Hurricanes optimistic heading into offseason
Posted April 9, 2012
Updated April 10, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — For the fifth time in six seasons since winning the Stanley Cup, the Carolina Hurricanes players faced questions about not making the playoffs.
“No one wants to be in this position,” said captain Eric Staal. “No one wants to be out of the playoffs, it’s been a few years and that’s frustrating.”
Unlike last year when the Canes missed the playoffs on the last game of the season, there’s more optimism this time considering the team’s hot second half after Kirk Muller became head coach.
“He just asked us to be accountable and compete and I think that’s what the guys did,” said forward Jeff Skinner.
“The players responded they played really well in the second half, and you can’t help but wish or wonder how it would have been different if we played like that in the first half of the season, we probably would be in the playoffs right now,” said goalie Cam Ward.
General manager Jim Rutherford already locked up the team’s top free agents during the season and has plans for what he wants this offseason as well.
“Another top line player to play with Eric Staal,” said Rutherford. “Based on my conversation with Mr. Karmanos he agrees that that’s something we want to do. Not what we’ve done in the past where we’ve gone to the second tier free agent group, or the third tier or the fourth tier, it’s a top line player, and if it’s available by free agency or trade we’re going to do everything we can to make that happen this year and not the following year.”
Rutherford also said the team will expand Rod BrindAmour’s duties as an assistant coach and put him behind the bench during games.