When the Hurricanes face off with the Red Wings for the second time in three days Saturday night, they’ll have a big absence in the lineup, as Jordan Staal is unavailable due to his placement on the NHL’s COVID protocol list. That will, however, mean an opportunity for Morgan Geekie, recalled from the Hurricanes’ taxi squad today.
Geekie, Teuvo Teravainen and Rod Brind’Amour spoke to the media following Thursday’s morning skate, here’s a full breakdown of everything they had to say:
On the absence of Jordan Staal: He’s our leader on and off the ice. You rely on him for so much. So he’s a big part of what we’re doing. But that’s part of what goes on in all sports. We’ve got to step up. Other guys have got to fill that role, but we’re definitely going to miss him.
On Morgan Geekie: Geekie will be in the lineup for Jordo. I don’t know that I’ll have him in that spot on the line, but he’s definitely the guy coming in.
On how the team will be without Staal and what Geekie learned from the playoffs last year: There’s nothing I can talk about with Jordo, I have no idea how long that’s going to be. But as far as Geekie, the good news is we know what we have there. He has some comfort with our group and the system. We don’t expect him to be putting up points like he did when he first showed up those first couple games, but he’s comfortable with us. But it’s his first game in a long time too, so I’m not putting too many expectations on him. But it’s not a new player, so that’s good.
On the taxi squad and his number change: The taxi squad, it’s a little different. Obviously no one’s done it before. But yeah, we’ve got a good group of guys in there that are just taking it day by day. Every day is different, as everybody knows. It’s been fun getting to practice and everything but I’m excited to get going tonight. As far for the number, I honestly just thought it looked cooler. It’s a pretty boring story, honestly.
On getting playoff experience: It was really good. Obviously any time you can play playoff hockey it’s a different atmosphere. So it was good to get in there and get into the action. But I’m just going to take what I learned there. The game’s fast. Everybody knows that. But I’m just going to go out there and try and continue to play well and hopefully good things will come.
On his transitions to new teams: I think every time I try and make that jump, I’m just trying to simplify my game. I come into each league not trying to change too much. I’ve had success being the player that I am and sticking to my game. So it’s gotten me this far and I’m just trying to continue and play well.
On getting to 200 career assists: They didn’t really see that at the start, but it’s good they made it right after. I just saw that after the game. It’s pretty cool, of course. I got a lot of help from my linemates and teammates to put those goals in so that’s good.
On Jordan Staal: He’s a big part of our team. It’s always tough if we miss him. He’s a big guy on the ice and all over the place, on the PK, winning faceoffs. So someone else has got to step up pretty big after that.
On Nino Niederreiter: He’s just a big body. He can move around. He’s pretty smart and he can score, so it’s big if he finds his confidence again. He looks pretty good right now, and he’s had a great camp. That goal for sure helps his confidence I think, so hopefully we can help him get better, because I think he can be a lot better.
On the atmosphere without fans: There’s no fans in the building, so there’s nothing much going on. So we’ve got to create our own game and our feeling. So it’s different but it’s the same for both teams. So we’ve just got to battle through I guess.