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Fast tempo at Muller's first full practice

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The Canes put in their first full practice today under new coach Kirk Muller, going about an hour at Raleigh Center Ice, and there wasn't much down time.

Muller had the players at a fast pace, with a lot of end-to-end skating and some physical play.

"It was uptempo, a lot of pace, a lot of focus on short passes, execution, and just supporting each other," captain Eric Staal said. "It was a good pace."

That's the way Muller says he wants it, although maybe not for an hour.

"Today went a little longer than I would want to but we've got a little more to cover," Muller said. "I want them to save their energy for the games and just have a good, high quick-tempo stuff typically in practices.

"It's going to be just peck away each day. Take specifics of certain parts of the game and try to get a little bit better. I thought they were ready to go today and we covered some good areas."

Muller said before practice he and the team watched video and discussed the 3-1 loss Tuesday to the Florida Panthers -- for Muller, his debut game as the Canes coach and his first as an NHL coach.

"We went over the good stuff and the bad stuff and stuff we need to work on," he said. "We've got a lot of things to work on but we've got to find ways in the meantime to get some wins."

Defenseman Joni Pitkanen missed practice but is day-to-day, Muller said, and should play Thursday against the New York Rangers. Forward Jussi Jokinen also was out as his wife, Salla, was due to give birth today.

Defenseman Jay Harrison was able to practice today.

Defenseman Derek Joslin will have a disciplinary hearing this afternoon over his hit on the Panthers' Kris Vertseeg late in the first period. No penalty was called as Versteeg had to leave the game for treatment.

Joslin said today that he was attempting to hit Versteeg in the chest but that Versteeg stumbled on Joslin's stick and caught an elbow in the head.

In analyzing the loss to the Panthers, Muller said he liked the Canes' tempo for the most part and their five-on-five play. He noted the Canes allowed 12 scoring chances at even strength, which he said is acceptable.

"If we can get it in that range, then things are going to turn around," Muller said. "Take away the special teams and empty net and with the five-on-five if you're anywhere in that nine-to-12 range (in scoring chances) you're in a pretty good position.

"Looking at last night, that's where we were. Shots (against) were down. We weren't able to sustain that high tempo I was pushing them to do for three periods, but we got two and parts of it. If we can get it to three, then I think we're in good shape."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About the blogger

A Raleigh native, Chip has worked at the N&O since 1979 and is the Canes beat writer. He can be reached at chip.alexander@newsobserver.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @ice_chip.
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