Preseason exhibition games are routine for the Canes' veteran players, almost like a necessary chore. Get in some ice time, bang a little, get the legs moving.
But for the younger guys in the Canes' locker room this morning, there was a nervous anticipation. There are just four preseason games and every minute of ice time is precious when you're trying to impress the coaches and management.
Tonight, Zach Boychuk will play on a line with Brandon Sutter and Tim Conboy. Let's call it the "BCS Line" and it should be fun to watch.
"All skill," Conboy quipped. "They just wanted to get together linemen with just pure skill, pure offensive-minded guys. They started with me and worked their way down."
But in all seriousness, it's an important opportunity for all three, and especially so for Sutter and Boychuk. Both are former first-round draft picks. Both want roster spots but fighting some tough odds given the Canes' glut of older forwards.
"Any time you get a chance like this you want to make the best of it," Conboy said. "I'm sure those guys will prepare themselves well and be ready to go.
"It will be good. Both those guys are really good, young players. I'll just try to keep up."
Two other prospects, defensemen Brett Carson and Bryan Rodney, will see time together tonight, as well.
"I'm excited, ready to go," Rodney said. "It's big."
As for Canes coach Paul Maurice, it's a preseason game, nothing more or less. An evaluation time.
"I don't enjoy these games quite as much, to be honest," Maurice said. "Because a part of the excitement of coaching is that energy.
"There is something on the line, but you're not exactly sure how hard to push. The things you would normally say behind the bench you may not want to say to a 20-year-old or 21-year-old in that manner. So you kind of change your demeanor back there.
"In the regular season you're just trying to win the game. ... What I'm looking for right now is where we're at, from our very basic foundation of our game. So it's a different type of mentality."