The puck drops for real tonight, as the Hurricanes begin their abbreviated 2021 regular season against the Detroit Red Wings.
Following the team’s morning skate, Jordan Martinook, Dougie Hamitlon and Rod Brind’Amour spoke to the media about the beginning of the season. We’ll have full lineups in the game hub later, but, for now, here’s some highlights of what the trio had to say this morning:
On being ready to go: I hope that’s how they felt. It’s here, so we’ve got to be ready to go. It’s going to hit them at puck drop for sure. It’s going to be that game pace for the first time in a long time. But hopefully, we’ll be the ones dictating the pace. That’s objective.
On if everyone’s available: As far as I know. If they’re here, that’s usually the indicator that everybody’s good. … So I think we’re all good.
On what he expects from the Red Wings: We know what we’re going to get. Even last year, at the end, they were fast. They’ve obviously got a couple super skilled players. You’re always worried about that. You let those guys go, and all of the sudden it’s like boom, boom, it’s in your net. We have to certainly be aware of those guys. I know they’re going to come play fast. They’re going to try to take it to us. There’s no secret, to be quite honest. It’s going to be who gets to their game first. We’ve got to get our game going if we’re going to be effective.
On who’s in net: Petr Mrazek. I think I’m going to not avoid those anymore. If you ask me, I’ll tell you. Until I don’t.
On what he’ll do in the hotel: There’s like nine of us that got Nintendo Switches. I haven’t been much of a gamer in probably six years, so I’m playing that a little bit. It’s definitely unique. Obviously I don’t like to be by myself. We’re encouraged to be by yourself in your room, so I was pacing around a little bit. It’s not what I’m used to. I’m used to going out for dinner and socializing as much as possible. But obviously in these times, you’ve got to change it up. I’m
Nintendo Switching right now but I’m open to anything and everything.
On the excitement for opening night: Personally, I can say for myself I’m excited. Whenever you get a chance to play in the NHL, it doesn’t matter what the situation is, you’ve got to take that for all it’s worth. I don’t take it for granted. I think everybody’s excited. Obviously we haven’t played for about four months now. It’s going to be a feeling out process, your lungs are probably going to be feeling it a bit. But we’re in the same boat. Just try and go out and work hard. Obviously there’s going to be some mistakes, but it’ll work itself out and I’m sure we’ll get better as the game goes on.
On the morning skate: A lot of guys had energy, everybody was smiling, happy. I think a couple guys have said it, I know it’s a shortened training camp, but when you practice eight times, I guess nine with a morning skate, you’re just ready to play. You want to have the competitive juices flowing and go against somebody else rather than your own team. I think everybody’s just excited for that.
On the positives of playing under these circumstances: I think the positive is people can have something to watch and look forward to. I know back home everybody’s excited for hockey. Obviously we’ve gotten a lot of love from all the Caniacs, so everybody’s excited to see us and we’re back. For us, personally, being back in a routine around the guys, when you’re away from it, you miss it. Now that we’re back, it makes you love this even more than you thought you did.
On the energy at the morning skate: It feels real now. I think we’ve been practicing for a while. Yesterday felt good going to PNC and being on our ice, on an NHL rink instead of the practice rink. Being out there today, getting on the plane yesterday, all that stuff, it feels real again. Obviously we’re very happy to be playing and thankful for everyone who has worked very hard to make it possible to play. We’re trying our best to follow the protocols and be safe. Hopefully we can keep doing that and get back to playing hockey tonight.
On expecting high-scoring games: I’m not sure, really. Obviously we don’t want to give up too many goals tonight, so hopefully it’s not too high-scoring. I think teams haven’t played in a while. Like you said, you can have a scrimmage or play some game situation stuff in practice, but you can never really replicate the game. So it’ll be good to get out there, start getting into a rhythm now and start playing a lot more.
On positives playing right now: We talked a little bit this morning about how lucky we are to be playing. I think you can look around the world and everywhere, a lot of people are out of jobs and working from home. It’s a tough time for everyone. I don’t think there are many people that are enjoying the past year. So for us to pretty much be doing our normal life of playing hockey games, traveling and all that stuff, I think we’re very, very lucky. We can’t take that for granted, and I think we’ve got to keep enjoying ourselves and being safe so we can keep playing.