Head coach Rod Brind’Amour as well as Brock McGinn and Jordan Martnook spoke to the media via Zoom following practice Monday morning.
On the success against Tampa: We played well against them. Both games were really tight and could have gone either way really, but we got fortunate the other night to get lucky bounces to get ahead. That always helps to solidify your game and sometimes can get other teams out of their game. We know it’s going to be tight again tonight.
On Steven Lorentz being deployed at center early in his career: He’s big and strong and can skate. Those things all help. He covers a lot of ground. He’s been a center his whole career. It’s not like we are making him one. That’s his natural position and he’s played it a lot in his lifetime. He’s still got a long way to go. It’s a different animal playing in the NHL at center, but he’s willing to learn and I think I’ve liked his game so far.
On the starting goaltender for tonight’s game: We’re going back with Reimer. It’s just basically about rest and that it’s his turn. There’s not a lot of thought process to be honest with you. We’ve got tons of games and we’ve been saying this all along, we’re going to need both guys playing. That’s about it.
On Teuvo Teravainen potentially dealing with a concussion: He got hit hard. I don’t know if they’ve diagnosed it as a concussion. I’m not sure. I just know that the issue that we’re dealing with is that he doesn’t feel right. He’s out, that’s all I can tell you.
On how he would describe Central division hockey: It’s different in a way for us because we’re playing a lot of teams we haven’t played a ton. It still feels like a newness to a lot of the teams. When we were in the other divisions, you just knew the teams because you played them so much. But it’s hockey. It’s the NHL. You can say, ‘Oh it’s nice you don’t have to see Ovechkin and Crosby,’ but now I have to see Kane and Stamkos and Point. It’s the NHL, it’s a tough night every night.
On the David Ayres game a year later: It’s kind of crazy to think that was a year ago, because of what’s gone on in a year’s time. Everything was good up until that day. Maybe we took for granted that normalness. Now we’re here a year later, and yet look how far we’ve come even in a year with everything. My memories of that game are all good, because it turned out well. I like the fact that we’re still talking about it and it’s a memory we will all cherish really.
On how the team feels: We came out and played a full game last time, so we just need to come out with the same mentality tonight. Just have to go out there and play hard and not give them the space that they want to have and just stay on their D to not let them jump in on those rushes that give them those odd-man opportunities were they’re pretty scary. We just have to go out there and play the same game as we did the other night.
On Tampa being a dangerous team: They’re still a very talented team. They work hard and that’s what their mentality is every time they go out there. They expect to win and so do we, so it’s definitely going to be a good game tonight.
On his impressions of Cedric Paquette: You love having him on your team. He’s a blast out there to watch, just getting into those scrums, and I think that’s something this team needs. He brings that edge and physicality that sometimes a team lacks, but he’s definitely a great addition and it was great to see him score the other night.
On the effect on the team to have a guy like that: You can hear it on the bench, it gets everybody engaged. It brings everyone into that battle. When he’s out there you see everybody following along and bringing that intensity level up.
On if there’s a change in the style of play against opponents they don’t usually see often: I’m not sure if our style changes too much. When we go out there we try to play our systems. We don’t really worry about who we’re playing too much. If we go out there and play our style, I think it matches well against any team. We just have to concentrate on really going out there and working hard and playing a full 60 minutes.
On the David Ayres game one year later: It’s something I’ll never forget. Even when you see it on the TV or on the Internet, it’s something you always want to watch because it brings back such great memories. It’s special for David and our team. A lot of guys reflect back on that and think about how hard we fought for him and we just have to continue that for everyone else in here.
On his impressions of Cedric Paquette: It’s been good. I love the way he plays and I feel like we kind of gel off each other. He’s in there all the time and I feel like it gives me some freedom to go and join him on the forecheck. We’ve been able to cause some havoc, which has been nice. The agitator part has been part of his game for his entire career. I remember him in Tampa always in there doing his thing. It’s nice having him on our side. It’s fun.
On success against Tampa Bay: They’re a dangerous team. You look up and down their lineup, everybody can score and have an impact on the game. And obviously they’re the Stanley Cup champs. It gives you extra motivation right there, but being able to play them hard and limit those offensive guys, it’s something every team relishes in, shutting down top-end players. The two games that we played, the intensity was higher. I wish it wasn’t the case. I wish the intensity was that high all the time, but you could just notice it. Every play had just a little more meaning.
On if beating Tampa infuses the team with confidence: We’re just trying to win every night. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing against. Our main focus is to win every night and I think at the end of the year, if our mindset is we’re going to win every night, then we’re going to be in a good spot. It doesn’t really matter who you’re playing against as long as you’re coming out with two points. That’s kind of the mindset of our team.
On his impressions on Steven Lorentz: It’s been good. I feel like every game, he gets more confident. I think from the first game I played with him in Chicago, he’s come a long way. Even in the two or three games before, he was noticeable and making a lot of plays. In the Chicago game, I think we were all kind of scrambly, but then in Dallas I kind of noticed him more. He’s confident with the puck, he makes plays, he can skate well and whenever you can skate, you can get yourself out of trouble if you get in it. I feel like Steven can skate so well, he’s so strong, he’s good on the forecheck and last game I left the rink knowing that we did our job and that we were all over it.
On the David Ayres game a year later: I was on Instagram last night and the Sportsnet feature came across and, I don’t know why, but I get emotional every time I see something about it. Still to this day it’s mind boggling that it happened and the way it played out. Every time you hear the interview, it’s the exact same way he talks about it, but it just makes you happy. It’s one of those moments that when you think of the game of hockey, you think of those feel good moments, and that’s at the top for me, that’s for sure.
On what he was thinking in the moment that David Ayres came in: They might need to bleep it out. I’m just kidding. I think I was just giggling. It was me and [McGinn] and we looked at each other and then just looked over at Roddy and there’s video of his face that just kind of tells the whole story. He’s like rolling his eyes, and I just think all of us, we were excited for him, but everybody was like, ‘Okay this is going to be what it’s going to be, and hopefully we can hold the fort down, but we’re not expecting much.’ He said it though in his interviews, that if we got him to the intermission, he’d be fine. Luckily we got out with the lead and he calmed down and then we played pretty spectacularly there on the way out.