It was another year of too-early exit interviews for the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday afternoon. And if the quotes seem the same as before, that’s because they largely were. Eight years without the playoffs tend to do that to players.
But there was a surprising bit of optimism, to be fair. Brett Pesce and Cam Ward especially are buying the future of the Hurricanes and were notable in their assessments of where the team stands now and where it’s headed next season. Below are some of the quotes from the Canes’ getaway day.
Disappointing is a good way to put it. We’re in the same position we’ve been in every year I’ve been here, and a couple years before that even. It’s tough. It’s not what you want. I thought we were in a good spot at the beginning of the year to take a step forward. It’s nice seeing the young guys continue to improve. But as a group we didn’t succeed.
We need to be more consistent. Too many times this year when we got on little losing streaks, we’d play some good hockey then we’d lose three, four, five in a row. That happened multiple times this year. That can’t happen. We talked about getting off to a good start, and we didn’t have that either. We need to find a way to get some early points. We don’t necessarily have to be in first place, but we can’t be hanging by the bottom for too long and then expect to make a push.
Scoring in the shootout was special. Seeing the support from the Philly fans, believe it or not, they’re very warming, and from the teammates. They wanted to jump on the ice there but I came by the bench and they mobbed me. Still fresh, just taking it day by day.
I still haven’t replied to all the texts. Just looking at them all and Twitter, the support that I have through this all, the way this has blown up. Lots of friends and family texted me, all the memories you gave to themselves they will never forget. I was happy to give them those memories and make my own. There’s another page in the story, we just don’t know where it’s going to lead me yet.
We did feel we had a great group of young talent, poised to take the next step. It’s disappointing to be standing here trying to figure out why we fell short this time. It’s now been eight years. That’s tough to deal with. It never gets any easier, but you can’t help but think about the young potential this organization has. We saw some breakthrough players this year.
I think it’s natural that with another year of experience, we’re poised to take another step next year. Certainly I would think that anything but the playoffs next year we wouldn’t be satisfied with. We showed in spurts this year that we were one of the top teams in the league. If we could put it together for the whole season, we’d be getting ready for round one. When you think about that, it’s exciting. It’s a good time to be a part of this organization. We appreciate the patience of the fans and the community for sticking by us through this tough time, and we’re already looking forward to next year.
It was so much fun playing at the end of the season. Everyone was looking forward to making the playoffs. We still had a really good shot. The push should have come a little sooner for us to have a really good chance, but I felt like it was a little glimpse of what this team can do. The future is so bright, and there are so many good young hockey players here. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can establish in the future.
Obviously when things are not going your way, you start doubting yourself. I felt like I was able to bear down and get back to the way I played in Vancouver. It was an important stretch for me, but when I get to play a lot, I always feel like I’m able to put up pretty good numbers. Hopefully I get to play more in the future.
It was fun. It was good to be a part of his first season. I think I helped him a little bit, so that’s good for me too. It’s fun to have a Finnish buddy here so we can talk Finnish around here. It was fun to see and play with him this season.
We were close. We had some really good stretches, but then we had a couple tough, tough stretches when we didn’t get many points. We have all the tools here, but we just couldn’t find a way to win those games. There were a lot of times when we somehow had to get a win or get to overtime, and we lost those games. We have a good young team here, and it’s only going to get better. Next year we’re going to have an even better chance.
It was a great run for us [in March]. It showed us a lot about the character in the room. It’s awesome to see and to be a part of, and it’s exciting to be a part of.
When Ronnie [Hainsey] left, it was a tough situation to lose a leader on the back end. But at the same time it was exciting for us younger guys to step up and fill a bigger role. It’s an exciting time to grow and to keep growing.
I think we have to do a better job of finding ways to win. Last year we had a lot of games where we could have stolen some points and we let them slip away. You’re not going to be perfect every night - it’s too many games - but the good teams find ways to win, no matter what the situation is. I think we will do a better job of that next year.
We’re a very tight knit group, from the forwards to the goalies, everyone’s really close. It’s awesome to see, especially as a young guy, it’s really good to be a part of. It makes you feel really welcome. That’s only going to continue to build, and even next year I think that bond’s going to grow stronger and it’s going to translate to the ice.
It was about 20 games in, then I felt more comfortable. I got some of my confidence, and it gets easier when you get confidence. After that I played pretty well. [ed. note: uh, yeah] The traveling was the hardest part, sometimes coming from other time zones and it’s pretty tough. But I like when you can play all the time.
I don’t know if it was harder [competition], but I knew it was a lot of games and you have to be ready to play every night. That’s the hard part but I felt alright. I didn’t really expect everything. I just wanted to play the whole season up here in the NHL.
Nowadays skating is a big part of offseason work. If I can get even better at skating it will help me play even better next year.
Below are clips from the Hurricanes’ media relations staff from the postseason availabilities for select players:
Coach Bill Peters and general manager Ron Francis will meet the media on Wednesday afternoon at PNC Arena, and we’ll be back here then to cover that as well.