– Trevor Carrick
and his roommate, “new guy” Andrew Miller, were asleep in Rockford, Illinois, when Carrick’s phone rang and awoke them both. It was the Checkers’ head coach Mark Morris.
“’Hey, you might get a call from Mike Vellucci in an hour. Ron Hainsey is sick, so be prepared for that,’” Carrick recalled him saying.
He fell back asleep, and Vellucci rang about a half hour later with the news of Carrick’s first NHL call-up.
After that, it was all a blur. There was a flight to Washington, D.C., a cab ride to Verizon Center and a power-walk to the dressing room with a bag of equipment and sticks in tow as the clock read 6:25 p.m.
Minutes later, he would join his teammates on the ice for warm-ups and make his NHL debut shortly after, becoming the sixth Hurricanes player and fourth defenseman to do so this season.
“It definitely wasn’t the way I pictured everything working out for my NHL debut,” Carrick said after practice in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. “It was a bit of a different one, but it worked out nice.”
Easing what was somewhat of a frantic transition was the fact that Carrick skated alongside a familiar defensive partner in Michal Jordan.
“Last year we played quite a bit together in Charlotte. Even when he was down for a few games this year, I played with him, so I’m real familiar with him and the way he plays. It’s nice to have a guy like that to play with,” Carrick said. “It’s even a little less intimidating, I guess, knowing the guy and being a good friend of his. It worked out nicely.”
Carrick logged 16:34 of ice time, all at even-strength, and posted a shot, two additional shot attempts and a blocked shot.
“I was obviously pretty nervous coming in, and it took me a few shifts to kind of find my confidence and play the way I know I can,” he said. “As the game went on, I felt a little better, and it was nice to get the first game out of the way.”
“He played real well. He was excellent,” head coach Bill Peters said of Carrick’s debut. “He’s got a lot of hockey player in him. He might not be the smoothest guy but he’s going to get better as he goes as far as his skating and puck-handling.”
A few hours before puck drop in Washington, Canadian comedian and former Last Comic Standing contestant Gerry Dee gave a shout out to Carrick on Twitter.
Outside of them both being proud Canadians, Carrick explained the connection saying his family and Dee’s family are close.
“We go to a few of his shows and he gives us a few shout outs at his shows,” Carrick said. “He’s a pretty funny guy. That was a nice gesture of him to give me a shout out like that.
Carrick’s second professional season has been a noteworthy one for the 21-year-old defenseman. In his first experience representing his home country internationally, he was the youngest player on Team Canada’s Spengler Cup squad that captured the championship in the annual invitational tournament.
Shortly after returning stateside to join the Checkers, he was named an AHL All-Star. In 58 games with the Checkers this season, he has totaled 37 points (9g, 28a) and is the team’s leading defensive scorer.
“It’s been a crazy year. Definitely wasn’t expecting a year like this. It’s been a great year with a lot of great experiences,” he said. “Hopefully I can keep things going here and finish the year off hard.”
Ron Hainsey, whose illness precipitated Carrick’s call-up on Tuesday, returned to practice with the Hurricanes in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Carrick, at least for now it seems, remains with the Hurricanes, maybe now with some time to catch his breath and relive what was a whirlwind 24 hours.
“I hope to see him again this year to get a better feel, but I really like the way he played last night against a real good team,” Peters said.
is the Web Producer for the Carolina Hurricanes.Email