Bruins Hurricanes Game 7: Rod Brind’Amour household comes first

The swish-swash of Rod Brind’Amour’s wind pants and jacket echoed off the concrete partitions to the beat of his distinct gait as he lumbered down the arena-level hallway in PNC Area on Friday.

A number of the Carolina Hurricanes skaters remained behind on the ice to work on particular person drills, however the head coach’s work with the staff — on the ice, at the very least — was carried out for the day.

Brind’Amour sidled as much as the rostrum. He appeared … taller.

His demeanor and cadence had been constant together with his many earlier conferences with the media: stoic but conversational, well mannered and comfortable spoken.

The questions — and Brind’Amour’s solutions — ran the gamut from mundane to insightful. If you happen to didn’t know higher, you may need thought Saturday’s Game 7 in opposition to the Boston Bruins was as an alternative a random Thursday recreation in November.

In some methods, Brind’Amour mentioned, it truly is.

“At the end of the day, it’s a game, you have to play your best,” he mentioned.

However, he added, there’s a heightened finality.

“There’s nothing different in the game, it’s just, obviously if you don’t win it, you’re done,” Brind’Amour mentioned. “But nothing changes. Preparation is the same, just everything matters that much more.”

Previous Brind’Amour to the rostrum Friday was goaltender Antti Raanta. Following him was Andrei Svechnikov, who dubbed Saturday’s festivities “Saturday in Raleighwood” to a spherical of laughter. The entire parade took lower than 20 minutes.

As Brind’Amour left his portion of the supply, an added sound, audible earlier than however unplaced, joined the echoes.

Clomp. Clomp.

“Wait, was he still wearing skates?”

Eagle-eyed reporters miss nothing. That’s why he appeared taller.

Perhaps he was in a rush to complete his media duties to go examine movie, or speak power-play technique, or perhaps have lunch.

He was passed by that time although, so no extra questions.

However the reply was: Not one of the above.

The room emptied, one after the other, folks filtering out of the sector and into the intense sunshine outside, a stable spring day by most measures.

On the way in which out of the constructing, one other acquainted sound: Clack-clack-ping!

Stick hitting ice, blade thwacking puck, puck placing iron. Somebody was getting further work in on PNC Area ice, and with nobody else in a constructing designed to carry 20,000 folks, even with rally towels already draped throughout each seat in the home, the echoes had been spectacular.

Clack-clack-silence — the puck hit the netting of the objective cage and fell with a uninteresting thwack into the blue paint.

The busy shooters? Skyler and Brooks Brind’Amour, the coach’s sons, drilling one another underneath the watchful eye of their father.

A 2016 photograph reveals Rod Brind’Amour, proper, getting a kiss from his son Brooks Brind’Amour throughout a crimson carpet reception held earlier than an NHL recreation performed between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Pittsburgh Penguins on the PNC Area in Raleigh, N.C. on 2016. Chris Seward File photograph

By no means thoughts the age hole — Skyler is 22, a 2017 NHL draft choose by the Edmonton Oilers who simply completed enjoying at Quinnipiac College, and Brooks is 10, a 2011-born member of the Junior Canes program — the brothers, underneath the watchful eye of their father, ran the identical drills. Fast passes to 2 factors with fast lateral actions and crossovers in between, adopted by a go alongside the boards and a fast transfer towards the online with a ending shot previous an imaginary goaltender.

That explains the skates throughout the information convention.

It additionally explains a complete lot extra.

Right here is the fourth-year head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes — a staff on the eve of a Game 7 that, ought to they lose, would deliver to an finish a bitterly disappointing playoff run following the very best common season in franchise historical past — on the ice not together with his power-play unit, however together with his household unit.

Carolina Hurricanes’ Rod Brind ‘Amour instructs his son Skyler (6) following the teams practice, Saturday, June 3, 2006, in Raleigh, N.C. KARL DEBLAKER, Associated Press


And, perhaps, Brind’Amour’s methodology of holding issues in perspective. Bear in mind, he did begin to say Game 7, “At the end of the day, it’s a game,” earlier than including later, “everything matters that much more.”

It’s that perspective everybody wants from time to time, some greater than others.

As Brind’Amour rimmed pucks alongside the boards to his sons, he barked directions, utilizing his keep on with level to places on the ice the place every skater must be. He was effusive in his reward of younger Brooks, who on one go towards the online completed with a stick-between-the-legs wrister to the highest nook. He was equally supportive of Skyler, who missed a number of in a row from level clean vary and was getting audibly annoyed. (It seems the eagerness for perfection is an easily-passed genetic trait.)

Very like he’d been in observe earlier within the afternoon, Brind’Amour was agency in path, and supportive in correction.

There are some who will take a look at what was occurring on the day earlier than one of many greatest video games within the franchise’s current rebirth and really feel like Brind’Amour was being too callous, too nonchalant, maybe too assured realizing Game 7 is at dwelling, the place the staff had but to lose this postseason.

He must be reviewing video, proper? Looking for a solution to cease Boston’s instantly potent energy play? Determining his matchups?

Some coaches would. Some wouldn’t sleep. Others would gnaw their method via 4 packs of gum whereas sullying white board after white board.

Some may even work on a pregame speech. However, as Brind’Amour wryly mentioned throughout his availability, “I don’t have to say too much. You don’t have to say much this time of year.”

It’s a stability that creates a levelheadedness that permeates the locker room. It’s a part of what makes Brind’Amour so totally different from his predecessors, and what helps him relate so effectively to his gamers. Sure, his job is essential, and it requires dedication effectively past regular working hours. However that’s not all there may be to life.

Skyler and Brooks? That pair is a far larger raison d’être than teaching within the NHL, a lot in order that there’s a way that, if he ever left his job with the Hurricanes (or was requested to depart), he’d most likely be carried out teaching on the high stage altogether. After his commerce to Raleigh from Philadelphia throughout the 1999-2000 season, Brind’Amour put down roots right here. He performed out his profession right here. He gained a Stanley Cup right here. And he’s elevating a household right here.

Saturday afternoon, the sounds within the rink can be far totally different: Click on-clack-ping or click-clack-silence changed by our bodies smacking, skates crunching, horns and sirens sounding, followers roaring.

However on Friday, whereas Hurricanes gamers cooled down after an off-day observe, foraged for lunch, broke down video assignments or obtained therapies from staff therapists, Brind’Amour fulfilled his media obligations and casually returned to the ice for some household R&R, a second of stability amid a cacophony of hockey-related distractions.

Because the doorways clicked closed behind the ultimate members of the media to depart on at the present time, the clack-clack-thuds light into the background.

This story was initially revealed Might 14, 2022 7:02 AM.

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Justin is a 20-year veteran sports activities journalist with stops in Lewiston, Maine (Solar Journal), and Boston (Boston Herald). A proud husband, and father of dual women, Pelletier is a Boston College graduate and member of the esteemed Jack Falla sportswriting mafia. He has earned dozens of state and nationwide sportswriting and enhancing awards overlaying preps, schools {and professional} leagues.

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