After playing some of the best hockey of his career down the stretch of the regular season, Haydn Fleury is now fighting for a spot on a crowded blue line during the Canes’ training camp.
Fleury spoke with the media Saturday about the status of camp, the competition on the blue line and what lies ahead. The team’s golf competition was also a hot topic:
On the competition on the blue line: When you look at it, there’s eight guys that can play on any given team on any given night. Practices have been intense. I’d say the forwards have taken the brute of it. They haven’t gotten many shots on two-on-ones, three-on-twos. I think we’re owning them pretty good, so I’d say the forwards are taking the hardest beating there.
On strong competition between the forwards and defense: The pace has been high every day of camp so far. You can tell everyone skated over the break. There wasn’t that couple days where you’re getting back into it. I think the first day was really fast and I think it’s just kind of picked up from there. We had a good scrimmage day today. The pace was high; it was as physical as it can be when you’re playing against your buddies and your teammates. So I think it was a good day today too.
On coming in with playoff experience: The 10 games I did play, I think I’ll be a lot more comfortable. I won’t be surprised by anything out there. I think the speed and the intensity is ramped up that much more from the last 10 games of the regular season. I think I’ve played enough games and played against other teams, I think they’re not going to be surprised by any players or any moves that guys have. So I think it’s just being comfortable and being confident.
On if he scored an Erik Cole-style goal in practice: If you want to call it Erik Cole … It was me, but I don’t know. I don’t think I have speed like Erik Cole did back in the day, like I could fly. He’s probably going to like the compliment I’m giving here. I wouldn’t give him that on the golf course so I’ll give him that compliment.
On playing 18 holes of golf a day: I would like to say I’m in great golf shape and great hockey shape right now.
On not playing golf in the bubble: I heard there’s a simulator, and Jordo actually said he was going to bring his simulator for the boys to play on off days. I would say we have the best golfing team in the NHL; we’ve got a lot of guys that like to play. I think we’ve got a lot of guys that can make it work.
On having a level of relaxation getting to play: Even though we’re in different circumstances with coming to the rink, having to check in with the medical officer and all that stuff, I think being back in an area where you’re comfortable puts you at ease. We get to do what we love, and away from the rink we get to hang out. Not many wives are down here so all the boys get to hang out, go to [Jordan Staal]’s pool, hang out there and just kind of enjoy the good weather away from the rink. We’ve got a pretty tight team as it is, so I think this two weeks or so is only going to make us bond even more.
On what he’s bringing to Toronto: I actually thought about that th either day. I don’t really play video games, so I don’t know. There’s no dress code, I’m going to bring lots of sneakers. I think the Jordans, Jordan-1 lows. I’ve got like 20 pairs of those, they’re kind of my shoe right now. Jordans are definitely my favorite. Shoutout to him, I’m not a UNC guy but whatever.