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Rod Brind’Amour: ‘Now that you’re here, you know that hockey is right around the corner’

The Hurricanes’ head coach spoke to the media via Zoom on the bubble, Dougie Hamilton, getting focused amid all the distractions and more.

Carolina Hurricanes v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

The Carolina Hurricanes have arrived in the Toronto bubble along with the rest of the Eastern Conference teams returning to play.

The team will practice later today as they prepare for their exhibition game against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday, July 29 at 4 p.m.

Head coach Rod Brind’Amour spoke to the media over Zoom on Monday from the bubble.

On what the bubble’s like: I think we are all just excited to be here. It’s been a long process and now that you’re here, you know that hockey is right around the corner. It’s a real possibility. One of the things that strikes me is just how much organization is involved. The details and protocols. A lot of people have put a lot of work to make this go.

On the safety of the bubble: It’s definitely, I don’t want to say proven, but the bubble is looking like a safer way. You have two different scenarios going on. The first thing I noticed in landing here was the protocols and how everybody’s following the rules and got masks everywhere you go. Everything that’s going on here to allow us to potentially play, I think is amazing.

On coaching in a five-game series versus a seven-game series: It’s a bit unknown. I don’t ever remember playing in a five-game series in the 30 years I’ve been in this league so it’ll be a little different. Obviously, the intensity of it and the importance of that first and second game, it just ramps up that much more. Other than that, I don’t know really how different it is. You approach every game in the playoffs to win and I don’t know if you could do anything differently. Maybe you’re quicker on adjustments. Maybe you don’t let things marinate as long. I think that all remains to be seen. At the end of the day, I think every team approaches it the same. You gotta win every game you play and nothing really changes there.

On difficulty of focusing on hockey with all that’s going on: It is all one big distraction and at the same time, it isn’t. Once you actually get to the rink, the one time that actually feels normal is when you lace your skates up. The one place that it feels like you forget all the outside things that everyone is dealing with, including players, is when they’re playing. I think they’re going to be excited. They have been in practice. That’s the one place that feels normal. You have to deal with all this, but everyone is dealing with this. There’s absolutely no one that’s not, so I think players are refreshed when they get out on the ice and go play.

On approach to Wednesday’s exhibition game: You kind of want a look at everything and getting guys reps at everything you can. All situations. That would be ideal. Getting through the game unscathed is priority, but getting the rust off and being able to assess what you need to work on a couple of days before would be nice. In general, I think the guys just want to get back on the ice. Feel where they’re at, where their game is at and feel confident that they’ve gotten the rust off going into games that matter.

On Dougie Hamilton’s status: I think he is still unfit is where we are. That’s the latest. It’d be great if I get there and I’m told otherwise, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.