After meeting internally with management on Monday, the Carolina Hurricanes cleaned out their lockers and met with the media at PNC Arena on Tuesday for the final time before the summer ahead.
Understandably, frustration and disappointment were the reigning themes of the day, as the Canes failed to qualify for the postseason for the fifth year in a row.
CanesVision captured each player’s media scrums, and links to those videos can be found bellow. Embedded are some of the highlights from what was said to cap the 2013-14 season.
On frustration: “I know everybody is frustrated. I know our fans are frustrated. Management, staff, players – everyone is. That’s not a secret, and that needs to change.”
On desperation: “The desperation has been there. Don’t worry about that. For me, it’s been there since the first time we missed the playoffs. … With how many years in row it has been now, it’s amped up even more and the frustration level is getting higher, but we need to respond.”
On if he’s ever imagined a future without the Canes: “No, I’ve never thought that, dreamed that or wanted that. … I think I can be part of the right things going forward. Obviously my career isn’t going to be forever, and I want to play in the playoffs. I don’t want to continually miss the playoffs and have these type of interviews at the end of the season.”
On success in the future: “I’ve been here a long time, and I love it here. I’ve had success here. I know, and I believe, we can again, and I can be a part of that.”
On talking with his brother, Eric: “I’ve talked to him plenty of times in the last couple of weeks, and you can just really hear it in his voice and see it in his eyes that he wants so much more. It’s frustrating to me to watch that and want to be better for this team and for him.”
On pressure: “The pressure I put on myself can be a little too much sometimes. For me, I’ve got to start getting back to just enjoying the game, getting out there, playing, letting it happen and using my abilities.”
On playing in the NHL again: “For me, it wasn’t just a one-and-done. … It’s wanting to continue my career. … I love coming to the rink, and I love being part of a team.”
On his new haircut: “Yeah, someone found a buzzer yesterday. … I was kind of joking around telling someone I was going to do a mohawk of some sort, so I just did it, I guess.”
On the Olympic experience: “Just the mindset of knowing that you can go out there and play with anybody – I think that about myself as it is already because you play against those guys in the NHL anyway – but that level is another step up. It’s a faster game, and it’s smoother, and I think it’s even better than NHL hockey. It was huge for me, and I think about it still once in a while, and it helped my confidence a bit.”
On the team: “I think we have the right guys in the room, that’s for sure. I don’t think any team would complain about the core we have. It’s just whether we put it all together.”
On Lindholm: “He’s had a pretty crazy season with all the things he’s been through – going over to the World Juniors, being in the minors and having some injuries out of camp. But I think we found some confidence, and it’s nice to grow together. As the season went on, we became more comfortable with each other, and that allowed us to be more successful on the ice.”
On leadership: “The older you get and the longer you’ve been here, it’s not going to happen overnight or in one season or in one training camp, but it’s something you have to continually work on. … I don’t think it will be new or out of my nature. Every guy deals with that sort of thing in their own way. I was a leader in junior, and I feel more comfortable every year I’m here. It’s not something that you can set out and say you’re going to do this. It’s a little bit more abstract than that, for me personally. I think it’s something you grow into and learn as you go.”
On his rookie season progression: “I started feeling better and better as the season went on. I think it was good for me to go back to Sweden to play in the World Juniors. When I got back, I had a lot of confidence, and hopefully I can keep building on that for next season.”
On Skinner: “The more we played together, we started to figure out where we were out there. He’s an amazing player, so I just tried to feed him as much as possible. … He’s one of the guys I hung out with the most outside (of the rink). He’s been taking good care of me out there and on the ice, too.”
On coming to Carolina: “Since the first day I got here, it was a really warm welcome from the guys and from the staff. I feel like I am home.”
On his relationship with Ward: “It was more than just partners. ... He’s a really great person, and I respect him as a goaltender and as a person. He’s great, and I tried to help him in any situation that I could, and he was the same to me. He always tried to help me, even if I’m playing or not playing. It was awesome.”
On establishing rhythm: “I just struggled to get comfortable all season long. I had the injury, and coming back from that I just felt like I was playing catch up. Our margin for error was so small that I obviously wasn’t able to get consecutive games to try to get my game going.”
On trade rumors: “It’s not something you want to hear. Raleigh, my family and I, consider this our home. … I definitely want to be Hurricane moving forward. To hear those rumors is difficult, but you don’t want to make too much of it.”
On frustration: “I think this season is a paramount of that frustration, seeing the team that we had this year, seeing the success we generated against some really good hockey teams this year, the fact that we couldn’t limit the damage in certain parts of the season and get the points that slipped away on us.”
On the possibility of offseason changes: “This is the nature of the business. To think that a year like this could go by without those questions being asked, that just doesn’t happen in our world and business of results.”
Full Player Interview Video
Head coach Kirk Muller will address the media at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 16. CarolinaHurricanes.com will have a live stream of that press conference, plus additional coverage later in the afternoon.