The Hurricanes opened the season with a 3-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings Thursday night. While there’s plenty to work on from the victory, there’s also plenty to celebrate, including a goal from Nino Niederreiter and shutout from Petr Mrazek.
Mrazek, Niedrreiter and Rod Brind’Amour all spoke to the media via Zoom after the win, here’s a full breakdown of everything they had to say:
On Dougie Hamilton fighting: That was surprising. I don’t like seeing that, to be honest. But I like that he stood up for his teammate, that part was great. I don’t want to see fights, because nothing good can happen out of that, but nice to see him stand up for our group.
On Nino Niederreiter: I didn’t talk to him too much. It’s pretty obvious what’s expected when you stick him with those guys. I thought that scoring that goal early was huge for him and obviously the whole group. Obviously whoever you play with those two has got to be good. That’s our top line. We need it to be dynamic. I thought they had a good game and it was great to see that he got on the board.
On his satisfaction with the defense and Mrazek: The game was actually closer than it maybe appeared. They had some really good looks. That’s the stuff I want to try to eliminate. We probably relied on Petr a little bit too much, and they hit a couple bars. We had a lot of breakdowns, let’s put it that way, that I didn’t like. So you’re always going to nitpick but that’s definitely not how it should look. Game one after a long layoff, I’m not too upset about it.
The effort was really good. And that’s the key, the whole 60 minutes. Even the shifts that we had to buckle down, a lot of guys were diving in front of pucks. We had some really key blocks, so all that stuff was really positive.
On having all the players back: It feels good. Just watching Brett Pesce out there, you kind of forgot, because he was out for so long, and we got used to playing without him, and then you stick a guy like that in there and you’re like, ‘Wow.’ He looks pretty darn good for being out for almost a year. We missed him, and I’m really, really excited that he’s back, because he is world class.
On who stood out: I just mentioned Brett Pesce. We had a lot of instances where we didn’t really get pucks out that we normally do. It ended up causing us to have like two-minute shifts in our own end. That wears your D down, totally just bags them really. Pesce and all our D, I thought, really hunkered down on those shifts. I thought Slavin, too, got going and was dominant when he got his legs under him. So those two guys really stood out to me on the back end. And then Petr, whenever we needed a save, it felt like he was going to make it. It was good for us, for those guys, for sure.
On Niederreiter and Dzingel scoring: I think both those guys, just listening to them talk about their season last year, they expected more, and we did too. They’re better players than they did numbers wise and everything last year. For those guys to break the ice early, I think, is huge. Obviously it’s big for our team, but for them personally, you certainly hope it springs them forward into better things.
On celebrating the win: There won’t be a lot of celebrating. I think it’s a process now of going through this game and how we get better. It’s going to be a long night for me or all day tomorrow looking at that. There’s a lot of stuff that shouldn’t have happened. The fact that we worked really hard from start to finish, there weren’t any lulls in the effort, was probably what I was most pleased with.
On how it felt to be back: It felt great being back on the ice. It’s been quite some time without a game, so it’s nice getting into it.
On getting started with a goal and playing on the top line: It definitely felt great being with them and it’s always good to have a good start. I wasn’t very happy with the last season, so I knew I expected a lot more from me and I know that I got better. It’s nice being back with them and it’s a great opportunity for me. I need to continue to work hard to stay there.
On closing out not an entirely clean game: It proves a lot about our team. We didn’t play as good as we wanted to and we made a lot of mistakes, but at the same time we managed to win the hockey game. We all know in the group that we got better and we know what we need to do to get better. It was the first game of the season, so it was a good win that way.
On the second power play unit: It was very important for us to get pucks to the net and get the puck moving very quickly. That was something we talked about on the bench and in the power play meetings we had. Just making sure we are shooting pucks and not trying to be too fancy.
On the artificial crowd noise: It sounded a lot better than when it was in the bubble. In the bubble it was very quiet in Toronto. So it was fun hearing something and even though there were no fans, you still feel that there’s an atmosphere.
On this opener feeling different than past ones: It was definitely a lot different. Usually you’re always excited for a home opener even if it’s an away game. Usually it’s very loud and everyone’s excited. It was good that we had some experience in the bubble to know what it’s like playing without fans, so I feel that that helped us prepare for the game, but it’s obviously night and day compared to with fans and without.
On not facing a lot of shots: Not a lot of action, but they were in our zone for a while. Our D did a great job. They blocked a lot of shots tonight. I can thank them for that.
On having the full defense back: It felt great to have the d-corp together and play that well.
On getting back into game action: It feels good to be back after a while. Just being with the group and playing fun games. That’s what we’re ready for.
On Dougie Hamilton’s fight: I think it was a good fight. I’m happy he did well.