The Hurricanes will look to keep it rolling to close out the month of March when they visit the Blackhawks in Chicago tomorrow night, as they’ve won three straight games and picked up a point in five straight.
After a day off Sunday, the team got back on the ice for practice Monday. Rod Brind’Amour, Dougie Hamilton and Warren Foegele spoke to the media after, here’s a full breakdown of everything they had to say:
On Martin Necas playing in all situations: I think just no matter how the game’s going, it gives you an extra couple shifts and certainly gets you in the flow. The danger of it is you lose other guys. And that’s sometimes where it can be tough, because now some other guys aren’t getting those minutes. He’s obviously shown that he can handle it. So that’s good on him.
On Vincent Trocheck: We’re still waiting on, I guess he had some tests this morning, so I haven’t heard the results, but as of right now he’s not in the lineup.
On the power play: It’s all personnel. I’ve been here for a long time running the power play and I haven’t really changed it from one year to the next too much. And yet now, all of the sudden, it’s ‘Oh, it’s a good power play.’ Well, we’ve been trying the same things for 10 years. It’s just that you get better players. And there’s something to be said about having guys that have been around each other for a while now. That chemistry, that understanding, OK, where we’re going, the different feel they have for just playing the game. But it’s all personnel.
On if Trocheck could get back in the lineup quickly if he’s medically cleared, and an update on Petr Mrazek: I don’t know on Petr. We’re waiting on him on that. That’s kind of his call. When he feels like he’s good, he’ll give us a thumbs up on that, and then we’ll make that decision. Trocheck, it’s a medical thing for sure. It’s a matter of a healing issue. And then once we get the OK, your question, do we put him in, that’s going to be up to him too. If he feels he can go, then he’ll go.
On the Blackhawks: It’s the same story watching that game last night with them. They have two elite players that are really carrying the load. They can just literally win games. [Patrick Kane] is a special player, and [Alex DeBrincat], they’ve got great chemistry. Those two guys are going to be a handful, and now they’re getting some healthy guys back. So they’re definitely an interesting team, because they give you some chances but they get a lot of chances. That can be a dangerous mix.
On Martin Necas: He’s just blossoming and maturing. The talent’s always been there, but then you’ve got to figure out how to play. You take the video, the stuff you get taught and you go ‘Oh yeah, this does work.’ You apply it to all that talent. I think you’re starting to see all that come together.
On Dougie Hamilton: I do think we needed that type of player, obviously, and it fit perfect. And then he’s got the perfect partner to play that style. I think our system fits well to that type of player. And then I think he does like it here. So there’s just a lot there. It’s just the right fit. Hopefully we can keep him here. That’s going to be the tough part. But I do think his style has fit for us and us for him.
On if tabling contract negotiations takes any weight off of him for this season: I haven’t really been thinking about it too much. Just trying to play hockey. We had lots of time to talk already so it is what it is at this point. It’s not really on my mind. We’ll figure it out after the season. I wasn’t part of it the last couple of months. I’ve just been trying to focus on hockey and winning games and that’s what I’ll keep doing.
On how hard it is dealing with an injury that is season ending: It’s obviously really hard. It’s tough to go through, especially having a good season. [Ekblad] was having a great season so I’m definitely disappointed for him for sure. I think for me, I learned a lot going through it. Stuff about life and having a good attitude and all that stuff. Realizing how lucky we are and that life is good. Just have to have a good attitude and take whatever challenge is in front of you. It sucks but it’s part of life I guess.
On if he pays any attention to his point streak: I don’t really care too much. It’s just one game at a time. I barely can remember two games or three games ago or even last game after having a day off yesterday. Just with the schedule and stuff, I try to play the game. Reset the next day and try to get ready for the next one. Do your best in that one and learn from it and get ready for the next. It’s been a long time now, but I’m just trying to focus on the next game and see what happens.
On if he had a vote for the Norris trophy, what factors he would consider: I don’t really think about that too much because I don’t have a vote. You could probably tell me better than I could tell you. But I think when you’re looking for a defenseman, it should be a complete defenseman that helps his team and does everything in all situations. I think that’s what you want to be as a defenseman.
On what he misses the most from a normal season: There’s some stuff away from the rink. Going out for dinners and stuff with the guys. Definitely miss the media in the locker room. That’s probably the biggest thing. Other than that, the fans for sure. We had more fans last game and it was nice to have that energy. Hopefully we can have more and more as time goes on here, but definitely some stuff away from the rink. It’s kind of hard to do the same stuff over and over and being in your room in the hotel and stuff.
On what it meant to him for the coaching staff to give him more time in all situations and if he feels it’s important for other players like Necas when they get that same trust too: For me, I wanted to do that. I wanted to play in those situations and I try my best when I do get that opportunity to keep their trust. I’m sure Necas likes that a lot too. Anytime you can play more, you feel like you’re more into the game. You can ask him that, but he’d probably say the same thing. You just feel like you’re contributing to the team a lot more.
On his time in the AHL helping his development: It was huge for me. Coming from juniors and playing against men and just being a professional. Learning what to do every day and how to treat your body. I had a lot of fun in Charlotte. I learned a lot. We had a pretty solid team too. It was a great experience for me and I learned a lot of things from that year.
On the team’s ability to slide guys up and down the lineup: We try to stick to our identity and that’s just being relentless and working hard. Trying to take the game over with our skill as well, but there’s a lot of guys that can go anywhere in the lineup and contribute in any way. That’s what you need. You want to have a deep team to go far.
On there being another level for the team to reach and what it would be: I think we could be a little more consistent. There are some games where that’s how you’ve got to do it and games where we get away from it, but we end up scoring a bunch of goals. I think just being consistent going down the stretch here will be good going into the playoffs.