Tuomo Ruutu (hip) is getting close to returning to the Hurricanes' lineup, but it's not clear where he'll play when healthy.
Ruutu has been practicing on Carolina's fourth line, which might be where he starts for the purposes of shaking off the rust after going nearly a full year without playing in an NHL game. Once he gets back into game shape, it's possible that he'll find a way onto Carolina's second line, but that's not set in stone. "It has been a lot of time he's been off, and getting back in this time of year, I think the key is just to get his feet wet ... so he feels comfortable," Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said. "Then just kind of assess it after wherever that first game is, and start adding to it. I think it's a comfort zone for him, too, mentally to go, 'Hey, I don't want to jump in on a certain line and not be able to (play well) when the team is going well.' It's step by step."