Updated 10/26/2010 02:17 PM
After long road swing, 'Canes ready for home opener
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RALEIGH – The young Carolina Hurricanes have proven those skeptics wrong who predicted they might be eliminated from the playoff chase before even playing their home opener.
The Hurricanes have emerged from a daunting season-opening road trip with a winning record to remain in the thick of things in the Southeast Division.
Carolina was back on home ice Monday for its first practice since wrapping up a seven-game stretch that took them to Finland and later down the West Coast. By the team's count, the Hurricanes traveled more than 15,000 miles and across 11 time zones.
They enter Wednesday night's home opener against Washington at 4-3. Coach Paul Maurice said "I don't know that being a game over .500 fires anyone up'' but added that his team is playing with confidence.
News 14 Carolina's Ryan Welch sat down with Hurricanes forward Tuomo Ruutu and asked how he felt to be back in Raleigh after the long road trip.
"It feels weird," said Ruutu. "We've been on the road for a while so it's so nice to come back home."
He said the players got to know each other pretty well after the long trip overseas and to the West Coast.
"Just being around the guys 24/7, it helps alot," said Ruutu. "Sometimes when you go through the season then you have a team bonding after the season. You feel like we should have done this before the season. Got to know guys better after the season which is too late. That's why it's really good we did it before the season and with a winning record, which is great."
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