The Hurricanes are now one day away from opening their first round Stanley Cup Playoff series against the Nashville Predators, and it looks like they’ll be at full health to do it.
Rod Brind’Amour, Brock McGinn and Teuvo Teravainen spoke to the media following Sunday’s practice, here’s a full breakdown of everything they had to say:
On what will keep him up the night before the playoffs: I think we have a couple guys that are questionable, I think that’s what’s kind of keeping me a little antsy. Obviously we’d like to be for sure 100% going into this, but we won’t know, so I’ll save the questions now, I won’t know until game time on a couple guys. So we’ll see.
On what he saw from Jaccob Slavin today: At least he got out there, so that was good. And then hopefully tomorrow, obviously he’s one of those guys that we’re talking about.
On getting the families together yesterday and if that’s something he learned from Peter Laviolette: I think yeah, definitely, that was one of Peter’s things. More than anything, it was the first time we really allowed families to be around. It just felt like all the other times, and maybe that’s just how it was done, it was just definitely a separation between management and players or whatever. Peter kind of broke those down, and I felt like we’re all in this together, everybody, not just the players. I just felt like that’s how it works, obviously, for us, and you try to do that moving forward. This year sucked for that, you couldn’t do it. So that was hard. It’s hard not having that connection with the group, so to speak. But everyone had to deal with it, so there’s no advantage or disadvantage. But any way you can foster that, we try to do it.
On if this team is built to handle the physical challenge: I think we’ve shown that all year. I have no doubt in that. I’m not worried about it. Of course teams in the first round, especially, is the most physical round. Everybody’s finishing checks hard and energy’s high. Then it starts to kind of dwindle a little. The second round’s still pretty physical and hard, but it actually gets a little bit less as it moves along, just because guys start getting wore out. I think we’ve shown all year, whatever the game is, whatever type of game is played, we have the capability of kind of adapting to it.
On if he can remember the last time he had his full group on the ice for practice: No, probably. Maybe day one. And that’s most teams. I mean, throughout the year, I think that was just how the year went with so many games in a tight space. You just don’t have the healthy group. Obviously now with having a week off, you would have hoped we would have been able to make it happen and hopefully we will.
On having guys like Slavin and Pesce who can go out and play a lot of minutes if games go to overtime: That’s true for every team. That’s part of it. There’s teams that play their guys more than we do. So I’m not overly concerned about that stuff, because our guys can handle it. Our top guys can handle more minutes than we give them. Playoff time, generally, you do get more minutes, because every shift is that much more important. It’s a concern, but it’s no different for any team, I don’t think.
On the team going into its third straight playoffs: I think every time you go into the playoffs, you want to go out there and do your best. So I think there’s going to be those jitters. I think PNC should be rocking. So I think over the past years going into the playoffs, I think we’ve had that mindset where we have to go out and play our style, our game. I think losing out in the last two years, I think that just makes this team have that much more of a drive to go out there and try and finish what we come in every year to do.
On what it’s been like sitting out and watching: It’s not fun watching, you want to be out there helping the guys, but they did a great job at sealing first in our division, which gets us home ice. So I think we just have to continue on with the same mindset that we had at the start of the year. We wanted to make the playoffs and we’ve done that. And now we want to win a championship. So I think if we want to do that, we have to come and play our game.
On Rod Brind’Amour saying he’s the toughest guy since he’s been playing: I don’t know, I think I just try and go out there and play. I think I’m the type of guy, I try and play through whatever, I can, but unfortunately this time I couldn’t do it. But it was good watching the guys go out there and battle every night. I think they did a good job at sticking to our systems, going out there and putting in the work.
On seeing everyone at the morning skate: It’s nice seeing everybody on the ice. I think we’ve kind of had that next-man-up mentality this whole season, so to have everybody back out there, I think it’s great to see and I think everybody’s got smiles on their faces and they’re ready to go.
On if there’s a different mentality going into the playoffs as the favorite: I don’t really know. We just try to focus on ourselves more. It’s not really about the other team. We’ve got to play right, we’ve got to do our job good to go forward. It’s not going to be easy, we know that. So we’ve got to put everything out there to move on.
On if one factor is most important in the playoffs: There’s not much room. Everything moves pretty quickly. It’s going to end up being small mistakes and small bounces or something like that to get those wins. So it’s going to be a lot of one-goal games, and we’ve got to be comfortable with those situations.
On having everyone out there for practice: I don’t know, it’s been a tough year I guess. But we’re pretty excited now to move forward, and whoever’s out there will be ready.
On getting games under his belt: That was good for me to get some games. I felt fine even in the first couple, but now I’m more confident, I think. It’s just more about timing and the conditioning, that kind of stuff, game shape. I feel fine now, and I’m ready for the battle, so that’s good.