RALEIGH — It’s finally here.
Teams Pride and Passion took the ice on Friday morning, thus marking the official start of 2019 Carolina Hurricanes training camp.
PNC Arena was cold, the sounds of hockey were back, and the drama that had been happening away from the ice for Justin Faulk and the Hurricanes found its way inside the building.
There were two one-hour sessions, one for each half of the roster. Here’s a list of happenings from day one of camp and notable quotes from players and Rod Brind’Amour:
- Line combinations on the first day of training camp are as close to insignificant as you can get, but Ryan Dzingel lined up with Sebastian Aho and Nino Niederreiter during the first session. Teuvo Teravainen skated with the second group and was on a line with Jordan Staal and Andrei Svechnikov.
- Also a grouping: Julien Gauthier, Janne Kuokkanen, and Eetu Luostarinen. That could be a Charlotte Checkers preview.
- In a somewhat surprising development, Swedish defenseman Fredrik Claesson was added to the training camp roster and is on a PTO deal with the Hurricanes. Claesson, 26, played the 2018-19 season as a 6th/7th defenseman for the New York Rangers. In 150 NHL games, he has logged 26 points. He suited up for 14 games during the Ottawa Senators’ surprising Eastern Conference Final run in 2017. It’ll be a long-shot for him to make the team, but he’ll fight for an opportunity to do so.
- Newcomer Erik Haula certainly looked healthy coming off of his season-ending knee injury. He flew up and down the ice during the first session and seemed very comfortable both on and off the ice. He noted his excitement about playing with a lot of fellow Finns.
- Jordan Martinook looked like his normal self, which is a great sign after all the pain he played through in the postseason. He scored a goal on a rush drill, let out a celebratory yelp, and holstered his stick. He’s certainly in midseason “Marty Party” form. He took a somewhat awkward fall into the boards at one point, but he ended up being alright. He plays at one speed: all out. Even in training camp.
- Andrei Svechnikov looked great. He scored a shootout goal on a slick move to the backhand and you could see how confident he is now after his great rookie season.
- Haydn Fleury also scored a shootout goal. He’ll look to replicate that in an NHL game... Hopefully.
- After the first session, Jake Gardiner expanded on why he felt like Carolina was the best option for him: “We just felt like Carolina was the best fit. Really warm weather and a really, really good team. I want to win a Stanley Cup, and I thought this was my best chance to do it.”
- Justin Faulk’s name has been deep in the trade rumor waters as of late, with reports saying that the Anaheim Ducks were trying to acquire him and negotiate a contract extension. Faulk had no comments on the specifics, but he did make his mindset very clear.
- Here’s what Faulk had to say:
“You still gotta show up, right? I’m still a part of this team. I’m not the first person in this league to have his name thrown out there or have something going on (behind the scenes). I’m still here and ready to work. I’m gonna keep showing up and doing my thing.
... Any time a guy on the last year of his deal comes into training camp, I’m pretty sure most of them get asked about it. I know I have unrestricted free agency at the end of (this season), but it’s not my first time coming through and playing on a contract year.
... I’d be more than happy to stay here. I haven’t asked for a trade or anything. I’d be happy to stay here and have no objections to staying here after this year, either. Whatever happens will play itself out and we’ll see whether it’s in the near future or in July or anytime in between what’s gonna happen. I have no bad feelings, really, about this place. I’d be more than happy to keep playing here and stay right where I’m at.”
- All the trade rumors aside, Faulk looked very good on Friday. He seems motivated. He crushed all the drills and even earned praise from Brind’Amour after the end-of-session conditioning. He said he’s ready to work and have a good year, and I believe him.
- Rod Brind’Amour confirmed that Chase Priskie got injured during the first session on Friday. He didn’t have an update, but Priskie saw the doctor today and we will learn more soon.
- On his defensemen, Brind’Amour said that his top-six will consist of the best performers from training camp and the preseason. Those last couple of spots are up for grabs for everyone.
- New goalie coach Jason Muzzatti has Rod Brind’Amour’s vote of confidence entering his first season with the Hurricanes. “You want to make sure, number one, that you get a good person, and I know what Muzz(atti) is about, as far as that goes,” said Brind’Amour, who was a teammate of his at Michigan State. “That relationship with the goalies will take some times, like it always does when you bring in somebody new, and that’s what training camp is for - to create that relationship with the goalies.”
- One last quote on Justin Williams (for now): “We’ve moved on from it,” said Brind’Amour. “That’s the way I’m approaching it. Like I said, if he comes knocking on the door and says, ‘hey, you know what, I’m gonna try it again’, we’ll put him out there. It’s not like he’s going to jump right into the game. So, we’ll have lots of time to prepare for that.”
- Trevor van Riemsdyk didn’t skate in either group, as he is still recovering from shoulder surgery, but he did skate afterwards with Spencer Smallman, Checkers head coach Ryan Warsofsky, and Tim Gleason. It’s still up in the air on whether or not TvR will be ready for the start of the season. They won’t rush him back.
- On a more heart-warming note, goalie Petr Mrazek brought custom hats for his teammates. Each teammate’s hat has their number on it. (You can see Martin Necas’ hat in the background of Mark Armstrong’s picture.)
Petr Mrazek had these hats made for everyone on the team. From an artist in the Czech Republic pic.twitter.com/XhxN0BgD9k— Mark Armstrong (@ArmstrongABC11) September 13, 2019
- Day two of on-ice work will come tomorrow, Saturday, at the same times - 8:45 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Those sessions are open to the public at PNC Arena.