Ahead of tonight’s game against Chicago, the Hurricanes saw another schedule change: tomorrow’s opponent has been changed from the Blackhawks to Tampa Bay Lightning, a rescheduling of the matchup previously scheduled for March 28. That will give the Canes four straight against Tampa Bay after tonight.
Rod Brind’Amour, Warren Foegele and Dougie Hamilton spoke to the media about tonight’s matchup and the coming games:
On if the schedule changes affect anything: Not really. If we’d known Tampa would be on our schedule, we probably would have done something a little different, but honestly, I was just preparing for tonight and we’ll worry about tomorrow tomorrow.
On an update on Petr Mrazek: I have no indication yet. It’s all a healing process, and that takes time, unfortunately. You can’t speed that up. I really don’t have an answer for you.
On an execution vs. effort problem the last game: Our effort’s always pretty good. What I love about it is our standards have risen here over the last couple years to where we lose a game in overtime and we’re upset about how we played. We had a really good first half of that game. We were really good. We came off it a little bit, and you’ve got to give the other team credit. They’re trying to get their game going too. We need to be better in areas, and that’s certainly something we’ll be talking about all year, I’m sure. But it’s never usually an effort thing with our group. It’s just a little bit of execution wasn’t there. I thought we got off our game a little bit, and that enabled the other team to get the momentum.
On lineup changes and the goalie situation: No lineup changes. We’re worried about tonight for who’s in net, so Reimer will play in net. We’ll address tomorrow tomorrow.
On Patrick Kane: You’ve got Connor McDavid, that seems to be not a one-man show but technically could be, and I think Kane’s in that same breath for me. When you watch them play, he really is that good. You know he’s out there, you try to stop him, but for whatever reason the puck just comes to him. He’s a special, special player, for sure.
On Jake Bean: It’s what we said after the first game. He’s got poise, for sure. And to get a real assessment on a player, you’ve really got to get him in the mix in regular fashion. I think it’s kind of unfair to put him and then take him out. You’ve really got to give him a little run here to get a true assessment of what you’re getting and for him to get comfortable. So that’s the reason. We know that if we’re healthy, we’re going to have to shuffle the lineup a little bit just to keep everyone engaged, but he’s got poise and we like that about him for sure.
On getting a point in a poor performance Wednesday: I don’t know if we’ve been too happy with our game lately to be honest. To be able to not be playing our best and still getting points and some wins lately, I think it’s been really good for us. But we know we can play a lot better, so that’s the challenge is to be better and be more consistent, for sure.
On what the team specifically isn’t happy with right now: I think just the consistency in our game, playing our game and getting to it consistently throughout the game. I know we’ve talked about we have spurts of it, but we need to do it relentlessly. That’s when we’re really good.
On the schedule change: I heard some rumblings about it this morning. I didn’t know really what’s going on. I don’t think it matters too much. I think it’s just focus on today and then focus on tomorrow tomorrow, so just worry about tonight’s game and go day by day.
On the schedule change: I guess it’s weird, but we’re focused on today. We’re just trying to have a bounce-back game. Going back to trying to execute to play a full 60 minutes. When we play like that, we’re really hard to play against. We’ll focus on whoever we play tomorrow, I think it’s Tampa. But today, our focus is on Chicago and trying to play a full 60.
On playing with Jordan Staal: I’ve been pretty privileged. It’s my third year playing with Jordo. I’ve said it before. He does all the small things right, and on top of that, his vision has always been so good. Right now, he’s got a really hot shovel as [Hurricanes color analyst Tripp Tracy] would say, but he’s a phenomenal player, he’s our leader. He works so hard out there, and it’s really nice to see him get rewarded.
On if it’s surprising when the Canes have a tough game: I think for us, it’s sticking to the game plan, and not getting away from our game and what makes us successful. We’ve got a ton of talent on our team, but I think our bread and butter is always our work ethic. When you’re working hard and you use your skill, then you can kind of take over the game. Just trying to do both those things to ultimately get to the big prize.
On if the team has played a full 60: I think there’s been maybe a couple games, but we know we can be better, and it starts with tonight, taking it period by period.