The Carolina Hurricanes fell to the Washington Capitals 3-2 Wednesday afternoon at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto in the team’s sole exhibition game before the Qualifying Round against the New York Rangers on August 1.
The team obviously had some rust to shake off, though aspects of the game did seem to shine a hopeful light for the future.
Forwards Sebastian Aho and Vincent Trocheck spoke to the media over Zoom following the game’s conclusion.
On assessing his play and getting what he wanted out of the game: I think I feel like the most important thing was to get the legs going and get the feeling that you’re playing hockey games again back into your body. First period was a little rusty for us, but after that I feel like, at least for myself, I tried to slow things down in my head. It helped and I feel I got better.
On playing in nearly all situations: Special teams are pretty big in the playoffs so we did some things good on our PK and obviously it was nice to get one PP goal too.
On getting chemistry back with linemates: I think I’ve played with pretty much every guy on this team, so it doesn’t matter what the lines are. We try to play the same game, all four lines. With [Teravainen], we’ve played so many years, so with him it should be easy, but it takes a little time. This exhibition game was pretty huge to find the chemistry again.
On Sami Vatanen: I don’t know. I didn’t see him much, so I guess he did a pretty good job as a D then. I think he played pretty well.
On getting an early goal: It’s always nice to get on the board. It’s been a while since we’ve been playing hockey so to be able to get a goal and kind of feel the rhythm of the game and the puck on your stick a little bit, it’s gonna help you out confidence-wise. It was a little bit slow and rusty early on. Realistically, I think all we wanted to get out of this game was to get the rust off and realize how we want to play hockey and what our identity was. I think towards the end of the game we started to realize that.
On the atmosphere: It’s different. There’s no fans in the stands. There’s not a lot of noise. It’s pretty quiet. I think, personally for me, once you’re out on the ice it just feels like a hockey game. We’re always talking on the ice so it kind of feels normal when you’re on the ice. When you’re on the bench it feels kind of weird to look up and see no fans, but it’s nice to be playing hockey again so can’t really complain.
On playing in nearly all situations: It’s definitely good to get all those things worked on in an actual game.
On comparing playing when the season paused to now: I think it’s night and day. From the pause to now, it was almost like a blessing in disguise for me. Coming into a new system, mid-season, I found was pretty tough to adjust to the new system, new linemates, chemistry with new linemates. Over the break I was able to get to know these guys off the ice a lot better. Gained some chemistry with everybody just as people and as friends. I was able to learn the system in the four month period I had. It was easier to learn that system and come into almost like a new season and know what I had to do when I got onto the ice.
On Sami Vatanen: Cannon.