The Hurricanes are currently in the midst of a five-game winning streak and looking to keep it rolling. One of their top performers lately, Martin Necas, who posted seven points (two goals, five assists) in four games last week was recently rewarded for his efforts by being named the NHL’s third star of the week.
Necas, Haydn Fleury and Rod Brind’Amour spoke to the media after practice Monday, here’s a full breakdown of everything they had to say:
On defensemen sitting out: It’s not easy sitting out anybody, especially guys that there’s no reason to take them out, necessarily. It’s just that we’ve got to keep guys fresh and keep everyone on their toes, so to speak. So it’s good that when we’re healthy, which on the back end we’ve been healthier, up front’s kind of the same situation. When we’re all healthy, there’s always someone that could play, that’s just not. It’s just part of it.
If he remembers a time when this many good players had to sit: I think it started last year, was really the first time, when we were healthy. There was always a guy that didn’t deserve to be out. That’s a good sign that we have some good depth, and a lot of options, which is nice.
On Martin Necas: I think this was the plan all along with him when we drafted him. This was kind of the player you thought he was going to become. You used a good word, emerging. I think he’s still just getting to it. There’s still parts of his game we’d like to see him shore up, but that other part where you can’t teach, that speed and skill, that’s coming to the forefront more and more, and obviously that’s been making him special.
On having fun: That’s a good question. I’ve struggled with that this year, because there’s nothing you can really do to enjoy it. You can’t get together, which that’s what most of the guys enjoy and have fun is doing things together. That’s not an option. I guess the best thing is to keep winning. That’s how you have fun. Enjoy the hard work you put in, because you see it paying off. Right now, the focus this year has totally been on your job. When we get here, we try to keep it light and serious, but it’s light and just enjoy when we can be together on the ice, but it’s been a challenge.
On injured players: I don’t have anything to report today. [Jake Gardiner] didn’t practice, we’ll know more tomorrow with him, and same thing with [Teuvo Teravainen]. I don’t have any updates on any of those guys, really.
On being named third star of the week: It’s nice to see that, but I don’t really think about that. It’s just one week. I’ve got to be good week to week. I’ve got to keep playing like that next week as well, so for sure, it’s nice to see that and nice to hear that. But it doesn’t mean anything. It’s just for one week, so I’ve got to keep going.
On having fun: We’re having fun. That’s a big part of being successful, I think. I think when you have a game, you have to be dialed in, but I think you have to have fun in the locker room as well. Just relax if you have some days off, maybe don’t think about hockey that much as well. I feel like we have a good group of guys and we’re having fun.
On his progression: It was hard, especially that one year when I was in the AHL. I was not upset, but maybe it pissed me off that I was in the AHL. But it happens. You’ve just got to keep getting better every day. That’s what I was doing in the AHL. Last year was my first year in the NHL, and this year it’s better.
On playing in the minors: I always wanted to play in the NHL. I did one year in the AHL, I was, like I said, not upset, but it’s not the best league, so I just tried to get here.
On his competition with Alex Nedeljkovic after practice: Ned doesn’t need anything. He runs his mouth enough. I think he’s good. I don’t think he needs any more praise and stuff from both of us.
On giving Nedeljkovic extra work: I was about to get off the ice today and he said, ‘Oh, we’re not playing today.’ We liked playing, so it’s good competition to do every day after practice.
On sitting out: It’s tough. You never want to sit out anytime. We’ve got a good back end. Our team’s really deep on the back end and we’re winning a lot of games. You’ve just got to play your best when you’re out there and take care of your work when you don’t play and just be ready the next time you get it.
On playing the same teams: It’s different. Maybe in a normal season you’d do it maybe once or twice a year where you’d have a home and home against a team. But I think you can see a little more bad blood fueling the games. Things from the night before, they don’t get left two weeks. Sometimes you play the team again the next night and that bad blood’s still there.
On the Canes having guys that won the Calder Cup in the NHL: In order to learn how to win, I think you have to learn to win and you have to win. I think that’s the biggest thing. Winning a championship, you learn things that you did throughout that run to help the team win or to help be successful as an individual or as a team. The more times you can win as a young guy, I think it just helps you build those experiences for later on in your career.
On how much he misses playing the Canadian teams: I really miss playing those teams. Those are hometown games for me. You get a lot of family, a lot of friends at the games. So I definitely miss playing those teams, definitely miss playing other teams, playing in other cool rinks. It’s a lot different, but the Canadian teams, I definitely miss for sure.
On if it’s getting boring: No. I think we do a lot of stuff on the road as a team. We’ve got things we can do. So it’s definitely not boring, and we’re trying to have fun with the guys away from the rink as best we can.
On who’s having the hardest time with being on the road: I’d say [Jordan Martinook]. I tink he’s a big foodie, and sometimes Uber Eats doesn’t have the restaurants he wants. So he’s got his pre-scouted menu before we got to every city, but sometimes it doesn’t line up for him.