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Semin returns to Canes practice

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Alexander Semin was back at Canes practice Wednesday, returning just two days before the season opener with Detroit.

Not that Canes coach Kirk Muller was too worried about it. Semin is a veteran forward, has been skating with assistant coach Rod Brind'Amour and was an easy fit back on the line with center Eric Staal and Jiri Tlusty and on the first power play unit.

"It's nice to see him back there and get a chance to work on the power play with him," Muller said after practice. "We need to get that No. 1 unit back intact and get a good practice today and tomorrow."

Rookie Elias Lindholm put in another practice Wednesday, centering the fourth line, and also got a look with the No. 1 PP unit. Muller said he wanted to see Lindholm in the middle.

"It's possible he can jump in there," Muller said. "He's a right-hand shot we always wanted to have on that power play, in the slot. He's a good playmaker and he can score from there. He's kind of the player we're looking for there in the slot."

With another two days of practice, Lindholm, who has been slowed by a hand injury, should be set for the opener. Muller said the coaching staff would monitor his minutes, gauging how much ice time he can handle for now.

"It's just a matter of him feeling comfortable and getting his hands quick and getting used to the North American game," Muller said. "So far he's fit in and looked all right."

With Semin back, the lines were tweaked a bit. The second line remained the same, with Jordan Staal centering Nathan Gerbe and Pat Dwyer. The third line had Riley Nash at center with Jeff Skinner and Radek Dvorak, who still was without a contract on Wednesday morning.

Lindholm, Brett Sutter, Kevin Westgarth and Drayson Bowman alternated on the fourth line.

Muller said no decision had yet been made but that the Canes might dress six defensemen for the opener. Ryan Murphy was back at practice after being recalled Tuesday from Charlotte (AHL), giving the Canes seven D.

With Skinner, Lindholm and now Semin back in practice, the Canes are missing only forward Tuomo Ruutu (upper-body injury) and defenseman Tim Gleason (concussion). Both are out indefinitely.

Defenseman Matt Corrente, who was placed on waivers Tuesday, cleared Wednesday and was assigned to the Checkers.

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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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