Forty-two Hurricanes and hopefuls gathered in Cary, North Carolina on September 5th for physicals and photos. From there they flew to Ft. Myers, Florida for the opening of Carolina Hurricanes training camp. Veterans and rookies took the ice at the TECO Arena on September 6th. Twenty-four returning Canes from 1998-1999, three NHL’ers signed over the summer, four players from juniors, two collegiate players, and nine minor leaguers practiced on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday the squad split to play an intrasquad game. The Hurricanes White team defeated the Red 2-1 in overtime. Jaroslav Svoboda and Jeff Heerema scored regulation goals, while Kent Manderville netted the winner during an overtime using the NHL’s new four on four format.
On Saturday the preseason schedule began with the Hurricanes hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning. Canes fans were treated to physical play and a Carolina 2-1 victory. Arturs Irbe played all sixty minutes. Ron Francis, Robert Kron, and Gary Roberts each tallied for the home squad. The following night, Tampa Bay hosted the Hurricanes. This time the Hurricanes came up on the short end of a 2-1 score.
Camp was set to leave Florida after a September 14th game versus the Florida Panthers. However, an uninvited hurricane, Floyd, threatened the state and the game was canceled. Before returning home, the Canes returned Jeff Heerema to Sarnia, Jaroslav Svoboda to Kootenay, and Josef Vasicek to Sault Ste. Marie in the Juniors.
Upon arriving in Raleigh, the Hurricanes had two more items of business. First, they sent Craig Adams, Steve Bancroft, Eric Dandenault, Gilbert Dionne, Len Esau, Fred Knipscheer, Greg Koehler, Todd Simon, and Nikos Tselios to the Cincinnati Cyclones of the IHL. Then they rescheduled their September 15th game against their new Southeast Division opponent, the Atlanta Thrashers, to September 20th. This was also due to Floyd.
A significant name on the thirty man roster is David Tanabe. The Hurricanes first round draft pick in the 1999 draft, Tanabe was scheduled to play in the two canceled games. Carolina wants a look at him in games. They have until September 30th to ship him to Juniors, if that would aid his development more.
Eric Fichaud injured his ribs in camp and will have a tough time fighting Mark Fitzgerald and Randy Petruk or the number two spot behind Arturs Irbe. The losers will then battle for the open spot in Cincinnati behind Mark Magliarditi. Whoever remains will play for the Florida Everblades in the ECHL.
Todd Kidd, Greg Koehler, Nikos Tselios, Craig Adams, Mark McMahon, Brad Frattaroli, Greg Kuznik, and Bill Kohn attended Carolina’s rookie camp and are now in the Cincinnati Cyclone training camp. Cyclones camp began September 16th.
Randy Petruk turned things around since last Christmas and has looked strong in camp. Carolina’s GM Jim Rutherford told the Naples News, “Randy had a phenomenal rookie camp. We couldn’t have expected any more from him.”