Canes Set Stage for 2019-20 Season
Media Day provides training camp prologueby Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com
Just as the Labor Day weekend signals the unofficial end of summer, so too does Media Day mark the unofficial beginning of a new hockey season.
Following an abbreviated summer, a collection of Carolina Hurricanes players -- some familiar faces and some new -- stepped in front of cameras, microphones and recorders on Wednesday to set the stage for the 2019-20 season.
It's not October just yet, but the beginning of training camp is a short week away.
Below are some highlights and noteworthy quotes from head coach Rod Brind'Amour and each player who was made available at PNC Arena.
Head Coach Rod Brind'Amour
On Justin Williams' decision to step away from the NHL: "We chatted all summer. This wasn't a surprise. Justin came to his decision. It wasn't that day. I knew a long time before that, but I was kind of hoping he would lean a different direction. He's in a real good place. That's the important thing."
On a possible return for Williams: "He's done so much in his career. It's not like he has anything left to prove. He's got to come back for the right reason. He's got to love and want to do it for himself."
On the leadership group without Williams: "You're not going to replace a Justin Williams, but somebody else will emerge and lead by there style. Willy helped create this culture, and I think we're in a good place."
On Petr Mrazek: "Everybody has to prove themselves every day. ... [Mrazek] had a good year, and we pushed to get him signed and get him back in here. I think he fits perfectly with what we're trying to do."
On Sebastian Aho and the offer sheet saga: "We knew he was going to be a part of our group. It was just a matter of how much we were going to have to pay him. ... The business side of stuff is what it is, but we knew he was going to be a part of our group."
Video: Rod Brind'Amour: "We're moving forward"
On coming to Raleigh: "I'm actually way too excited. I keep talking about it with everyone. It's a hidden gem. You don't hear too much about it. ... I'm excited to be here. I'm going to buy a house and make this my home for hopefully a long time."
On the Canes' lineup: "There are lot of good forwards, and on paper we look really, really deep. Everyone is going to have to contribute. With the style of play we play and the fast offense, everyone is going to have their shot to produce."
Video: Ryan Dzingel: "Trying to stay here for a long time"
On expectations: "We're just trying to build off what we did last year. That playoff run was a lot of fun. ... A lot of us are excited to get things going right now."
On Justin Williams: "I don't really think anyone can replace what Justin brought to this team. He was huge in the dressing room and on the ice, as well. The impact he brings, there aren't really words to describe it. At least the door is not completely shut. We can be optimistic about that."
On building on last season: "Not many people believed in what we did last year. We created some noise and became relevant. This group is hungry still. Once you get so far, you want more. You want more of that cake. We're looking forward to it."
Video: Warren Foegele: Bring that confidence to the new year
On Justin Williams: "For us, it's a huge loss. I think that's the biggest thing. Obviously, we would love to have him. He's such a good player, person and leader. I respect whatever he wants to do."
On expectations: "It's always hard to put too big expectations on yourself and the team. ... For us, we kind of learned last year to go day-by-day and worry about one game at a time. ... We can't really think about playoffs right now. Just worry about what's ahead of us."
Video: Dougie Hamilton: "Everyone be accountable"
On having a short summer: "We went far, but you're still chomping at the bit to get back here. I think that just shows how much we like each other as a team. We spent all that time together, went that far -- and that brings everybody closer together -- and then you have the short summer and get back here. We picked up where we left off. Everybody is joking around."
On why the Canes are built to be a perennial playoff team: "You look at the core group of this team, even the whole team. We've got two guys over 30. When you add [Erik] Haula, who is a rocket ship, and Dzingel, who skates like the wind, that's kind of what our team was based on last year."
On Justin Williams: "If he came back, we would have been waiting with open arms. As it went further along, we were thinking it might not happen. ... Once the news broke, I reached out to him and said, 'I respect your decision and respect everything you've done. You're a hell of a player.' I learned a ton from him last year."
Video: Jordan Martinook: "I missed the guys"
On signing a new contract in the summer: "It was definitely a little bit stressful during the summer, but my goal was always to be here. I really love it here. It's a great community and a great place to play. Seeing how this team really jumped last year, it's pretty exciting coming into this year."
On the legacy of his Game 7 double overtime winner: "It was a cool moment for myself and my family. You dream about that growing up. Me and my brothers played in the backyard ... and for it to actually happen in Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is something pretty special."
On expectations: "Last year, we really raised eyebrows. Coming into this year, the expectations are really high. We don't want to take a step back. We want to keep pushing forward and try to win the Cup."
Video: Brock McGinn: "We have a confident group"
On Justin Williams: "He's going to be missed. He's been a great teammate for us. I know we're going to miss him, but he knows what's best for him. ... I wish him good luck."
Video: Petr Mrazek: "I'm excited to see the guys"
On his goals heading into the season: "I want to make the team. It's up to me how I'm going to play and how I'm going to work. I want to spend the whole season here."
Video: Martin Necas: "I want to spend the whole season here"
On his role with the team: "I've got a lot of confidence in what I can accomplish. I had a good summer. I'm just looking forward to coming in here, playing well and helping this team win."
On his first impressions of Raleigh: "It's awesome. People are so friendly. I think every one of our neighbors has come by to say hi and introduce themselves. The people have been awesome, and the area seems real nice."
Video: James Reimer: "Take that next step"
On expectations: "Teams are going to look at you a little differently, maybe respect you a little more and know they have to give their best. That just means we have to keep raising the bar and keep pushing each other to raise our own expectations."
On Justin Williams: "He's had an amazing career, and what he's done for this team has been more than enough. He's a great friend. Whatever he decides and what he's decided so far has been the right decision for him and his family."
On a new season: "We might have had a great year last year, but it's still last year. We're going to have to prove ourselves all over again. That starts with day one of training camp."
Video: Staal: "Going to try to create that atmosphere"
On building on last season: "We want to be better this season. We have to take one more step ... and win the Final. That's our goal."
Video: Andrei Svechnikov: "I think I'm ready"
On chemistry from last season: "We had a lot of fun last year on and off the ice. We like to be with each other."