Defenseman Joni Pitkanen took the ice today at the RBC Center for the Canes' morning skate.
Pitkanen, who will not play tonight against Atlanta, was in a gold jersey and is not allowed any contact work. But he was skating and stickhandling.
Pitkanen underwent arthroscopic knee surgery before training camp began and has not skated with the team until today.
"It was good to see him," Canes coach Paul Maurice said. "He's been working really hard off the ice. He's moving around. He said he felt OK.
"Our plan is to skate him again tomorrow morning. After we've pushed him on the ice we'd like to take a day off and reassess where he's at. If he can practice in two or three practices next week, full, then we'll be leaning toward him play (the regular-season opener). Practices next week will tell us where he's at."
The lines today had Eric Staal centering Erik Cole and Ray Whitney, with Matt Cullen at center with Tuomo Ruutu and Jussi Jokinen. Rod Brind'Amour had Sergei Samsonov and Chad LaRose on the wings.
Two other lines on the ice: Scott Walker, Stephane Yelle and Tom Kostopoulos, and Zach Boychuk, Brandon Sutter and Pat Dwyer.
Sutter's line will sit out tonight's game, Maurice said. Also defensemen Tim Conboy and Jamie McBain as the Canes go with the veteran roster.
UPDATE: After the skate, Boychuk and Dwyer were assigned to Albany (AHL).
"We want to see far, far better puck support and better speed offensively," Maurice said of tonight's game with the Thrashers. "More importantly, our hockey club got better when it decided it was going to compete hard when we didn't have the puck. Those are the things I'd like to see.
"I'd like to see us support the puck on the way up the ice and we're not trying to make 60-foot passes into traffic, so we can keep our speed through the neutral zone and not have to slow down for those passes. And then I'd like to see us really hunt the puck when we don't have it."
Maurice said he's not looking for a "seventh-game competitiveness," but that it was time for "our group to decide it's time to be competitive."
"We don't need this as an exhibition game. It's a preparation game now," he said.
Maurice said a decision would be made "on health and how we feel" as to the roster for the Nashville game Saturday.