First, it was a trip through North Hills on electric scooters accompanied by Warren Foegele. Then it was the infamous “LET’S GO DOOGIE” clip as the team prepared to take the ice before a game. On Saturday, it was a direct connect overtime game-winner to beat the Minnesota Wild 4-3 followed by a banana phone appearance on the post-game interview with Fox Sports Carolinas.
This day is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S pic.twitter.com/bYFkRZisMI— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) November 16, 2019
Andrei Svechnikov and Dougie Hamilton’s budding friendship has become apparent at the beginning of the 2019-20 campaign. The duo’s impact on the ice has been valuable for the Carolina Hurricanes with the pair tied for first on team in points. Hamilton has thrust his way into the early Norris Trophy candidate conversation with great play in his own end and his point total placing him second in the league among defensemen behind John Carlson’s ridiculous start to the season. Svechnikov, given his strong start and consistent pace, makes it seem plausible that a 80-point season is in the cards for him.
Hamilton has served as a mentor to the young teenager and says it comes from his appreciation from his days with the Boston Bruins with mentors like Adam McQuaid and Johnny Boychuk. “I think for me, I kind of appreciated it when guys helped me in Boston when I was 19 and moving away and trying to figure it out all on my own. It was nice to have guys there to help me and I had a lot of really good guys to help me. I thought (I) could help these guys and just try my best to be a good friend with them,” says Hamilton.
Hamilton says he and Svechnikov had a similar paths to the league, with each being top-10 picks in their respective draft years. “He’s doing great. He’s such a good guy and a great player and just going to get better and better,” says Hamilton.
And as for Svechnikov’s praise of Hamilton?
“He’s a bad guy, he’s a bad guy. I don’t like him,” Svechnikov says, tongue firmly planted in his cheek.
While Svechnikov says this, Hamilton is walking past his stall in the Canes’ locker room at Raleigh Center Ice loudly grumbling about how his younger partner in crime needs to quit making him look good. Even after spending five minutes prior raving about Svechnikov, Hamilton can’t help himself.
But then the truth comes out, as if it was in question to begin with. “He’s just a great, great player and also, he’s an awesome guy. It’s been fun spending time with him,” says Svechnikov. Svechnikov notes the timing of the pair’s arrival on the team, with Svechnikov being selected second overall at the 2018 NHL Draft a day before Hamilton was traded to the Hurricanes from the Calgary Flames in a shake-up for both teams. “He helps us a lot, I think...he just explains to you sometime what you can do better and it’s important to have that guy,” says Svechnikov.
Svechnikov knows he’s not likely to be the one of the youngest guys in the room much longer with plenty of talent within the Hurricanes ranks, soon to be coming from junior leagues. He has no problem being a mentor to them as Dougie Hamilton has been to him. “I always want to help the young guys...someone’s going to come (along) and I am always going to help him,” says Svechnikov.
With the pair at full strength, the Hurricanes offense has the ability to remain in the top ten where it currently stands. Doogie and Svech (and their budding friendship) will remain a key part of the Hurricanes success this season.