They then took the ice Saturday morning as they prepared for their next game Sunday evening against the Florida Panthers.
Head coach Rod Brind’Amour as well Nino Niederreiter and Jaccob Slavin spoke with the media via Zoom following Saturday’s practice.
On if he feels the team is getting the respect they deserve around the league: I think you’re always proving yourself. Until we win another Stanley Cup and be consistently good, then you can worry really about where you fit on the respect chart. Otherwise, I really don’t care. I know that we get respect because I see how hard other teams play against us. That’s how you know. When other teams bring their best every night, that kind of tells you.
On Petr Mrazek’s status: He’s not ready to play, so it’s tough to have him in a practice and taking reps from the guys that are playing. Until he’s ready to play, for me, it doesn’t make much sense to have him out with us when we need the other guys ready to roll. When he gives us the green light, then you’ll see him more and more.
On the team’s offense: I think it just says that we have a lot of depth for scoring. We have a lot of different options now, where in the past if you shut down one or two of our top guys, then it made it hard to score. Now we have a few more options.
On the off-days being good for the coaching staff as well: Oh yes. It was like Groundhog Day. Just prepare, play. Prepare, play. And we were on the road forever. In the hotels, that’s where it was tough. Mentally, just guys being able to go home and be with their families and just have a normal routine for a couple of days is just what they need.
On Jake Gardiner’s status: Today he felt good and kind of gave us the thumbs up that he was 100%. He’s an option for us tomorrow. Probably will game-time that one. This was really the first day that he said he kind of felt 100%.
On how he feels on the Central division play: We’re starting to know what to expect each and every game. Obviously, the closer the season gets to the halfway point, the games get tighter. There’s not a lot of room out there and it’s tough to play that way.
On if he misses playing other teams: Yes, a little bit. Sometimes you would like to have a little change and play some other teams, but at the same time you know what’s at stake. It’s basically a must-win every single night. You play for almost like four-points every night if you win. They’re right up your butt basically. You got to win.
On the extra day between games: It actually feels great. We were just talking in the locker room about it. It’s amazing how it feels when you’re just right at it the whole time and then you get two days in between. It just feels like forever which is just great to get a little recovery going and go right back at it tomorrow.
On if he woke up feeling like there might have been a game today: Absolutely. You’re in such a rhythm, like even today, I wasn’t sure what day exactly it was because you just feel like it’s every other day you’re playing. Now, you just have two days between a game. It felt great, but I think everybody’s excited to keep it going tomorrow.
On the team’s balanced offense: I think it says a lot for the team. Everyone’s pulling the same rope and everybody wants to be successful. Some have better starts and some have not as good starts, but at the end of the day we are such a deep team and everybody helps each other out. We definitely need everybody to win.
On if he likes playing the same teams over and over: It’s fun honestly. The teams in the division, we play them all really well, so it’s good for our game. The matchups we have are very solid. We’re playing Florida tomorrow and just the style they have, it makes for a fast-paced game with a lot of up and down. It’s definitely not boring hockey which is fun.
On if the team gets the respect it deserves around the league: I think we’re getting some respect, but we never want to get to the point mentally for ourselves where we feel like we should be respected. We want to always make sure that we’re playing the way that we know how to play and making teams respect us and just going out there every game and not necessarily worrying what other people think.
On Dougie Hamilton’s scoring struggles: I think he’s been handling it fine. It’s part of the game. You go through ups and you go through downs. He’s been in the league a long time. He’s had his chances and they’re going to start going in soon enough. He’s just going to continue to stick with it and they’re going to go in eventually. We know the type of player he is and the ability he has to put the puck into the net. Soon enough, they’re going to go in.
On the two days between games: It’s huge. My body feels so good today, so that’s a treat. But it is huge mentally. With the season and the amount of games we play and just days on end here. It just keeps on going. It’s like that for the rest of the season, so we take those days when we can and definitely enjoy them away from the rink with family. Just getting your mind off the game for a little bit.
On if he woke up feeling like there might have been a game today: Exactly. I had to check our team app to make sure everything was right and that I was headed to the right place. It is crazy that it seems like every other day that we’re playing a game, but you grind through it. Every other team is in the same boat that we are. Just got to prepare every day.