As the NHL appears to be slowly creeping toward a labor agreement in New York, the pace is picking up for some of the Hurricanes players in Raleigh.
While it was a small group of Canes that skated Wednesday at Raleigh Center Ice, there appeared to be more energy, more drive, more urgency. Canes captain Eric Staal also said the group would rent ice at RCI Thursday and Friday this week -- a change in the players' usual Monday-Wednesday-Friday routine during the lockout.
If a CBA can be signed and a 52- or 48-game schedule played, it will create a number of challenges for the players, especially those who have stayed put and had no game action. The Canes' Jiri Tlusty has been playing in the Czech Republic. Justin Faulk has been in Charlotte with the Checkers. But for some, it has just been ice time at RCI or other rinks.
"It's going to be tougher for guys who have not played in games and stuff," defenseman Joe Corvo said Wednesday at RCI. "The guys playing overseas or in the minors will be up to game speed and will have their lungs and everything. It will be a little bit slower for us to try and pull it together."