The Hurricanes will wrap up their season series with the Florida Panthers tonight with a chance to clinch a playoff spot. They’ll do so with Alex Nedeljkovic as the confirmed starter in net, but a lineup that will also be very much in flux with Jordan Martinook, Brady Skjei and Teuvo Teravainen confirmed out, and the possibility of other game-time decisions.
Rod Brind’Amour spoke with the media Saturday morning, here’s a full breakdown of everything he had to say:
On who will start in net and play at forward: We’ve got a questionable, I don’t know the lineup up front as of yet, there’s going to be some game-time decisions. But we’re going with [Alex Nedeljkovic] in the net.
On if his approach as a coach has changed this year: I’ve tried not to change, to be honest with you. That’s why we try to focus on worrying about a day at a time. Because everything is different. But there’s a lot of uncontrollable variables this year. So we worry about what we can control, and that’s really just what’s in front of us. So I guess you just have to be more adaptable, and ready for the changes that come every day.
On finding a balance between managing minutes before the playoffs and accomplishing what they need to: It’s a concern, that’s for sure, and a consideration. We’ve got to get in first, and there’s only one way to do it and that’s the right way. So it’s hard to sit there and go ‘Oh, we’re not going to play these guys.’ Then you just pick up bad habits, do different things, guys get out of rhythm. I think where you have an advantage is in a situation where a guy’s a little nicked up, maybe we don’t play him. I think that’s where we can afford to do. We’ve done it with the goalies, because we have three good ones. But I really think you’ve got to play it the right way. There’s a lot at stake every night. There’s home-ice advantage, we’ve got to get in still. There’s a lot of things that we’ve got to play for.
On if having players on the taxi squad on hand is easier than talking to the AHL coach, and if Joakim Ryan will play tonight: Yes, to answer that question. It’s weird, right. It’s good to have your guys here, the extras, because you never know when you’re going to need a bunch. I don’t know how it affects them, because they haven’t been playing. Normally, the callups are guys that are game tested and ready, so you just bring them in and no big deal. Obviously we’re in a different environment and can’t do that, so you’ve got guys that haven’t played all year suddenly getting thrown in, I don’t know how good that is for them. It’s, I guess, good and bad in both ways. But that goes to you’ve got to be adaptable, we know this is the way it is this year and we’ve got to make it work.
On if Teuvo Teravainen will play, and an update on Jordan Martinook: He’s out. Update wise, I don’t have anything to tell you. I guess he’s day to day is the way I would look at it. But certainly not tonight. So he’s out, and we’ve got a few other guys that we’re in the process of trying to figure out too. So it’ll be a little bit interesting to see what the lineup is tonight.
On the decision to play Joakim Ryan instead of Jake Bean: We needed to get [Ryan] in. You might see Bean tonight, too. There’s a lot of moving parts going on right now. But we needed to get him in and get him ready because of this exact situation we’re dealing with right now.
On Brady Skjei: He’s out. He’s in the concussion protocol, so he’s not playing.