Originally posted on Fox Sports Carolinas  |  Last updated 12/8/11
While Kirk Muller could best be considered a coach who's being groomed for the future and isn't required to make a quick fix, he realizes something must be done to pull the Hurricanes out of their losing ways. So just as a coach with no NHL experience might not have the touch to orchestrate an immediate turnaround, he's not going to expect the younger players on the team to be the ones steering the Hurricanes in the right direction. That must come from the more established players. "That's what we ask the veteran guys to do -- play better and play hard," Muller said, sensing he has received some of that. Muller picked up his first coaching victory Wednesday night in a 5-3 decision at Edmonton. If there's an example of a veteran player who might have responded from a sluggish stretch, it could be defenseman Tomas Kaberle. He was a healthy scratch a couple of weeks back as he tries to figure out how he can be more effective. The Hurricanes will try to make it back-to-back victories Friday night at Winnipeg. If the veteran players can set the tone, the younger players might fill in well despite the glitches associated with using some of them on a regular basis. "We've got some kids. They're going to make mistakes," Muller said. NOTES G Mike Murphy showed up with the Hurricanes this week and was given a first-hand look at how tough of a season it has been. According to the official stat keeper for the NHL, he became the first goalie in history to suffer his first loss before allowing his first NHL goal. He entered Tuesday night's game against Calgary with the Hurricanes to play the final nine-plus minutes. But the Hurricanes rallied after the Flames scored an empty-net goal, so Murphy was the designated loser in the 7-6 outcome though he isn't charged with allowing a goal. Murphy stopped both shots he faced. The Hurricanes' lack of offensive firepower is more revealing when considering that the team is 0-9-0 when allowing five or more goals this season. So even scoring six in the 7-6 loss Tuesday night at Calgary wasn't enough. Taking it an additional step, the Hurricanes haven't won a game when allowing four goals because their record is 0-3-1 in those situations. QUOTE TO NOTE "We just get momentum and we just can't seem to sustain it. (Opponents') goals come at just the wrong time." -- Coach Kirk Muller on the Hurricanes' woes -- the team is 1-4 since he became the coach though it broke a seven-game winless streak Wednesday night. ROSTER REPORT D Joni Pitkanen missed Wednesday night's game at Edmonton because of an injury suffered the night before. He hasn't been able to stay healthy for an extended period this season. He would have been the only player in the game against Edmonton to have played for both franchises during his career. C Eric Staal has scored a goal in only five different games this season. The Hurricanes are 2-2-1 in those games, so even though that's not an incredible mark it serves as an indication of the value Staal holds because that's still a much better record than the team's mark as a whole. LW Jussi Jokinen needs one assist to reach the 200-assist mark in his NHL career. But he has been largely off the scoresheet the last couple of weeks, registering only two assists across his last eight games. He has played in 484 career games. D Joni Pitkanen (upper body) was injured Dec. 6 against Calgary and missed a game the next night. He's day-to-day.
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