I DVR Sports Night, TWC's all-news channel's nightly sports show, every night, mostly cruising for Canes news and features. During the season, there is something every night with game nights warranting two segments and interviews if a home game.
On Monday night, in addition to the obligatory All-Star logo announcement coverage, they had a second segment that was a video clip of JR speaking to them in an exclusive interview. Looked like it was shot in his office and it was short, but what he said I thought was significant.
I can't find a clip of it anywhere, but here is a transcript of what was said:
News Anchor: Back to the ice now for a bit with the Carolina Hurricanes, who are getting ready for the start of camp in mid-September. It’s a team in transition, the like of Rod Brind’Amour and Ray Whitney gone. But, General Manager Jim Rutherford has a laundry list of other reasons to keep this foundation intact.
JR: Well, we really don’t have anything else to do now. We’re finished a lot earlier than we usually are. We have our guys in place.
Based on where we’re at in this collective bargaining agreement, and where teams are positioned…they’ve put themselves up against the cap or over the cap…we really don’t know what might come along. So, we’re going to be open to listening to different things, as to whether it’s a trade where we can pick up a player to improve our team, or what it might be.
But, I am going to be very careful with those three or four spots that are kind of open now, up front on the forwards. Because we’ve taken the time to develop young players. We’ve told them that they’re going to have a good opportunity to be on this team. And if I go out now and sign one or two free agents, even if it’s at a bargain price, because of where we’re at in free agency, I don’t think it’s fair to the players that we’re developing.
And we really believe in these young players. But, I will caution people that say we haven’t seen them play 82 games. Sometimes guys can come right in, and jump in, and can play those 82 games in a tough schedule. And sometimes it takes them a year or so where they may only play half the games and the other half in the minors to get the proper development, and then they’re ready the following year.
Although there's been little speculation here, I have seen some fretting on other fanboards by seasoned veterans of JR's team building approach that he just won't be able to resist the bargain bin atmosphere of late August and early September when veterans are wandering the streets looking for work. That surely he'd sign some "toughness" or a face-off specialist, thereby denying one of our prospects a forward slot.
Well, I never worried about such a thing, but the fact that he says this out loud is, in usual JR "I'm talking to you through the press" speak, a direct reassurance to those of you out there that have seen him do this in the past. It's not happening this time...or so he says. :-D
But, there's more in this short little missive. Note the musing about trades and teams in cap trouble. He's certainly not ruling that option to "improve our team" out.
Finally, no surprise, but a firm commitment to work the roads (and rails?) between Charlotte and Raleigh well, moving talent back and forth as necessary "for their development".
This should be fun.