The Hurricanes will take on the Stars for the third time this season in Dallas tonight, looking to bounce back from Monday’s loss in Columbus.
Rod Brind’Amour, Jaccob Slavin and Warren Foegele spoke to the media following this morning’s pregame skate, here’s a full breakdown of what they had to say:
On the Stars struggling: It’s always about us. Your opponent, what they’ve done in the past, if they’re on a five-game win streak or losing, it makes no difference. I wouldn’t say Dallas is struggling. They’re in every game and losing a couple in overtime, so this is one of the better teams in the league. They don’t give you much. We have to be prepared for that.
On the first Dallas series and the change from the first to the second game: I’m not sure. They obviously had more offense in that game. But our first game, we were just really good. I think that’s what it was. We didn’t give them a lot of room, and they didn’t have a lot of free looks. So that was probably our best game of the year, and then they’re a good team. So they definitely had a better game that second one. I’m not sure if I can point to one thing, other than I’m sure they knew they had to be better and they were.
On having the guys back off the COVID list back now: I think you would hope at this point that rust is off and we’re closer to our full group here now. You want to see that depth in our lineup. That’s kind of what we didn’t have in that game, for sure. We were four or five short. So we’re kind of piecing it together. Tonight we’ll have one of our forwards out, but for the most part, it’s our group, and if we’re doing it right, you don’t see any drop off in our game.
On Vincent Trocheck: I don’t put a lot of weight or stress on points. It’s how you’re playing, because you can play really well and not get points. Sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. He’s played well this year, and then the points have come. If we can get that out of him, or even something remotely like that, it’s a huge stress off everybody else. And we’re going to need that, this year, for sure, if we’re going to be the team we want to be. I think he’s just comfortable now in this uniform and this organization, and his role. I think that just took a little while.
On having a couple days off: It was nice to go home for a day and regroup the mind. I think we’re excited to get going again. I think we’re ready and it’ll be fun tonight.
On Dallas struggling: We’re not really focused so much on them and more on ourselves. We know what we need to do to be a successful team, it’s just whether we do it for a full 60. We’re hoping today we can play a hard forechecking game, don’t give up too much in the D-zone and play a full 60.
On playing in front of fans in Dallas: I don’t know if it’ll make it feel normal, necessarily. You’re just worried about going out there, doing your job and working hard. Obviously it’ll be nice to hear the audience. I don’t know if it’ll quite be normal yet, but it’s definitely exciting to start having some fans in the arena and for us to play in front of them.
On playing in front of fans in Dallas: I’m sure it’s going to be fun. Anytime you get fans in the building, you just get some actual fan noise instead of the stuff they just pump over the speakers. It’s always good for the game, good for the intensity of the game. But I think it’ll be fun to have some people in seats tonight.
On coming back from the COVID list and getting back to his usual level of play: The first couple games in Chicago weren’t very good. The lungs felt fine, the legs felt fine, but just the decision making wasn’t there, so I’m just trying to get back to that and the level of play that I’m used to playing with. I’ve got to get back to that. Obviously it hasn’t been easy, but I think we’re getting back there and every game is getting better. So I’ve just got to try to plug away at it. Like Roddy always says, ‘As long as the effort’s there.’ Mistakes are going to happen, but hopefully as I get into it, the mistakes are limited.
On Dallas struggling: We typically just try to worry about ourselves and our game, regardless of what they’re doing on the other side. It shouldn’t affect what we do, and we still need to play our game and play the way that makes us successful. That’s what we’re going to try to do tonight.
On the type of team Dallas is: They’re a physical, fast, forechecking team. They play in your face and they’ve got a pretty game. We’ve got to try to play fast and not spend too much time in our D-zone.
On all of the injuries, COVID issues and roster flux this season: Yeah, definitely. You don’t see this. At least in the years I’ve played so far, nothing quite like this has happened. So yeah, there’s so many different guys in and out of the lineup. We’ve got a really good culture and a bunch of good character in the locker room, so whenever guys do step into the locker room, they’re ready and willing to go, and play the way that needs to be played. You saw that a couple weeks ago with our team. So it definitely is a weird season, but you’ve just got to roll with it and just play. When it’s your turn to get on the ice, you’ve got to be ready.
On the Canes’ culture: You just look at Rod, his career and his mindset of the game, how he goes about it, how he played. That’s the culture that he’s created here ever since he’s taken over. So it’s awesome, and you want to be able to play for a guy like that. He has the utmost respect for every single person in the locker room, and so when you have a coach that respects you, it’s easy to follow his lead, play the way that he wants it to be played and play the game the right way. We’ve got to make sure in the locker room that his message as a good culture, just making sure that we’re playing that way.