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Brind'Amour enjoying day-to-day challenge as Hurricanes coach

Feels 20 seasons as NHL player, seven as Carolina assistant prepared him for job

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / Staff Writer

When Rod Brind'Amour retired in 2010 after 20 NHL seasons with the St. Louis Blues, Philadelphia Flyers and Carolina Hurricanes, he initially wanted to get into management.

"I had kind of done the ice-level stuff, and putting a team together is intriguing to me," Brind'Amour said.

But Jim Rutherford, then Hurricanes general manager (now Pittsburgh Penguins GM), pushed Brind'Amour toward coaching. A path that began as Carolina's director of forwards development in 2010-11 reached its fruition May 8 when Brind'Amour was named the 14th coach in Carolina/Hartford Whalers history.


[RELATED: De Haan ready to win with Hurricanes]


The 47-year-old viewed the promotion as the natural next step after Bill Peters resigned April 20. 

"I've been doing it for seven years as an assistant and I've been in the NHL for 30 almost now," Brind'Amour said. "It didn't really seem like it was that big of a deal because the hours I've been putting in are the same as the head coach, other than I'm on the phone a lot more now."

Brind'Amour, Hurricanes captain when they won the Stanley Cup in 2006, learned a lot during his playing career, and having apprenticed under Paul Maurice, Kirk Muller and Peters in Carolina believes he's gotten a good coaching education. The Hurricanes open the season Oct. 4 against the New York Islanders at PNC Arena.

Video: What's next for Hurricanes after a busy offseason?

Brind'Amour discussed with some of his thoughts as he prepares for his first training camp as coach in September:

On what he's been doing since he was hired

"I've been on the phone a lot with just the media stuff and dealing with communication with players, and just looking ahead for training camp. There's a lot of work that has to be done, but it's fun. It's fun putting things together. I've had to hire a couple coaches (assistants Dean Chynoweth and Jeff Daniels), so the interview process I spent a lot of time on. That's something I hadn't done before, so that was kind of interesting. But it's really a lot of stuff no one would really think about, the day-to-day of figuring out the training camps and how it's going to flow, your lineups for the preseason games. People might think it's a long way away, but I'm one of those guys that likes to knock things out."

On what he's talked with the players about

"It's more on an individual basis, just making sure they know what's expected. I don't want anyone to walk in here and go, 'I didn't know that's what you wanted.' We want to make sure they know what it's going to take to make our team and what is expected of them and the type of shape we want them in."

On the importance of veterans such as Justin Williams and Jordan Staal

"Those two guys especially, they get it. They're our two Stanley Cup guys that have been there on teams that get it and there's really going to be a big emphasis on those two guys to lead a little more than they have in the past here.

Video: Justin Williams on the Hurricanes' upcoming season

On if he'll name one captain after Staal and Justin Faulk were co-captains last season

"Yeah, we'll have one. We've got some good options here. We'll sit down at training camp once we know for sure what the team is going to look like and we'll make that decision."

On the Hurricanes defense after adding Dougie Hamilton and Calvin de Haan this offseason

"That's a pretty solid D corps right now. The pairings will shape out as we go, but it's one of those things where I think in the past we were still pretty good but you were always worried about matchups and getting the right D out. Now, based on how we're looking at it, that's not going to be as big a concern for us because we can pretty much put anyone out there and we should be in good shape."

On what he's expecting from rookie forwards Andrei Svechnikov and Martin Necas

"You're banking on an 18-year-old (Svechnikov) and a 19-year-old (Necas) being able to be impact players. You don't want to put too much on them too early, so if that doesn't pan out then it doesn't quite look the same. But I think right now we've got pretty high hopes on both of them cracking our lineup and being impact players for us."

On if the Hurricanes goaltending is good enough with Scott Darling and Petr Mrazek

"That's the question mark. There's no secret there. I think both guys would agree they didn't have great years last year, and in talking to both of them I think they want to prove that they're the goalies everyone thought they were at some point. I think it's a good situation. They'll both push each other and someone's going to earn that starting job."

Video: Hurricanes' potential plans with Jeff Skinner

On how he wants the Hurricanes to play

"I want a team that's fun to watch, first of all. Everyone's worried when you say that it means you're going to be giving up tons of goals and chances. No, that's not it. But I want to play a style that's fun to watch, No. 1, and that means we're going to skate. I think every coach says the same things. I'm not too concerned how we win. If we win 10-9, I'm good. If we win 2-1, that's even better. But we need to be able to play both. You have to be able to adapt to every game and I think we have a team that should be able to score more goals than it has in the past."

On his relationship with owner Tom Dundon

"We talk pretty much if not daily, then every other day. He's super involved. There's not a decision that goes without his approval or, to be honest with you, it's his idea. So he's learning too, but he might be the hardest-working guy in the NHL right now. He's in on everything, and that can be good and bad, but I think right now it's been positive that he shows so much interest and he's pretty passionate about what's going on. … No one knows how it's going to end up, but the fact of the matter is he's trying to do something different."

On if there's urgency to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2009

"No doubt about it. I don't even talk about making the playoffs. To me, it's about trying to be the best team in the League. People may laugh at that but that's why we're here. That's why we do this. We definitely need to raise the bar and raise the expectation level throughout the whole organization, not just with the players. So that's certainly a goal."

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