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Murphy, Tolchinsky shine in scrimmage

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Ryan Murphy, as befitting a former first-round draft choice, looked like the best player on the ice much of the time.

Sergey Tolchinsky, befitting a player who was not drafted by any NHL team, may have competed harder than anyone on the ice much of the time.

So it went Saturday as the Canes wrapped up their prospects developmental camp with Summerfest fan activities and a scrimmage and skills competition at PNC Arena. The players went 5-on-5 for one 15-minute period, then 4-on-4 in a second period. After a power-play session, a shootout finished it up.

Tolchinsky, a camp invitee, scored twice in a 3-3 tie in the scrimmage and quickly became something of a crowd favorite with his speed and stickhandling. When the 5-foot-8, 164-pound Russian missed on his shootout shot, there were a lot of groans, although Tolchinsky's Red team won the shootout 6-5.

Murphy also scored a goal, showed off his quickness and agility, and made what the defenseman hopes was another stride toward being on the Canes' roster this season.

While noting that would be the decision of management and the coaches, he said, "I want to be in the NHL next year. I'm a confident kid, so I think I'm ready to make the next step in my career."

Elias Lindholm, the Canes' first-round pick this year, signed his entry-level contract on Monday and was all set for a big week, only to suffer a shoulder injury Thursday and be held out of the on-ice work Friday and Saturday. Asked Saturday about the injury, Lindholm said he was "OK" and disappointed he wasn't able to take part in the scrimmage and skills competitions.

"You always want to be on the ice. That's the way it is with hockey, you want to be on the ice and show yourself," the Swedish forward said. "The camp has been a great week, being around the organization and the guys."

Lindholm said he would soon return to Sweden, noting he expected to play for the Hurricanes in the Traverse City (Mich.) prospect tournament in early September. It is uncertain whether he will join Sweden's junior national team in Lake Placid, N.Y., in early August for exhibition games and scrimmages against Team USA, Canada and Finland.

Murphy was the subject of a documentary being done by the Canes and had cameras tailing him all week, adding to the scrutiny. The 12th overall pick of the 2011 draft, the defenseman said he was glad to oblige, noting, "It was cool, we had some fun with it."

"It was a good week to show everyone what kind of shape you're in and kind of get back into game shape," Murphy said. "It's an awesome week, to meet the new draft picks and the guys you could be playing with in the near future.

"I thought I did a good job here. I think I did pretty good in the fitness testing, although I can improve in a lot of the areas, and I felt pretty good on the ice as well."

Tolchinsky, 18, believed he would be drafted this year after a strong season for the Soo Greyhounds of the OHL. That didn't happen, and the Moscow native said it has provided extra motivation to prove himself -- first in the New York Rangers' prospect camp earlier this month, then in Raleigh -- and to improve his game.

"I feel every day I'm trying to improve and find something to work on," he said.

In summing up the week of camp, Canes coach Kirk Muller said, "I think we're really excited about the week. It's a great opportunity for the coaches to finally see some of these guys, not only new (players) from this year's draft but from the last couple of years. It's good to understand your depth in your organization."

Asked about the scrimmage, Muller said Murphy "stepped it up and showed the level he has." He also mentioned forward Brendan Woods, a fifth-round pick in 2012 from the University of Wisconsin, saying 6-2, 200-pounder is a "big body, plays hard, goes straight-line, very impressive there."

And there was Tolchinsky. Muller said, "He's probably the biggest surprise or explosive guy this week who made people look at him. ... He didn't get drafted, let's be honest, people said it was his size. There's a good example of you look at him, you get to know him, he's got a great attitude and fun-loving guy and he plays hard and he produces.

"He's a guy that I would say that really made us turn our heads and will make us sit down and say what can you do with this guy if the possibilities are there."

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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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