start date once the league and players ratify a deal they agreed to early Sunday morning. 

Canes players get back on the ice in Raleigh Canes players get back on the ice in Raleigh

The NHL and the players' association are working on a memorandum of understanding, which could be completed soon, then voted on by owners and players. The basic parameters call for a strict salary cap, an extension of player benefits and a 50-50 split in revenue between the players and owners.

Rutherford said Carolina head coach Kirk Muller and assistants John MacLean and Rod Brind'Amour have a unique perspective on how to help the Hurricanes manage a compressed schedule because they too went through one in the 1994-95 season after a 103-day lockout.

"I don't think it changes anything for Kirk," Rutherford said. "He has his job to do, and he has a really good coaching staff. He and John both went through the shortened season and John played on the team (New Jersey) that won the Stanley Cup that year."

As for the product Rutherford hopes to put on the ice in 2013, he said there are still moves to be made early in the season with the goal of making Carolina "grittier." 

"We'd like to make some adjustments to our team, add a little more grit," he said. "One more guy on the third or fourth line, maybe two guys."

He also squashed rumors that forward Alexander Semin, signed to a 1-year deal in July for $7 million, wouldn't return to the team after he went to Russia to play in the KHL during the lockout. 

"He'll be back, there is no question," Rutherford said. "He is looking forward to it." Carolina Hurricanes Logo More Hurricanes Stories

Veteran center Tuomo Ruutu will not be on the ice at the beginning of the season after having hip surgery, Rutherford said. 

Another important decision Rutherford will have to make in the next week will be choosing goalie Cam Ward's backup. Brian Boucher, who is healthy after injuring his shoulder in June, will likely battle for the job with Justin Peters and Dan Ellis, players who have spent time with the AHL's Charlotte Checkers during the lockout. 

"That position will be very competitive all year," Rutherford said. "Those guys go through different stages, so it'll be about who is hot and who is stopping the puck at that time."

Hurricanes players continued their informal preparation for the season Monday, meeting at Raleigh Center Ice for a workout that had a different feel. Training camp could start as soon as this weekend.

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  • Cragsdale Jan 8, 7:47 p.m.

    One of the quiet changes that was made to staff last year was the departure of Barasso as goalie... View More

    — Posted by slatesplace

    I heard that Barasso had left the Canes, but I heard such good things about him, I thought it... View More

    — Posted by GunnyGoesArrrgh

    agree about getting Stefan back. I like Barrasso. but he was a great goalie, IMO, not so much a great coach. Just looking forward to some NHL already. :)

  • Cragsdale Jan 8, 7:46 p.m.

    Of course the Hurricanes' chances are better in a shortened season! The less time they're on the... View More

    — Posted by cjw6105

    This post shows how little you know about 'Canes Hockey. They would have just as good of a chance as any other team in a full length season as well. The article merely states because three of their coaches have participated in shortened season and already have knowledge about how to prepare for and approach this shortened year, it improves their chances. Don't be a wheenie and try and bad mouth a team because you are sour. They make a word for that, it means feminine wash.

  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Jan 8, 5:49 p.m.

    One of the quiet changes that was made to staff last year was the departure of Barasso as goalie... View More

    — Posted by slatesplace

    I heard that Barasso had left the Canes, but I heard such good things about him, I thought it was a bad thing that he's gone. I didn't know that Stefan coached Ward back in '06. For some reason, I thought Barasso was with the Canes for a long time. At any rate, if Cam is more comfortable with Stefan, that's a good move!

  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Jan 8, 5:46 p.m.

    Word on the street was that Semin showed up to his team in Russia way out of shape. Has anyone... View More

    — Posted by Wags

    I haven't heard anything about Semin other than Rutherford saying he was on his way back to the USA. I had thought since he was playing in Europe he'd be in game shape. Hope that's the case.

  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Jan 8, 5:44 p.m.

    Positives: Staal brothers, Semin, Skinner worked out hard with Gary Roberts this off season,... View More

    — Posted by Jimmytwotimes

    Don't know if Ward is due for an MVP but I'd like to see him produce like he did in the 2006... View More

    — Posted by PanthersFan45

    Ruutu has always been one of my favorites as well. I think he had something like 70 stitches from that "Welcome to Raleigh" gash across his face. I remember seeing a picture of him in the paper - ouch! Love his spirit and humble nature. His brother is nasty - got in trouble for BITING a player right through his glove.

    As for Ward, I think he got left out to dry a lot since '06. He's also had some back problems on and off. I like #30, and I wish he'd get more help from his teammates. I see other goalies getting a lot of help from their D-men.

  • slatesplace Jan 8, 5:01 p.m.

    One of the quiet changes that was made to staff last year was the departure of Barasso as goalie coach and the return of Greg Stefan as goalie coach. This is the same goalie coach we had from 2005-2008.

    I think his return will see Wardo return to similar form we saw in 2005-2006 season. As I have watched Wardo since then he has seemed to strugle at times and it appeared he did not feel comfortable at times with the style of goal tending that he was being asked to perform. I am hoping the return of Stefan will also see a return of Wardo of old. I think the methods Stefan used were more in line with the style Wardo is comfortable with. We will see, but I think the return of Stefan could be the biggest single move in the coaching staff that occured after last season.

  • hurricane04343 Jan 8, 2:15 p.m.

    Why did Ruutu have hip surgery? I don't remember hearing that however it was 7 months ago.

    — Posted by Wags

    He injured it somehow over the off-season. He just had surgery last week and will be out for the next few months. No one really has any info on how he did it or when it happened or why he waited until now to get surgery.

  • Wags Jan 8, 12:22 p.m.

    Word on the street was that Semin showed up to his team in Russia way out of shape. Has anyone heard any update to that?

  • sburks1906 Jan 8, 12:03 p.m.

    I'm hoping the Hurricanes compete. Small markets should not suffer from the incompetent of Gary Bettman and his minions.
    http://theklowntimes.net/2013/01/06/no-props-for-the-nhl-ending-its-lockout/

  • Jimmytwotimes Jan 8, 11:37 a.m.

    Power Play unit one: E Staal, J Staal, Semin, Skinner, Pitkanen/Corvo. Heck yeah.

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