In about eight hours, the Canes and Bruins will drop the puck for game one of their first round Stanley Cup Playoff series. The big news coming from this morning is that top offensive defenseman Dougie Hamilton, who missed the entire qualifying round, is expected to play tonight, according to head coach Rod Brind’Amour.
Here’s a full breakdown of everything Brind’Amour had to say on his media Zoom Tuesday morning.
On if Hamilton will be in the lineup tonight: I hope so. He’s going to take warmup and then I’m expecting him to play, but we’ll have to make that decision, or he will, when warmup’s over.
On having two good goalies: I think it’s a benefit for any team to have it. You can’t afford to falter too much, and so if one guy’s not sharp or you need to rest a guy, you can’t afford to give away games, so having both guys ready and capable, I think is an asset for any team.
On if Hamilton will play with Slavin: I think the plan is if he can go, he’s going to go like we would expect. If we have to back him down, then you back him down. I know any player that’s used to playing a lot and is counted on, that’s what you’re here to do. That’s what he certainly will want to do if he’s in the lineup. So you limit his minutes if he’s not up to speed, but I think we would expect him to be like he was before.
On the Bruins getting under the Canes’ skin last year: I’m not taking a lot from last year. I just think the circumstances are so much different right now. What we’re taking is we know how good we are. We know the things they’re going to try to do, what makes them successful. Great teams do the same things over and over, that’s why they’re so successful. Their talent takes over. I don’t envision us taking silly penalties. In any game, regular season or playoffs, that’s certainly not the recipe to succeed. I think we were a little bit frustrated because we were a little bit behind and things weren’t working. But I would hope that doesn’t happen this year.
On who would sit out if Dougie plays: That’s a tough question. We’ll bridge that one tonight, but it’s a good option that we have. We love our defense, and we’ve got a couple guys that are going to have to sit out tonight that are very capable of playing. So all that’ll be figured out tonight.
On the down time: It’s been the tricky part of it. Normally when you have this much time it’s not good in any circumstance, but when you’re stuck in a place there’s not a ton to do for the guys, I think mentally it’s tough. So we’ve been spending a lot of time together. Hopefully that’s a good thing. I worry about the sharpness of a layoff like that. I think you would be at any time if you had this much time off. But we’ll see. Hopefully it’s not an issue. As far as what the guys were doing, we got our practice times and they’ve been together in the hotel a lot.
On the Canes possibly having an advantage coming off more meaningful games: I would have said if we would have started a couple days after that play-in round, we finished Tuesday, if we were playing Thursday I would have said yes, for sure. But now that we’ve kind of marinated for a week, I’m not sure that we have that advantage any more. So I think that kind of goes out the window. I’d like to see it would have been, but I don’t think it is now.