The Hurricanes saw their eight-game winning streak snapped Tuesday night, but they’ll look to start a new streak Thursday night as they kick off four straight against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Jaccob Slavin, Jordan Martinook and Rod Brind’Amour spoke to the media following Thursday’s morning skate, here’s a full breakdown of everything they had to say:
On communicating with players in COVID times: The challenging part, now it feels like we’re kind of used to it, but it’s not a very effective way of communicating. It’s the best you can do, but like you said, it’s a lot easier and more effective when you just bring a guy into your office, sit down and talk to him, and you can’t do that anymore. So that’s been a challenge, getting team meetings together, because you just don’t have the feedback when you’re doing them on Zoom. It’s great that we’re able to do it that way, it’s just not ideal.
On playing teams four in a row and carrying anything over from the four-game set with Tampa Bay: I thought we really played four good games against Tampa. I know the results weren’t what we want, but I don’t think we could have done much different. I thought we were really good in those games, so sometimes you get caught up in the results, and it’s really the process there. I thought, ‘If we can play these guys tough four times, hopefully we’ll have the results. But you go in with a game plan every night. When you’re playing the same team over and over, you definitely have to make slight adjustments here and there, because otherwise, it probably gets a little too easy for the other team.
On competition between the power-play units: Normally I would say yeah. I don’t really think it’s competition. I think it’s how we’ve run it for a while here where you get your time and it’s the next guy’s responsibility to keep it going. We don’t over cook a power-play group. If they’re fresh, we keep them on, if not, it’s the next group. It’s more just the fact that now we have better players. We’ve got two of our top guys out of the power play right now, and they’ve still managed to keep it rolling. So the competition’s there, I think, internally, but I don’t sense it as ‘Well, this power play group’s going against the other one’ at all.
On lineup changes or updates on injured players: No changes, and there’s nothing new to report on the injured guys.
On Petr Mrazek: I can tell you he skated today, so that’s good, that’s better. That’s about all I can tell you. He wasn’t with the main group or the main guys. There’s not much to talk about.
On Warren Foegele: I think my words were mixed there a little bit, they pulled him, based on, I don’t know the protocol they do, the spotters. So that’s what happened there. But he’s good to go.
On playing his 400th game: Obviously when you hit a milestone, 400, it’s obviously rewarding and exciting all at the same time. I’m just lucky enough to play in this league for 400 games, and I definitely don’t take it for granted. This is the best league in the world, and to say you’ve played 400 games in it is pretty exciting.
On advice to his younger self: I think from day one I had fun with it. I still have just as much if not more fun with it now, and I guess I’d say don’t take everything so seriously sometimes. I think I can get down on myself some times. You play a lot of hockey, and you’ve got to brush things off quick. I think when you first come into the league, your mistakes get magnified. Obviously they still get magnified, but I think you’re a little more hard on yourself early on. I’m still hard on myself, but you’ve got to learn how to brush it off and come back better the next shift or the next period or whatever it might be.
On playing the same team four in a row: I think you obviously want to get started well, and tonight we want to get back on track. We know Columbus are always hard-checking games. There’s not a lot of room out there. They play a hard-working style, and I think we try and do the same. I think once game three and four rolls around, you know exactly what they’re going to do, you know their tendencies and all the stuff. So it’s just about who can stick with their game the longest, and I guess who can not make the little mistake that ends up in the back of your net.
On communicating with coaches: Obviously we do our meetings virtually, and that’s obviously different. I think [Brind’Amour] probably dislikes it more than we do because he doesn’t see everybody engaged. I think everybody’s been pretty good with it, but if you’re wearing your mask, you can do video for I think five minutes, but it’s obviously hard. This whole season’s hard. Whatever the situation is, it’s definitely different and raises challenges, but I think you’ve got to figure out ways to get around it and work through it. I guess every team’s dealing with it. It’s just part of the year.
On the power play: It’s probably playing with each other for a few years, and especially this year, the groups haven’t really changed that much. Obviously [Vincent Trocheck] is out and [Martin Necas] goes in there. But I think the best part about our power play this year is the second power-play group is probably just as dangerous as the first one. They’re pushing them, and it’s nice to see that competition where if the first group doesn’t go out and score, then the second group wants their goal. So just to see the evolution of our two units has been fun to watch. I think the quick hits, I feel like maybe in years past, they were maybe waiting a little longer, but they have plans and they’re dialed in. It’s definitely fun to watch.
On finding a way to stick in the league for 400 games: I think if you come to work every day and you have a positive mindset and you have a 100% work ethic, then usually things are going to work out in a good way. I think every year, every day I come to the rink and try to work as hard as I can. I try and be a positive piece in the room, and have fun. It’s rewarding to be in this league, it’s a privilege and an honor. Obviously I wish I was more like McDavid and those guys, but I feel like I’ve had a pretty good career so far and I feel like I want to keep it going.
On communicating with coaches: Nothing’s too different in that regard. Coaches still pull guys aside, not so much as in the office but grab the laptop, put on a mask and try to distance as they watch their video or go over clips, whatever it is. Skate around talking on the ice. Still trying to keep that communication line open and get better.
On if it’s as effective as it used to be: It’s still effective. Guys are smart players here, so it’s never huge teaching clips, but just little things here and there that can continue to help the team win and get better every game. But it’s still effective.
On playing the same teams over and over: It goes both ways. We know what they’re going to do, they know what we’re going to do. But it still doesn’t change what we do and how you’ve got to play. It just puts more emphasis on the mental side of things, making sure you’re prepared, mentally there and ready to do the little things within the game that get you the two points in the end.
On the power play: They’re just shooting. You’ve got a lot of skilled guys on the ice but they’re breaking teams with the shot and continuing to get pucks to the net. I think that’s the biggest difference from years past. They’re really making a point to shoot the puck and obviously you’ve got guys on the ice that can shoot the puck really well. So that makes it that much easier.