While the Canes didn’t get the result they wanted in the form of two points in the bank Monday night, the team did pick up a pretty big accomplishment in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Dallas Stars. The Canes picked up their 69th point of the season, which sends them to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the third consecutive season, a first in the Carolina chapter of franchise history.
Brind’Amour becomes the first head coach in team history to take the team to three straight playoff berths after captaining it to its lone Stanley Cup as a player in 2006.
Brind’Amour, Max McCormick and Jani Hakanpaa spoke to the media after the overtime loss, here’s a full breakdown of everything they had to say:
On not getting a lot from top-nine forwards but getting depth scoring: You want contributions everywhere. I would disagree a little bit that our top guys aren’t performing. I think maybe the puck’s not going in, but they’re playing their butts off, plain and simple. We got behind and weren’t playing poorly. We got behind and fought back. It’s like this all year with these guys. I give them tons of credit. It’s a great point tonight. That’s how I look at it.
On the Hurricanes clinching a playoff spot for the third consecutive year: I think that’s super important. What do we have, eight games left and we’re in the playoffs? Let’s go. Enough of the negative stuff. This group has worked their ass off all year. I know we lost the game in overtime, we lost the talent show part. You don’t want to lose that, but we dug in and got us a point, got us in. We’re not done. We’ve got eight games left, we’re going to try to win all of them. But it’s a good accomplishment for this group.
On the achievement of this franchise going three straight years making the playoffs: We’ve had some good years, but then it’s been kind of one and done. We don’t want to be that. I think it’s important to be consistent and be relevant year in and year out. That’s what we’re trying to be, and I think we’re getting there, clearly. That says a lot about the organization and the players that we have. We’ve got a great group of people, that we’re not satisfied. That’s great, we’re getting better, but we’ve got one goal in mind. We’re all on that same page.
On the spirit of this group: They’re never satisfied and they never give up. I feel like we’re on a mission here. The guys were all upset for losing the game, which they should be. We’ve got bigger and better stuff that we’re trying to accomplish. I’m just really proud of this group, all the way around.
On Morgan Geekie bouncing back: That’s a good observation, for sure. It’s tough to blame somebody for a goal, but he was responsible partially for that. I think it was just good that he was able to contribute tonight and for him too to feel good about it. He earned his ice time tonight. We bumped him up and he obviously came through for us.
On being a strange season and getting a lot of relief from his goal: It’s been a while since I’ve played a handful of games in a row and over a year since I’ve scored a goal. We’ve been skating a lot as a group and staying in shape, just trying to be ready for when your opportunity comes. That one felt pretty good.
On scoring against the team that injured him: It feels good being able to score against them. That was a while ago and I’m not thinking about that too much though. Just treating it as another game and trying to be as ready as I can.
On the difficulty of being on the taxi squad most of the season: Yeah I mean you obviously want to be playing. Sometimes it is tough not being in many games, but we have a great group of guys and they make you feel like a part of the team whether you’re playing or not. It’s been awesome being around this group and it’s been a lot of fun being with them. That’s been the fun part about it. Being able to be out there with them and play in a game was a lot of fun.
On coming in and being the guy to send the Hurricanes to the playoffs: It’s a nice feeling to be honest. Wasn’t really thinking about it before the game to be honest, but it’s always fun to get one into the back of the net. Especially now that it sends us to the playoffs.
On the mood in the locker room with clinching a playoff spot but still losing: I would say it was a little mixed. The guys were happy about the clinch, but at the same time you always want to win. I could tell the boys probably wanted to get those two points. But it’s really nice to get that playoff spot. It’s a bit of mixed feelings but once we get back to the hotel, the moods going to get better with the guys when it soaks in that we got a spot.
On how much he’s looking forward to playing in Stanley Cup playoff games: It’s why we play and the most fun part to get out there so I’m really looking forward to getting out there. Looking forward to that. It’s always special when you get a chance to play in the playoffs and you can never take it for granted. It’s going to be an exciting time and I’m really looking forward to it.
On being pegged a defensive defenseman despite having had offensive success when he played in Finland: Yeah, that’s how it was back then. I ended up getting some goals there. Had some good teammates to play with. It’s obviously nice when you can contribute on the offensive side of things as well. Always a plus for me and it’s fun.