Defenseman Joni Pitkanen was back at practice today, going through all the drills, getting in plenty of skating. Testing out that knee.
"It was nice to be back skating with the team," Pitkanen said. "It was pretty good. Now it's how I feel tonight and tomorrow in the morning.
"Now we go one day at a time. We'll see how it is tomorrow and go from there."
Pitkanen, who led the Canes in average ice time per game last season, hopes to be in the lineup Friday for the season-opener against the Philadelphia Flyers. But he also has to be convinced that the knee -- he had arthroscopic surgery to repair cartilage damage just before training camp began -- will hold up.
"If my knee is good, I feel good to skate," he said. "I skated all summer. It's all about my knee now."
Canes coach Paul Maurice said he was pleased with what he saw of Pitkanen, who will be paired with Aaron Ward.
"He was fine," he said. "We're going to reserve judgment until tomorrow and see how he wakes up and how he's feeling. But he went through a full practice, didn't get too involved in some of the banging ... So we're happy with where he's at right now."
Pitkanen experienced knee pain over the summer while working out in hisnative Finland. He skated in in informal workouts at the RecZone once back in Raleigh but had to leave one session because of knee pain and soon had surgery.
"I don't really know what happened," he said. "When you have surgery, it takes a little time. I just hope everything goes good now and I can play."