RALEIGH — On a night when their captain was honored for reaching a milestone, the Carolina Hurricanes had little to celebrate. The visiting Red Wings won 3-1 Monday at PNC Arena in what was easily the Hurricanes’ worst performance of the season.
Nino Niederreiter scored Carolina’s only goal in the loss.
1. There were plenty of distractions on Monday. Not only was it the always stressful trade deadline day, but the team also honored captain Jordan Staal before the game, his 1,000th in the NHL.
Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour didn’t find the busy day to be a reasonable excuse for his team’s poor effort.
“Yes, there’s a lot going on, but so what?” Brind’Amour said. “We had a job to do, and we emphasized all that. This was not good, obviously. Normally when we lose, I come in and say, ‘Give the other team credit.’ That, to me, is the one game — no disrespect to the other team, they played hard — but that was the one game where I’m like, ‘That was gross.’
“And to a man, we were not good. I coached a terrible game because I didn’t get the lines going right and I couldn’t find the right matchups. It was no good from start to finish.”
2. The Hurricanes players, along with Brind’Amour, were visibly unhappy when talking to the media. They were also kicking themselves for putting forth such a poor effort on a night when much of Staal’s family — including Red Wings defenseman Marc, younger brother Jared, his parents, and his wife and three kids — were all there to honor him.
“I think that’s what hurts the most,” Niederreiter said.
Goalie James Reimer added, “Honestly, that’s probably the worst thing.”
And Brind’Amour (see below) was equally blunt.
3. Hurricanes GM Don Waddell said new addition Jani Hakanpaa was going to arrive in Raleigh Monday night and should be ready to play when Carolina hosts Nashville on Thursday.
While none of the Hurricanes will send in their performance Monday as an audition tape for future jobs, Jake Gardiner and Jake Bean both had the opportunity to make their case to be Hakanpaa’s partner on the third pairing.
While neither played well, Bean’s miscues were glaring — one errant pass even led to the rookie throwing his head back in disgust when a Detroit player stole it. Much like the goalie situation, it will be interesting to see how Brind’Amour handles the decision between the up-and-coming Bean and Gardiner, who has never gained traction since coming to Carolina for one reason on another.
Number To Know
1,000 — Career games for Jordan Staal, becoming the 349th player in league history to reach the milestone. Staal has played 569 of those games with Carolina after suiting up for 431 over six seasons with the Penguins. He went against older brother Marc, a Red Wings defenseman, who played in his 936th career game. The oldest Staal brother, Eric, played his 1,277th game Monday with the Canadiens, the 74th-most games played in NHL history. Brind’Amour ranks 25th in NHL history with 1,484.
They Said It
“I’ve been here now for 2½ years, and that’s the first game I can say I feel this way about that game, where we didn’t bring it. On his night, that’s even more disappointing.”
— Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour on his team’s poor performance on the same night the team celebrated Jordan Staal’s 1,000th career game.
James Reimer, Hurricanes goalie — Brind’Amour indicted his entire team (and himself) for the loss, but then he amended that.
“I guess I should backtrack because he played well,” Brind’Amour said of Reimer, who made 27 saves. “So when I say 20 guys, I should say 19 because he at least gave us a chance to win — or hang in there, I guess is the better way to put it.”
Carolina’s complicated goaltender situation perhaps became a little murkier with Reimer’s solid performance, but Petr Mrazek and Alex Nedeljkovic should continue to be the Hurricanes’ best options in net.
Jaccob Slavin, Hurricanes defenseman — Nearly as stunning as the team’s top-to-bottom lackluster performance was Slavin’s blown assignment on the game’s first goal. Right at the start of the third period, Detroit’s Michael Rasmussen entered the Carolina zone and circled the net. The normally reliable Slavin failed to tie up Adam Erne’s stick, and Erne knocked in Rasmussen’s pass to give the Red Wings a 1-0 lead.