The wait is finally over as the Carolina Hurricanes inked head coach Rod Brind’Amour to a three year contract extension Thursday morning.
In their end-of-the-year exit interview, general manager Don Waddell announced that Brind’Amour had been re-signed and he along with the freshly extended head coach answered questions from the media via Zoom.
Here’s what Brind’Amour had to say:
On if he had any worries if the contract would get done: Not really. I mean Don and I talk throughout the year. I thought we were on the same page so it was just a matter of time really. He knew I wanted to be a part of this and I knew he wanted me to be a part of it too. We figured it out.
On if the holdup was about the staff getting new contracts too: We have a special group down here and for me to do this job to the best of my ability, it’s important to have the right people around me and I know what’s down here. I know we have great training staff, equipment staff people, the coaches. That’s why I think part of it took so long because there were a lot of people we had to figure out. We’re at the point where we’ve pretty much done that and again it was important to me to have great people around. That’s why we have success down here is because of all the people that are working in everything. From [Doug Bennett] to [Bill Burniston], you go down the list, they’re all part of what we’re doing here. So to be honest with you, that’s probably what took so long.
On what he learned this year that the team needs to make the final run: We learned a lot. If you’re not learning from your failures, if you want to call them that, you’re in big trouble. I think what we learned was to beat the best team, you can’t beat yourself, number one, which I thought we did at times, in the Tampa series especially. That’s basically what I’m referring to. And the margins are so tight. They don’t beat themselves. The teams that win the Stanley Cup are not making mistakes. They’re comfortable when the game’s uncomfortable and are just able to stick with what you’re doing. I thought we got away from that a little bit. We’re still a bit of a young group in some ways. We’ve got a great leader in Jordan Staal. He’s not a young guy, but our other guys are still kind of learning that and from this year especially, I think we’ve learned a lesson.
On if there was any temptation to check out how green the grass was in other markets: Well, there’s always temptation to listen to the outside noise a little bit. I guess that’s kind of the way to word it. But I said it when I sat down here with Don three years ago. It’s important to me to… I would have a hard time thinking I could do the same job I’m doing here, somewhere else. Because this is a part of me. This place, I’ve been here forever. Again, it’s more about the people that I get to come and work with every day. That wouldn’t be the case somewhere else. It just wouldn’t be. It’s special to me. When I had my end of the year meeting with players, it might be something I didn’t mention here earlier, but that really solidified what this is all about and why I want to be here. We have a special group of players here. That’s something I didn’t want to leave. It just didn’t really ever enter my mind that I would leave because of what we have going on here. I want to see it through. We still have another level to get to and that’s the mission.
On if he sees a role long-term within the organization after he’s done coaching: I don’t know how long I’m gonna really want to coach for. It is a grind, but when you have the players that I have here, they make you want to come back. Do I want to eventually get out of it and get on the other side of it and sit with Don and not have to grind it out every day and get to do what he’s doing and help him? Maybe, but right now the focus is that I’m back in the seat here and we’ve got to get better.
On how they approach picking up new players: One of the other reasons I feel like I’m blessed, is that I do have a relationship with Don and Tom. Like when we talk about players, they listen. Like, ‘What kind of player do you want?’ So to your point, yeah if he scores 30 but doesn’t fit our group, that’s not a guy we are really going to even entertain. And I think that’s one of the things that I love about what I’m doing. That’s the relationship we have and the communication that goes on with us. We’re trying to build a culture here. We want 20 guys here that get it and fit. If that guy doesn’t fit, we don’t want him. I think we’re getting to that point where we’re getting close and that’s pretty special.
On if was worried what would happen if coaching didn’t work out for him or the team: Yeah, that was a big concern. The first preseason game, when we had our system implemented, I remember sitting here with our video coach and we had planned this out and I’m like, ‘Yeah, I don’t know if this is going to work. What happens if it doesn’t?’ Well, we’d have found out, but obviously it did. That was a big concern. We’re past that now and it’s good to know, ‘Okay, that works,’ but that was part of the risk. Everyone took a risk. Don and Tom taking me and putting me in this seat. That was a risk on their part. And obviously on my part, because I didn’t want it to end that way.
On if he gets the same highs coaching as he did playing: Coaching is the next closest thing to playing. It doesn’t compare. You’re not out there taking the bumps and bruises, that’s for sure. You’re not in the weight room as much banging around. You’re putting in the grunt work and all that, but you’re invested, but as a coach, you put the plan in and watch your guys go after it, but you’re invested with them. I think that’s what you can’t get anywhere else doing anything else. I think I’ll always have that fire to do that, because like you said, there’s nothing better than that. We’ll see how long that lasts.
On if he’s happy with his deal: Obviously, yes. I wouldn’t sign it if I wasn’t. I want to make a really good point here. The finances and money, that’s part of it, but I feel like I’m the richest coach in the league. I have a relationship with my owner and my GM that I don’t know if a lot of coaches get to have, to have the influence on who they’re picking up. And then I don’t know how many coaches can do their job where they live and where they’re from, and had a footprint in everything that’s gone on here over the last 20 years. I don’t know what kind of value you want to put on that. I feel pretty fortunate that I get to do that. It’s a special day for me because I know I’m going to be here for a few years at least. I kind of get his place right at the top of the food chain. The commitment that we have from [Tom Dundon], a lot gets said, but I know he wants to win. And that’s the kind of guy you want to work for.