The Carolina Hurricanes returned home for a scheduled practice at Wake Competition Center on Saturday before continuing their road trip through Columbus on Sunday.
After the team’s practice, Rod Brind’Amour, Alex Nedeljkovic, and Jesper Fast spoke to the media over Zoom:
On Martin Necas and whether he is concussed: I can’t (say whether he is concussed or not). He’s going to be out for a little while, but I don’t think it’s going to be very long. I’m not really sure what they’re calling it (the injury), but we’re definitely keeping him out here for a little while.
On Justin Williams re-joining the organization as a Special Advisor to the GM: I think any time you have good people around, I don’t care what business you’re in, you’re going to find a way to be successful. We know his hockey IQ is really high. Like I said, it’s good to have that kind of people in the building and in the organization. I’m not really sure and I don’t think anyone is really sure how much he’s going to do or not, but we welcome him obviously in the mix.
On if the Slavin-Pesce pairing seen in practice will translate to the game: I mean, it’s always an option. I wouldn’t read too much into the lines today. We were just kinda looking at a little different things, but we know that can be a great pairing for us moving forward. I’m not sure it’s going to start that way tomorrow.
On if the team’s game will change when Alex Nedeljkovic gets a start and how his puck-moving ability helps: Your game doesn't change, you just hope it gets better with a good puck-moving goalie. That’s what his strength is and he needs to do it. As far as when he plays, I’m not sure, but he will definitely get in here, I’m sure sometime soon. He better be doing that (moving the puck), it’s one of the things he does well. He better be handling the puck.
On potentially getting the opportunity to play in his home state of Ohio: It’d be pretty cool. It’d be awesome if fans were there, we’d have family down and it’d obviously be more special. Any time you can play close to home, it’s cool. I grew up watching those guys. It’ll be a fun time if I can get into one.
On getting another chance at the NHL level: It’s a good opportunity. It sucks that it had to be with somebody getting hurt. Obviously, Petr having surgery is never something that you want for anybody, but hopefully, he’ll have a quick recovery and I can help hold down the fort while he’s gone.
On avoiding putting pressure on himself after not playing in so long: Paul (Schonfelder, Canes goalie coach) and I were talking about it during camp, actually. You just have to take every practice as a game, really. Obviously, the intensity’s not the same for everybody but you have to do your best to make it as game-like as possible. You’re going to give up goals in practice, you’re going to give up goals in games, but you just have to play it out as best you can. Play every rebound out and just try to be as precise as you can be.
On having to go through waivers at the beginning of the season: It was my first time going through (waivers). I’d say it was a little stressful - not even for me, but just my girlfriend and everyone kinda around like my family. Just the uncertainty of it all. The next morning, if you wake up and you’re with another organization, you’re trying to figure out flights and living situations. I was actually pretty happy to stay here. It’s the only organization I’ve known. I’m familiar with everybody and everybody kinda knows who I am. It would’ve been nice to maybe go to a new spot and get some fresh eyes, but I know what I have here and they know what they have in me. Just having that confidence that I can come in and step in and do my job to my best.
On how he is feeling after coming off of the COVID protocol list and how close he is to being able to play: I feel good. Today was my first time back practicing with the team, so I was happy to be out there. We’ll see, when the coaches think I’m ready, I’ll be ready to go.
On if he had any COVID complications: The first two days, I felt it, but after that, it was just like a cold so nothing too bad. It was getting a little boring being locked inside for two weeks but I’m glad to be out now and I’m feeling good.
On how he occupied himself in self-isolation: I was climbing the walls in the room where I was. It was not eh most fun. Watching the team play, it’s been a joy. They definitely put a smile to my face, except for last game, but other than that it’s such a joy to watch them play