The Carolina Hurricanes got back to the ice on Saturday after taking a sort-of break the previous day. While the team still had a workout and went over video, the team took the day off from on-ice activity and allowed the team a small breather.
Head coach Rod Brind’Amour isn’t worried about these off days affecting his team though, as he has spoken on the energy and compete level being high all throughout his lineup everyday of camp.
He spoke to the media over Zoom following the practice.
On the off day: It was really just off ice that we didn’t skate. We came in and we had some work done. We did video with players and got a little off-ice workout. It was just more of, there was time in the schedule and we had gone hard for a few days. Back up today and still building and adding things, but we’re probably getting close to covering everything and really start dialing in on our opponent.
On Haydn Fleury: He’s been solid. Looks good. Is skating well. It’s definitely shaping up where I’m going to have tough decisions to make. There’s no two-ways about it.
On the first week of training camp: It’s been really positive overall. Really, I can’t think of anything negative. So, that’s good. Now it’s just trying to continue this momentum and getting better. Obviously we need to get better. We did more of a competitive day today and you can see there are a lot of areas we have to get better at, but overall I like how it’s going.
On the goalie situation: I think we’re in good shape there. We’re confident in everybody we have here, and I don’t know how it’s going to shake out. To be honest, we haven’t really talked about it. When we get to that point a couple days before, I’m sure we’ll start having more conversations on how we’re going to do it, but right now, we’re just still in that moment of ‘Let’s get everybody going,’ and we still have tough decisions to make.
On Morgan Geekie: He’s interesting because he came up and played really well, but that’s a lifetime ago almost. We got to remember that he is just a young kid and doesn’t have much experience. But he’s in the same boat as everybody. We’re going to get to that point where ‘Okay, now we got to make some decision,’ but until then, really just throw him out there and see what he can handle and see where he ends up. He definitely showed in that small sample size that he can be part of something for us, for sure.
On forwards having to compete more with the blueline competition: That’s the advantage of having extra bodies who are real contenders to play. Everybody’s competitiveness is certainly at a high level and having a break for as long as we did and coming back and knowing the stakes are so high. It’s not a preseason that’s going to last a month. I mean you get one preseason game and that’s a real important one for players to show they’re ready to go. If this is considered a training camp or if that’s what you want to call it, it’s the best one I’ve been around for those reasons.
On what might make the difference for the players: Right now everything looks good. It’s not like I can say in a week from now ‘That guy needs to pick his game up.’ I think everyone is looking pretty solid. We’ll get into more game-like situations where it’s a little more on your hands and handling pucks at a higher pace when you’re in the little more competitive drills. I’m anticipating right now, from what I’ve seen, is that I’m going to have to make some tough decisions and go on feel. Things like how is this best going to work and the chemistry aspect and things like that, because everyone right now seems like they’re all ready.
On what different evaluations he can make as a coach during scrimmages and more competitive drills: I always have a hard time when I do a kind of practice like that. I end up watching everything and I don’t watch the right thing. I’m kind of like ‘Oh man, what am I watching?’ because I’m watching two teams and two different things going on. That’s why I usually just get on one bench and pretend I’m coaching that team. Really though, with today, I wanted to stop myself from trying to get too technical. This is more about the guys. This was the first time we’ve really gone at it against each other and let them feel it out. It might be another day or two of that before we start blowing the whistle every time something needs to be corrected. I remember when you first get back from a long break that the timing on everything is rough, and you’re worried more about that than being in the right place, the right position. So that’s why there’s still a buildup to go through.
On if this is the best camp in terms of team chemistry: It’s the same group you had. Every year you go to training camp and there’s new faces. That takes time. We’ve got the same group and we’ve added some, but they’re not new. They’re guys we’ve known. So that’s why I say this [training camp] is the best one. Smaller numbers too. Our team is here. This is it. We’re not trying to figure out moving 10 guys here or there so that helps it feel smoother. It’s definitely something to think about moving forward and that’s something we’ve always talked about, making it smaller, but there’s a lot of other things that come into that. I think if you can ever get the numbers down to more like this, it would be more beneficial.
On expecting the Canes’ higher-end talent to get to their game faster and if that could be an advantage: Every team has that. The league is young all around the board, so I don’t see that being an advantage. Maybe if we only had a week and we were playing, that’d be a huge point, but at the end of two to two-and-a-half weeks, I think everyone is going to be up to speed around the league no matter where they came in. It would have been a huge advantage had it been a shorter time frame.