RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The Carolina Hurricanes gather around head coach Rod Brind’Amour, close but not too close. Not during these time.
“You want that team spirit, you want to be close to each other and work with each other and be that tight a tight-knit team,” said Canes Captain Jordan Staal. “But at the same time not too close and too tight and wear a mask.”
The Hurricanes practice facility, the Wake Competition Center wasn’t the only thing new as Carolina gathered for the first time this season. New rules and protocols will make this a season like no other.
“It’s different in the sense that, getting used to wearing these (masks) around the rink and the locker room,” explained Canes defenseman Jaccob Slavin. “Just all the little protocols we have to go through is different but we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do to be able to play this season.”
That means not being around your teammates as much as in the past. Spending extra time in the locker room or hanging out in the lounge playing ping pong is now frowned upon. Those team bonding moments crucial to building a tight team are now a thing of the past.
“In the past, you talked about getting together and really hanging out and being around each other,” said Brind’Amour. “It’s like everything you always preached and wanted to see in your guys now you actually now don’t want to see. It’s all about that camaraderie and I think everyone’s just trying to figure that out, how we’re going to adjust to that.”
The good news for the Canes, this team saw very little turnover from a year ago. That familiarity should give Carolina a leg up on a season where getting close is a no-no.