As the Canes continue to search for the right combination on the blue line, gritty veteran Joel Edmundson is one of the players fighting for one of the last couple spots.
Edmundson joined the media for a Zoom call following Thursday’s practice.
On this group making a deep run last year: I think everyone’s got a little chip on their shoulder. They had a good squad last year and they could have gone all the way. They lost out in the conference finals, so I think everyone this year wants to make that jump and make it to the finals, see what happens there. We’re looking forward to getting to Toronto and getting things started.
On the depth on defense: We’re one of the deepest D corps in the league, and our offense is right there too. We’ve got a stacked team, and if we put all of our pieces together and work hard every night, every game, we’ll leave ourselves in a good spot. But everyone’s feeling good right now, we’re having fun during the practices. Everyone’s working their butt off and getting into game shape. We’re excited to get to Toronto, get that first exhibition game under our belt and get things rolling from there on.
On the importance of the defense in the playoffs: It’s not just the defense and goalies, it’s the five guys on the ice at once, six with the goalie. It takes a unit to shut down whoever’s on the ice. We need forwards, we need defenseman, everyone blocking shots, just getting in their face and taking their time away. So we just have to have everyone bought into the system. And then you create offense from good defense.
On loose practices: We are [having a great time]. After practice, a bunch of us will go play a round of golf and just spend as much time as we can together. Not everyone’s family’s here, so everyone’s kind of on their own. We’re just trying to hang out with each other as much as we can. I’m a strong believer that if you have fun with each other away from the rink it transfers onto the ice. So just a lot of team bonding going on right now.
On bringing entertainment to the hub: I took everything home with me before the break, and I didn’t really bring much back to Raleigh. I’m living with [Jordan Martinook] right now so I think me and him will have to go do a little shopping trip one of these days before we head up to Toronto, but I’m sure there’s going to be lots of cards played, lots of movies watched in the bubble. I don’t really know what to bring, to be honest.
On packing for a trip with an uncertain length: I have no idea. Hopefully they have people that will be doing laundry, because I don’t know how many clothes I’ll be bringing. It’d be nice to get laundry done once in a while, but I’m not worried about that. I’m worried about the games. It doesn’t matter what we’re doing away from the rink; all focus is going to be towards playing the game.
On watching other leagues’ bubbles: The NBA bubble looks pretty nice to be honest. They’re at a resort. I’m pretty jealous that they get to go fishing all the time. They have a lot of space to walk around outside, I don’t think we’ll have that luxury. I saw a bunch of the guys are playing cornhole outside, obviously fishing. They’ve got a couple pontoon boats they’re using. But I think we’re right in the heart of Toronto at the hotel. So I think we’ll be stuck inside for the most part. Me and [Martinook] were actually looking up what the hotel had to offer, and they have a rooftop garden, so hopefully we’re allowed to go up there for some fresh air. Other than that, I think we’ll just be locked inside.
On the Rangers’ power play: Their five guys they have out there, they’re all elite players. You’ve obviously got Panarin and Zibanejad and they’ve got those shifty defensemen back on the points. It’s a good unit, but we’re obviously watching video with what they do right now. We’re adapting. We just want to be as aggressive as we can and give them no time. Each day we’re getting better at our PK and what we should be doing out there.