There’s little doubt that the Hurricanes are a confident group right now coming off eight wins in a row, and looking to make it nine Tuesday night.
Rod Brind’Amour, Brett Pesce and Jesper Fast spoke to the media about the current state of the team following Monday’s practice, here’s a full breakdown of everything he had to say:
On making adjustments in two-game sets: There are adjustments made in between games for sure. It’s just part of it. Teams know what you’re doing, you’ve got to make little hiccups, little changeups to things. But not drastic. I really try to do what we do and do it right. There’s obviously little adjustments you make along the way, especially on special teams. I think that maybe more so than anything, and faceoffs. There’s just little areas where you have to make adjustments.
On Jesper Fast: He’s brought what we thought he was going to bring. He can compete and has a consistent effort every night. I think he’s also brought, he’s made plays too. There’s offense there, too. He understands how to play the game, whatever role you put him in. Whether I’ve got him on the power play, whether I’ve got him penalty killing, he kind of fits whatever you decide you need him to do. He can do it.
On the team playing well without Petr Mrazek and Teuvo Teravainen: If you had said those guys were going to be out long term, and now add even [Vincent Trocheck] in the mix, you would have said ‘Uh oh,’ for sure. We obviously need everyone back to be the team I think we can be. Is there another level? For sure there’s always another level to get to, and we’re striving for that, always.
On confidence: I think we’ve always been confident in our abilities, because we trust what we’re doing. I think the guys get that when we play it the way we’re trying to against anybody, that we can be successful. So I think there’s always that confidence. I know it’s eight in a row, but it’s now we look at it. Whether we’re winning eight in a row or losing eight in a row, it’s irrelevant. It’s what do you do for me lately? What have we got in front of us? That’s just how we look at it.
On character: Every organization says the same things. You’re all looking for character guys. But it is a skill, to your point. Talent is character, that’s all part of it. I think Darren Yorke, who runs our amateur scouting, that’s totally on the top of the list. We want good people, first and foremost in here, because I just think you’ll work hard and do more for those kind of people, and that’s basically what we’ve done here. Our young guys are really quality people. I think you have more success if you have good people around.
On the Eric Staal trade rumors: That’s a question that’s probably further up the chain than me, but I think we know he’s an awesome person. I haven’t watched his game much this year, so I don’t really know where he’s fitting in, but we’ll have to address some things, I’m sure, at some point, potentially. But I like our team right now. I don’t know why we would be looking at too much. But everybody would want to have that guy around.
On guys transitioning into more of a leadership role: The answer from a coach would be that I would hope there’s a lot of guys. But that’s probably not accurate. We have a strong leadership group, and I think at times, you’d say ‘Well, maybe some other guys take a back seat.’ But I think the way they lead is that they promote within and they allow our young guys to have voices. And so you see even [Andrei Svechnikov], I think, feels like a leader. Because he is. Let’s just face it, he’s one of the better players in the game, so he needs to feel like he has a voice. And he does, he just doesn’t have the voice. I think that’s really important. Our leadership group does a great job with including and making sure everyone feels a part of it.
On special teams: I think the big thing is we’re all on the same page. We know what we have to do, we feel like we have a game plan for how to play and to be successful. Special teams are so important nowadays.
On Jordan Staal: He’s so powerful. I feel like he wins his battles. He’s so strong on the puck. It makes it so easy for myself and [Andrei Svechnikov] and other players to play with him. You know you can count on him winning his battles and always doing the right things out there. So he’s been playing really good, and we need him.
On his impressions of the Hurricanes: The character, the consistent work ethic that’s been out there every game. I feel like we’re such a hard team to beat when everyone is playing this way. You can see it so far, we barely give up any scoring chances, we’re on the right side and everyone is working so hard. So the character and work ethic has really been standing out to me coming here.
On the team’s confidence: Eight games, the way we’ve been playing just brings more confidence every game we play. I feel like we know how to play and what makes us a good team, so we just have to keep playing this way and hopefully have a really good spring and summer going forward here.
On the Hurricanes’ culture in the locker room: I feel like it starts in the last couple years with Rod coming in and putting the focus on character and work ethic. I feel like this group of guys that’s been together so long has built on that. Coming in here as a new guy, you see that. I feel like they’ve been doing such a good job the last couple years, so we’ve just got to keep building on that and it’s so important to have good character in this group. It’s been a success, and I’m really enjoying my time with the team, all the players and the coaching staff, so it’s been good.
On Rod Brind’Amour: You see how much this means to him. He really brings this group together, and the way he get us fired up before games, it’s been a joy so far to see how he acts with us and what he’s been doing the last couple years.
On special teams: From the kill standpoint, everyone’s kind of buying into our system and how we want to play it. I think our team, guys are getting a little older and maturing a little bit, for me personally, I’ve realized that special teams is just such an important part of the game, and I think on most nights, it’s the difference. Just kind of understanding that, you get a little oomph when you go out there on the PK or the PP to get things done.
On the Hurricanes’ confidence: It’s really high, obviously. We expect to win every night, and I don’t think any one of us in that locker room is surprised that we’re on a little hot streak here. We’re not going to stop, so hopefully we can keep it going.
On if the Hurricanes wonder how good they are relative to the rest of the league playing the same teams: Personally, I haven’t really thought about it too much. I just try to focus on the teams in our league, our division, because that’s obviously what matters to kind of get things done and get in the playoffs. You see the highlights, but I don’t think about it too much.
On if this feels like it’s been half a season: Personally, I think it feels like over half a season. It’s a grind. We’re playing a lot of games in a short amount of days. It takes a toll, but we’re halfway to go, so we’ve got to keep dialing in.
On the two-game series: You create some rivalries within your league just because you play them so many times. You kind of get to know teams’ tendencies and what not. Some guys, you’ll not like more than others on back-to-back nights.