Last week Thursday, the Hurricanes hosted a golfing function for the media which I was fortunate enough to attend. At the end of the event, we were given the opportunity to speak with a few of the players and coaches.
Carolyn already linked to the majority of the interviews in her Clicks and Clippings article posted on Friday, but I was able to get a couple of additional questions in, (and as it turns out some duplicate ones as well), so let's review some of what was discussed.
First up is General Manager Jim Rutherford:
I started off asking the GM if he could confirm earlier reports that the team broke even regarding profit and loss last season.
"On an EBITDA basis, we were a break even team last year, yes."
(For those of you not familiar with financial terms, EBITDA stands for "earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization", and it is common for entities to compare financial results in that way.)
Breaking even is certainly excellent news considering the club did not make the playoffs last season and they still have plenty of room for attendance growth.
Next up, I asked if the team was close to selling as many season ticket packages as they did last year, considering the fact that they are not hosting an All Star Game like they did last year.
"From a numbers point of view they are about the same as last year. From a revenue view, they are down a bit. Some people are changing their package to maybe a smaller package or they are moving to a less expensive section, but we have a very loyal fan base. Of course things can fluctuate a little from years where the team has hosted an All Star Game or is coming off a long playoff run, but we have a very loyal group of fans who are with us win or lose."
Rutherford also mentioned that there were two openings that the young forwards would be fighting for, but he also seemed to leave open the possibility that an extra forward could make the team if they deserved it. Needless to say, it will be a very interesting training camp. (We will talk much more about this subject very soon here on the blog.)
Next up are my questions for Anthony Stewart:
Can you describe your game for fans who might not be familiar with you?
"I'm a power forward with a big body who can skate up and down pretty quickly and get to the net. I'm not afraid of the high traffic areas and getting some of those dirty goals."
Were you surprised that Carolina signed you, or did the club show interest in you at an earlier point in your career?
"Yeah, after Florida didn't qualify me, they put an offer in as well as Atlanta. They were one of two or three teams who showed the most interest in me. I was definitely interested in coming here and getting an opportunity to move up and play with some great players. So I'm very happy to be here and to hopefully continue to build on what I did last season."
Do you have any indication of where you may fit in with the team or what line you might play on this season?
"It's really too early to tell and not everyone is even back in town yet, but there are some really good players here. I just have to worry about myself, play the best that I can, and let the chips fall where they fall in training camp."
Finally, here is a bit from Cam Ward.
When asked about reducing his workload from last year now that Brian Boucher is in town:
"There's not going to be a game that I don't want to play in, but at the same time I realize that there are some games when I'll have to take some rest and Brian Boucher is definitely a guy who can come in and win hockey games for you."
Ward didn't mince any words when asked which young player he expected to make the jump to the NHL this season:
"I think Dalpe. I see him on the ice and being the goaltender, I think he has one of the tougher shots on the team, even right now. So I'm expecting big things from him."
Next up, stay tuned for a longer, in-depth interview with Paul Maurice as we find out what the coach is thinking about a number of issues just two weeks before training camp.