Forwards Tim Brent and Anthony Stewart were back on the ice today for practice, giving the Canes an extra fourth-line forward.
Coach Paul Maurice said Brent would play tomorrow against the Chicago Blackhawks at the RBC Center. Stewart, who has been slowed by a lower-body injury, will be a game-time decision, Maurice said.
Brett Sutter and Zach Boychuk both were at practice today, so there have been no reassignments to the Checkers (AHL) -- for now.
Winless the last three games (0-1-2), the Canes will have a new look on the top line with Jiri Tlusty on Eric Staal's left wing opposite Chad LaRose. Left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky has been moved back to Brandon Sutter's line.
"We've basically liked Tlusty wherever he has been," Maurice said today. "We're looking for a little bit more of a playmaker with Staal right now. We'd like to shift Ponikarovsky's game away from the playmaking to more of a physical, grinding game that we think he excels at anyway."
Tlusty was moved to Staal's line midway through the third period of Tuesday's 3-2 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators. He was on the ice, and in front of the Sens net tying up two Ottawa players and preventing an icing call, when Tuomo Ruutu scored the Canes' first goal to spark the late-period rally.
Tlusty, who has a plus-4 rating, said he has never started a game on Staal's line.
"I'm pretty excited," he said today. "To play on the first line with Eric Staal is different and definitely a big chance for myself. I want to enjoy every moment and just go out there and have fun."