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Hurricanes Close Out 2016-17 Season

Players meet with media for end-of-season interviews

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

Less than 24 hours after an emotional 4-3 shootout win over the Philadelphia Flyers in an otherwise meaningless regular-season finale, the Carolina Hurricanes met with the media for one last time in the 2016-17 campaign.

One by one, the players dissected the 82-game season that was and looked ahead to the summer and beyond. was there to capture everything. What follow are some highlights and noteworthy quotes. Additionally, each player's end-of-season interview is linked below.

Sebastian Aho

On playing in the NHL: "It was nice to be here every day. It's living the dream."

On a familiar Finnish face in Teuvo Teravainen: "He was huge for me. The first couple of weeks I lived with him. I didn't really speak any English, so it was fun to speak with someone."

Video: Sebastian Aho: "Living the dream"

Bryan Bickell

On his final game: "I'm still soaking up last night. It was a special moment to finish off like that and get a win with my friends and family there. Scoring in the shootout was obviously special, and to see the support from the Philly fans, believe it or not, was very warming."

On his career: "It was a good run. I had a lot of fun. There's another page to the story. We just don't know where it's going to lead me yet, but it's going to be fun."

On the Disney-like, storybook ending to his final game: "I wanted to score really bad. To see the puck go in - I heard it - and then to see it in the back of the net was definitely special. Hopefully Disney calls me here soon if they want to do a movie."

Video: Bryan Bickell: "A special moment"

Justin Faulk

On the feeling in the room: "Probably disappointing, I guess, is a good way to put it. We're in the same position we've been in every year I've been here, a couple years before that even. It's tough. It's not what you want, and it's never what the plan is going in. ... As a group we didn't succeed, and that's where we are today."

On if this season feels any different: "We're in the same spot right now, so it kind of feels the same. You don't want to say anything's changed, but realistically we're still sitting here outside of the playoffs. ... Any team can win in this league. It's just who can do it consistently."

Video: Justin Faulk: "More consistent"

Noah Hanifin

On falling short of the playoffs: "It's tough, especially when you're making a push like we did at the end of the year. We were really close for awhile in that stretch. The guys in this locker room understand that we can do it next year. … I thought we made a good push, and I think our team showed a lot of heart and desire to make the run."

On the young defense: "We spend so much time together, away from the rink as well, we're all really good friends. I think the team is definitely a tight group, which is huge for a young team like us. We're all different players, but we find ways to help each other on and off the ice."

On Bickell: "He was a huge inspiration for us and our team. He was a great teammate and role model for us. Just the way the year ended, obviously we wanted to make the playoffs and we didn't get that, but just to finish the way it did with Bickell going in the shootout, scoring and us getting a win in the last game was a nice way to end the year."

Video: Noah Hanifin: "We can do it next year"

Elias Lindholm

On what needs to change next season in order to be successful: "We need to get off to better starts and be a little better on the road. It's tough to make the playoffs if you lose five games in a row three times. … That's something we've got to work on. We're still young. We've got a bright future."

On what he can improve personally: "You can always improve. I had 11 goals. That's not good enough. I played power play and a lot of minutes, so 11 goals is not good enough. I've got to work on that and be up around 20, maybe even higher."

Video: Elias Lindholm: "We have a bright future"

Joakim Nordstrom

On the late-season push for the playoffs: "That was obviously a fun run. No one really believed in us. ... It was really fun to get on that run and put ourselves in a spot to really fight for the last spot. Unfortunately we didn't go all the way this year, but that was good for our team, too, to know that we can put wins together and play really well when it comes down to it."

On Bickell: "It was really fun to see him put that one in in the shootout. He's such a great guy, one of the best guys I've come around and met in hockey. It's really been a privilege to be his teammate, to get to know him and be his friend. He's a great role model, too. Ever since I came to Chicago, a young and kind of shy kid, he was from the first day just great. He's one of the best guys, for sure."

Video: Joakim Nordstrom: "Better as year went on"

Jeff Skinner

On missing the playoffs: "It's disappointing. That's the goal at the beginning of the year, every year, to come in and make the playoffs. It's disappointing any way you look at it."

On taking a greater leadership role: "This year I was able to be a little bit more a part of that leadership group. It's something that I take pride in. As you go along and as people talk about the young team in here, there are a lot of guys who are leaders. Guys are growing together and playing for each other. ... That's a good culture - and that might be overused - but that's the best way I can describe it."

Video: Jeff Skinner: "The expectation is higher"

Cam Ward

On the 2016-17 season: "We felt we had a great group of young talent poised to take that next step. It's disappointing to be standing here in front of you guys again trying to figure out why we fell short this time. For me personally, it's now been eight years, and that's tough to deal with. It never gets any easier. You can't help but think about the young potential that this organization has."

On next season: "It's natural that with another year of experience for this young team, we're poised to take another step next year. Certainly I would think that anything but the playoffs next year, we wouldn't be satisfied."

Video: Cam Ward: "Poised to take another step"

End-of-Season Interviews

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