The Hurricanes will look to keep getting closer to locking up the division in their final home game against Chicago Thursday night, as they can lower their magic number to one with a win.
Rod Brind’Amour on Nino Niederreiter spoke to the media following the team’s morning skate, here’s a full breakdown of everything they had to say:
On possibly winning the Jack Adams Award: Not to sound disrespectful or anything, but it’s just not that significant to me, certainly not at this point. If it came to that, it would be great, because it highlights what we have around here, which is great staff, great people, great players. Coach gets the glory but it’s because of all the group that’s around. So if it happened, that’s what it would be good for.
On if he was a better player or he’s a better coach: Player, easy. I’ve got good players, I’ve got good staff that makes coaching a lot easier. But I would have to say player.
On the situation in the Rangers-Capitals game, if the league needs to prevent things like that from happening and if there need to be changes: I don’t know, without getting in trouble, what I say. I’d love to be able to have this conversation with you, but what am I going to get out of it but probably in trouble? So I think there needs to be something to deter, which I think we were heading that direction, but the players took it into their own hands. I give the players credit, I’ll be honest with you. That’s the way I’ll leave it.
On if he wants the playoffs to start as quickly as possible: I think it’d be nice to have a couple days, but let’s get rolling here. Why are we delaying stuff? It always bothered me anyway when a round would finish and they would wait for the other ones. Let’s get going here. There’s a chance that the other round might get over quickly and we can move this along. I think, to be honest with you, the longer it goes, it gets really exciting for the teams that are in it, but everyone else kind of loses interest because it just goes on so long. That’s just kind of been my thought. I always say let’s try to keep it going.
On having Jordan Martinook back on the ice and possibly getting him or Brock McGinn back: That’s a big part of our group, the two guys you mentioned. [Cedric Paquette] too, I’d like to have all those guys in the lineup. Unfortunately, it is what it is right now and they’re not able to play. I think Martinook, we’d love to see him get in here maybe the next game or certainly the last one, because they are a big part of our group. They’re nursing some things, and hopefully we’ll get them in.
On possibly facing Nashville to end the regular season and then in the playoffs: I haven’t really given it a ton of thought, to be honest with you. We’re always focused so much on what’s right in front of us. That’ll be interesting. I haven’t really thought about how we would approach it any differently. I don’t think so. I think you’ve got to play it one way is what I’ve always said. Maybe if we know going into those games that we are playing them, do you show everything, do we show nothing? There is probably some gamesmanship if we get to that point, but if it isn’t, we’ll just be trying to win the game, and that’s really all we can focus on.
On the Canes staying focused down the stretch: We know what kind of position we’re in, and we all know what we could potentially achieve. I think that’s something special, and at the end of the day we’ve got to make sure we keep our foot on the gas and keep it going all the way.
On Jordan Martinook: You can tell right away if he’s around or not. Today, having him for the pregame skate felt good for the guys. He was very vocal like he always is, and it’s good to have him back.
On the difference with taking a break from practice: I think it just gets us off a little bit mentally. I think that’s honestly the hardest part right now. You play every other day and you’ve got to focus and think about the next opponent right away. I think not having to lace up your skates for one day and just focus on the next day, I think that’s huge mentally.
On if there’s a bittersweet feeling of it being the last regular-season home game: I think everybody’s excited that the playoffs are about to start. I think it’s what we play for, and there’s a lot of games every other day. I think everyone’s just excited to get it going, hopefully put ourselves in the best position possible.
On scoreboard watching: It’s always exciting watching around the league and seeing what’s going on. Even yesterday, you look at the scoreboards and see how Nashville or Dallas are doing. You definitely follow it, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to focus on yourself and we know what we want to achieve and put ourselves in the best position possible. At the end of the day, whoever we’re going to play, it’s going to be a tough round anyways.
On Rod Brind’Amour and if he should be up for the Jack Adams: Yeah, absolutely. He’s definitely a terrific coach. I think we’re very fortunate to have him and the whole coaching staff that prepares us very well for each and every game. There’s no doubt he should be in the consideration for what he has done since he’s been here and obviously being the head coach here. I think he should be up for it, for sure.
On the key to his bounce-back season: I think the mental reset is probably the good thing to say. Last year, the bounces didn’t go in the way I was hoping for. It was definitely a huge thing. Sometimes pucks go in, sometimes they don’t. When they don’t go in, you get frustrated, you think you want to change everything you can. Obviously a mental reset was very good for me this past offseason, and I’m glad to get the scoring back in.