The Canes had their fourth-straight day of training camp on Thursday and if anybody is worried about them going too hard, fear not. The team is planning to take a break from the ice on Friday before getting back to full practices.
Rod Brind’Amour, in only his second full season as an NHL head coach, has already gotten a feel for his players and knows when he needs to push them and when to give them breaks. He has been an amazing fit and he has only been getting better the more he learns.
Brind’Amour spoke to the media over Zoom following Thursday’s practice.
On takeaways from the practice: You’ll always be working out kinks. We’re still getting to stuff we haven’t covered yet. Every day you’re just adding a little bit and a little bit and hopefully by Sunday we’ll have covered everything we wanted to cover or at least have touched on the whole scheme of things. Then we’ll really start ramping it up.
On the extra time benefiting Vincent Trocheck: When we got him, we knew he was going to be a little uncomfortable. That’s normal and especially since our system is a little different than traditional so there’s a lot to pick up. I think you could tell that he was a little unsure in the seven-game span, but he did a little work on the video over the break that we had. These two weeks will help him a lot. Him, Brady Skjei and Sami Vatanen should really benefit from this because it’s a little more time and reps and discussions on how things work.
On artificial noise: I don’t have any plans to practice with that. I don’t need to add more stuff to figuring out how to do this. I think it’s an unknown how it will even work. I don’t even want to start talking about it unless it’s for sure going to happen. It is something you’ve seen other sports do. I think football is one that’s always done it, practicing with pumping in crowd noise and various things. For me, it’s making the players aware that it’s going to be different and understanding that when you walk out there that it’s not a shock. I think that’s more than anything for them to be aware of.
On using Brady Skjei as a resource against the Rangers: I don’t want to give away too much, but we’ve talked to Brady a little bit. We’ll definitely use him as a resource as we start dialing up more and talking about our opponent. We’re still in the phase of getting our game to what we need to do, but starting next week, we’ll definitely pick his brain, because he was just there. He’d been in their system for a long time. It’s in the works.
On how he’d try to defend Artemi Panarin: I always think with really skilled players, a lot of people think you want to check them. ‘You gotta check them.’ For me, that’s obvious. When he has the puck you want to take away his time and space. To me, it’s getting on the offense. Play in their end. Play in areas where you can take advantage. Obviously, work hard defensively so you can get the puck and frustrate them by playing in their end. The worst thing for an offensive player is when they don’t have the puck. I think most offensive players, when they have the puck, are okay with players hitting them and checking them. If they have the puck, they know sooner or later they’re going to make plays. But if you can take it to the offensive players, I think that’s where they get really frustrated. When they’re not touching it, they’re not getting it, they’re yelling and getting frustrated at their D for not getting the passes to them. You’re not really playing one player, but when they’re on the ice you want to limit the amount of time they can get it. That’s how I’d do it… or try to do it.
On who he views as the most dangerous: Artemi Panarin or Mika Zibanejad: They’re both really, really dangerous. They’re different types of players, but so similarly effective. When they have the puck, you feel the chance coming against you. It’s a double-edged sword right there and when they split them up like they have, now you have two guys that you have to worry about all the time for sure. That’s their strength no doubt about it.
On the value of Martinook and McGinn coming in healthy and rested: They are those kind of energy players that are going to be more valuable in this type of format. You need energy guys to just kind of keep things rolling. Martinook, we all know, is that type of player. [McGinn] plays that way, he’s not a vocal player, but he plays hard and at the end of the day, that’s playoff hockey. You need those types of players for sure.
On giving the guys breaks during camp: We are actually, tomorrow, breaking it up already. That will be our first kind of break up of the thing and next week we will too at some point. That’s two days that we’ll probably not be on the ice more than likely. We have to break it up. You can’t just push, push, push through this because the guys will start to go this way (points arm downwards).
On if the players have any mental hurdles going into the series: It’s so far in the past, that it just doesn’t register. I don’t even think they’re thinking like that at all. The whole regular season is gone so far back, that even if we had won four in a row that it would be such a non-factor. Everybody’s coming in different right now. Starting fresh and I think that’s the key.
On having comfort with goaltender depth: Just having the familiarity, not from a coaching point, but from the players. Playing for those guys and having them in the locker room. We hope we don’t get down to that point again, but if it did, it wouldn’t be a big deal. Guys played for both [Nedelkjovic] and [Forsberg]. They’re here now and part of the group so it really wouldn’t be a big adjustment.
On coaching through an unprecedented situation: Actually, I’m enjoying it. Just getting off the couch and getting out of the house. For me, when I get walked through the doors, other than having to wear our masks and a couple other things here and there, it feels normal. It feels like a regular day. I stay here a little longer than normal and get here a little earlier and maybe it’s because it does feel kind of normal. Just enjoying it. The people I’m around here are just really special and I think being away from it for a long time, I always appreciated it, but you appreciate it more. I really appreciate these people. The players. The staff. We’re getting along well right now obviously, so it’s fun to be here.
On the official absence of John Forslund from the Canes’ broadcast: That’s the first I’ve just heard of that. Obviously, I knew that was going on. Johnny’s been great. Love him. He’s been a huge part of the history of this group. Tripp [Tracy] and him are special. They’re a pair. It’s part of what this team has been about for a long time and they’ve represented us really well, so that’s tough to hear. But, if Mike [Maniscalco]’s filling in or taking over, he’s awesome. He’s a Hurricane. I want to see him do so well because he is such a deserving guy and again a guy everyone loves around here, so hopefully they work out. I know they will. I don’t know what else to say about that. It’s the business side of it and unfortunately I guess things like that happen. But looking forward to Mike and hearing how Tripp and he work out.