Head coach Rod Brind’Amour spoke to the media via Zoom Thursday morning about those preparations.
On injuries after the Rangers series: I think we’re OK. I think the regular nicks and bruises are there but I think overall we came out of it pretty good.
On the plans for the next week and staying busy: That was kind of the immediate question that we’re all kind of wrestling with a little bit. I think the focus here is we don’t want to lose sharpness but at the same time we’re not playing for a while. And then really the mental side of things, for the guys trying to figure how to keep them engaged. That’s the challenge. We’ve got some ideas but we’re limited too. Obviously we can’t go anywhere. There aren’t things we can do to kind of get away from it. That to me will be the big challenge this week, how to stay sharp and at the same time mentally staying with it because we’re not engaged right now. So that’s the real trick this week.
On James Reimer and his career: Obviously you grow as a person through the tough times. We all have them, whether it be in hockey or whatever. Everyone goes through them. I think for him, especially, just knowing the kind of person he is and the faith he has in himself, I think it’s really shaped him to be ready for anything that comes his way, especially in the hockey world. So rising up to the challenge and obviously he did that. I have no doubt that he will again here as we move along. I just think those challenges that he’s faced throughout his career just help him all that much more now.
On the unusual circumstances of winning a series and not having a normal celebration: Everything’s different with this. It was different even winding down. Normally after a series win there’s crowds there, there’s emotion. None of that was there, but for the guys, it still feels the same. You go in the locker room at the end of the day, whether there’s people or not, it’s just about us. It’s about our group and our family, celebrating with them. There’s no big celebration.
We’re here to do a job, we’re not even really into it yet if you really get down to it. There’s a long, long way to go and it’s just the first step in that. The guys understand that. At the same time, you want to enjoy it. The guys are together, there’s not really a lot of celebrating going on, but we’re enjoying our small victories as we can here. We had a day off yesterday so this is the first time I’m going to be with the guys after this. Hopefully they had a lot of time to facetime their families and that’s kind of how this goes right now. There’s no big celebrations yet. We’re a long ways away from that.
On being creative and practice time: I don’t really know how creative you can be, there’s only so much you can do. But just maintaining your sharpness is going to be the key, obviously on the hockey side of things. But the guys have to rely on each other to be creative and keep busy. They’ve done a good job of that to this point. I think it’s understanding we don’t play for a week or whatever, figuring out how we practice, how much do we go now and ramp up? We’ve got to get the intensity back at some point but now’s probably not the time. We’re all figuring that out as we go, it’s just kind of uncharted territory. That’s also what makes it unique.
On the long layoff last year and bringing anything from that: I don’t think so, the reason being last year or any previous year, you’re at home. You have so many more things to fill your time with when you’re in a regular situation. Here, you’re kind of limited. I think the two times are totally different. I think this whole playoffs is unique every which way you can describe it. Experience, I think, goes out the window. I actually think it might even hurt you. I think the guys that are younger and don’t really have as much at home, just to focus on hockey is all you’re about right now. That’s how I’m going to look at it. Everything’s new. We’re just going to have to rely on each other and that’s really how we’ll get through it.