The Carolina Hurricanes will battle the Florida Panthers for first place in the Central Division Thursday night.
Before the big tilt, the Hurricanes held a morning skate Thursday. Rod Brind’Amour, Dougie Hamilton and Warren Foegele spoke with the media following the skate, here’s a full breakdown of everything they had to say:
On what goes into a starting goalie decision: It’s a conversation and obviously we’ve got to have everybody going. How do you keep them sharp? I don’t know if rotating three keeps them all sharp. You’ve got to make sure we’re doing the right things to win the games and keep sharp. So does that mean we have to double up one guy? That’s the conversation. How do we keep them sharp, who needs to start? We’ve got three guys that we obviously have faith in, and we’re going at it day by day to be honest with you.
On if skill players getting enough touches is a concern: Not really. I think the worry on this schedule is just the work loads. We demand a lot of effort in the games. We expect that and I think our guys have given us that effort to a man. That’s why you can’t practice. You’ve got to get them their rest so that we expect that every night. As far as the skill guys getting their touches, I think it’s a valid point overall on the practice. Some guys don’t play as much. So now they need the extra work. I’m not as worried about the skill guys, because they’re getting the ice time.
On the trade deadline: We’re always thinking we can be better, but really I’m extremely happy with our group. So I think it would really have to be something special to tweak this lineup to make it better. They’re obviously looking. [Don Waddell]’s talking all the time, what do we need, this and that or whatever, but I don’t know how much is actually going to get done or needs to.
On what makes Jordan Staal a great leader: I could get a long list of this one. He shows up to the rink every day with the perfect example of how to be a professional. He’s always got a good attitude. He’s friendly to everyone. And then on the ice, he’s just a worker. You can see how tenacious he was on even that empty-net goal, just out-muscling two guys there. He’s a special player. He brings so much to our team. He’s a huge leader on and off the ice. He’s someone I definitely look up to, and it’s definitely a privilege just to be around him.
On Jordan Staal’s growth as a leader: I think he’s just confident in the room. I think he’s a little bit more vocal. But I think it all starts from on the ice. Just the way he holds himself to a standard. When you see someone work that hard and doing everything the right way, you just follow your leader. He just does so much for our group, and you just try to follow in his footsteps to try to match that.
On getting advice from Jordan Staal: From the first day I got here, I was sitting beside him in our locker stalls. From day one, he’s been so open to communicate and give advice or to say ‘Stay with it.’ I know my rookie year, I went through some struggles and he was there for me. I think that just continues on with him being such a great leader. He’s so easy to talk to. Sometimes when you see veteran players, you maybe get a little bit shy at first. He’s friendly to everyone and he’s someone to lead your team with.
On the challenges of this season: Probably the toughest right now is that we’re playing almost every other day. So it’s about being mentally sharp for each game. Especially with this last month of the season left, every point is crucial, so I think it’s preparing for every game and we need these points.
On getting multiple power plays: It helps, for sure. I think it’s like anything, when you do something one time, it’s a little harder than when you do it a bunch of times. I think everyone will say that. We’re trying hard on the one power play. You never know if we could get more. But you start to get a little bit better feel, especially against the same team, you start seeing stuff. You can kind of see what they’re doing. That helps as it goes on. I guess it works the other way too, but try to learn from the first one and get better for the second and third, and hope you have a lot of them.
On if he keeps up around the league: Not too much. I think I follow it a little bit but I’m not really too into it right now. I’m just focused on one game at a time, recovery day and the next game. That’s pretty much it. But you definitely see highlights and stuff like that around the league.
On the Florida Panthers and their speed: I think they’ve always been a dynamic team with offensive talent, but they play a really good system. Very fast. The system’s fast, the players are fast. They blow their zone and use their speed. You definitely have to be aware of that. So they try to make it tough on us. We’ve got to try to stop that and make it tough on them.