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Rod Brind’Amour: ‘We’ve got to sharpen the blade.’

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The Hurricanes’ head coach spoke to the media via Zoom Saturday about the next week of practice, goalies, Martin Necas, masks, Ryan Suzuki and more.

NHL: JUL 19 Hurricanes Training Camp Photo by Jaylynn Nash/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With the Canes’ first week of training camp wrapped up, Rod Brind’Amour is looking for his team to dial it up before heading to the bubble a week from today.

Brind’Amour spoke with the media via Zoom Saturday about the past week and what lies ahead:


On how long a leash a starting goalie will have: I think there’s a ton of scenarios. Like I said yesterday, I haven’t even really gotten into that yet, because we’re not there. I think you’re not going to wait around on anybody too long, whether it’s the goalies or a player. If you feel like their game’s not there, I don’t think you can wait for them to get them going. A guy might have a bad game but he still could be ready. That’s a different scenario. But if they’re not up to speed, I don’t think any coach is going to wait around too long here. There’s just not enough games.

On the team wearing masks in its group photo: That’s [responsibility] what it was about. This whole wear one, don’t wear one, to me, makes no sense. I don’t know why you wouldn’t. Nobody’s ever given me a good argument on this. It makes no sense to me. If someone tells me this could help, then you do it. It’s that simple. Until I hear a better reason on that, then I’ll listen. We know that we have to do this to give us a chance. No one knows what’s going on with this thing, but we’re being told if you wear this it gives you a better chance to not get it and not give it to other people. So that’s the message. That’s plain and simple.

On Martin Necas getting playoff experience in the AHL last year: It doesn’t hurt. It’s a different animal, but the same concept, playing for real, playing for something. One of the things about normal playoff hockey is the grind, the 82 games and then getting into the playoffs. To me, the hardest part is usually actually getting into the playoffs for winning a Stanley Cup. It’s just such a hard grind. He went through that with his team last year.

On Necas’ rookie year: I thought he was good. I thought he was solid. He’s becoming a dynamic player, which is what we all hoped we would be. He’s still a young kid. He’s still learning the game, but he’s got those attributes that dynamic players have, that speed and shiftyness. There’s just a dynamic ability that he has that you can’t really teach. As long as he keeps the work going, I think he’ll get better and better over time. Maybe at some point we see him as a centerman, maybe he gets to that role. That would take his game to a whole other level.

On Ryan Suzuki: The way we’ve set this up, we haven’t really put those guys with the main group that much, and for me I felt like we wanted to run really good practices and needed shorter numbers. If you start having too many guys, they just don’t get the reps. So I haven’t really seen much of him, I’ve been out with him a few times. This was just more of bringing him in to get him acclimated to what we’re all about, and being acclimated to the people that run it down here, our trainers and other players, obviously too. I think he’s a quiet kid, but he’s got lots of skill. There’s a lot of potential in this guy, so we’ve got to make sure we get it out of him.

On what he wants to see in next week’s practice: I’d like to get sharp. I think we’ve covered a lot of stuff, but it’s the sharpness. We’ve got to sharpen the blade here a little bit. We’re all over the map, it feels like. But I think we’ll have time now to condense and get sharper. So I hope we can get to that point where we were when we left off. I didn’t really have to coach too much; guys understand what’s going on. If we can do that within this next week, I’ll feel really good.

On grading the first week of practice: There’s nothing negative to say, so whatever that grade is. It’s just been positive, because the attitudes have been phenomenal, the work ethic’s been really, really good and everybody’s done a lot to make this happen. Like I said day one, we’ve got to take advantage of that. I think the players understand that, and they’ve given their best so far. So I’ve been really, really happy with everybody.