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Rod Brind’Amour: ‘Our focus is always about us’

Canes’ head coach spoke to the media via Zoom on the team’s discipline, Dougie Hamilton, potential roster rotations and more.

New York Rangers v Carolina Hurricanes Photo by Andre Ringuette/Getty Images

The Carolina Hurricanes took the first game in the best-of-five series against the New York Rangers on Saturday and are preparing for Game 2 on Monday.

Head coach Rod Brind’Amour was happy with the intensity his team showed, but knows that the team was “playing with fire” giving the Rangers seven power play opportunities.

Brind’Amour spoke to the media over Zoom in the Hurricanes’ media availability on Sunday.

On if winning Game 1 will set a tone for the remainder of the series: I hope so. I don’t know how much it’s going to carry over or not. I hope it does. I thought we had a good game. I expect our guys to come out ready to play again. I don’t know how much one game bleeds into the next. It always remains to be seen. I always think when you have a positive outcome you think, ‘Okay, let’s carry this over into the next one,’ and if you don’t you always say, ‘Trash it,’ and move on. I don’t really know if there is much to that, but I liked the way we played for the most part of the game. We’re going to need to do that if we’re going to be successful.

On Dougie Hamilton’s availability: I don’t think he is going to be available tomorrow. He skated today a little bit better so we’re getting close. But I don’t see him playing tomorrow.

On looking into rotating players into the roster: We want to get a couple of guys in there. We’d like to change the lineup… maybe. We know if we’re going to advance and be successful, we’re going to need everybody so you certainly don’t want anybody sitting out too long. Trevor [van Riemsdyk] definitely will be in there. Right now we got seven guys we can play and when Dougie gets back, we’ll have eight. It’s always a tough decision, but he’s definitely a guy who will get in here at some point.

On the penalty kill and discipline: You’re always focused on discipline. I know if we take seven penalties, we’re not going to be successful. They have too good a power play. That was playing with fire there. At the same time, it was a tightly called game. I’ll leave it at that. You surely don’t want to take aggressiveness away from the guys. In both ways, I thought it was called tight, so it’s tough to say on discipline. There was a couple I saw we didn’t need to take, but some of them were just playing hockey. It’s a fine line, but I know we can’t take seven penalties and be successful for too long.

On having to do more as a coach for reinstilling messages and systems due to length of pause: At the end of the day, players play and coaches need to get out of the way, but in this situation I think, with the lead up to it, there was a lot of work that needed to be done. We had a lot of time to prepare, so nothing certainly was catching us off guard, but there’s a tremendous amount of coaching that has gone on in these past few weeks. Once the puck has dropped it’s always up to the players and they gotta go do their thing. It’s a fine line because there was just so much to cover from scratch, but you don’t want to overwhelm them either. Guys got to go out and play and do what they do.

On keeping the focus on what the team did right in Game 1 versus preparing for the Rangers potentially raised urgency: I think the focus always with our group is to worry about us. We have to get to our game no matter what the other team is doing. You always expect the best from your opponent and they had some stretches during that game where they were certainly all over us, but our focus is always about us. You try not to focus too much on what the opponent is doing. Making sure we are getting out to our game and if we’re doing that, it gives us a chance to win and that’s all you can ask.

On Justin Williams: Willy never ceases to amaze me. The timing of everything he does just seems to be dead on. He gets it. I can’t say enough good things about him and we are sure fortunate enough to have great leadership in our room. I’m not a big fan of fighting that’s for sure, but there seems to be a time and place for it in our game. As long as nobody gets hurt, it’s okay. Willy answered the bell and that’s what you expect out of him.