The legend of Hurricanes rookie Seth Jarvis continues to grow

The 20-year-old forward has battled through injuries and earned the respect of his coach

Hurricanes forward Seth Jarvis talks to the media Friday after suffering a mouth injury the previous night in Game 5 of Carolina's second round series with the Rangers. (Cory Lavalette / North State Journal)

RALEIGH — Despite playing half his career in the 1990s, Rod Brind’Amour looks at fighting and eye-for-an-eye on-ice policing as something best left in the past. But the Hurricanes coach, one of the NHL’s top Ironmen during his career, loves players that battle through the bumps, bruises and blood that come with the grind of a hockey season.

And that’s a big reason why Brind’Amour is so enamored with rookie Seth Jarvis.

“This kid, he’s growing on me every day.”

Jarvis has had a postseason to remember for a lot of reasons. He has the most goals (three) and points (seven) of any rookie in the playoffs. Brind’Amour even used Jarvis’ play to try and stoke a fire under the rest of his team after Game 4 against the Rangers, praising the rookie while saying “a 20-year-old can’t be your best player.”

The legend of Seth Jarvis grew in Game 5.

With the Hurricanes up 2-1 in the second period of Thursday’s Game 4 against the Rangers after Jarvis set up Teuvo Teravainen for a power play goal — ending Carolina’s five-game drought with the man advantage — he sacrificed himself at the other end of the ice.

Jarvis noticed Ryan Strome between the hash marks waiting for a pass and dove headfirst toward the Rangers center as the puck entered his wheelhouse.

The puck bounced away but Jarvis stayed put, having taken the shaft of Strome’s stick right to the mouth. He writhed on the ice for a dozen seconds before goalie Antti Raanta froze the puck.

“(It) was a play I had make,” Jarvis said Friday. “It would have been a clear one-timer in the slot, so I don’t regret doing that. Obviously, no one wants to get slapped in the face with a stick, but if that happens, it happens.”

Jarvis went to the locker room but was back on the ice for his next shift, helping Carolina to a 3-1 win and 3-2 series lead. He even did a postgame television interview and then met with the media at the airport Friday before the team’s flight to New York for Saturday’s Game 6, sporting a grossly swollen lip and even more damage that wasn’t visible.

“The top four here are all bent in,” Jarvis said of his teeth. “So we’re gonna wait a couple of days, I’ll get an X-ray and see what’s going on.”

It’s not even the first time this postseason Jarvis has been felled in a stomach-churning way.

Much like Friday’s day-after feeling, Jarvis was hurting after that injury in Game 4 of the Boston series.

“Whenever I can work compression pants or anything, it’s good, it’s fine,” he said two days after Brendan Smith’s friendly fire caught him below the belt. “It’s any other time of the day everything just hurts. Everything hurts.”

He then went and scored twice that night in Game 5.

Brind’Amour broke his nose enough times as a player that he said earlier this season he “only remembers the worst ones, the ones that I went home going, ‘This is not fun.’”

But you can tell Brind’Amour’s respect for Jarvis swelled even more after the 2020 13th overall pick quickly returned to the ice following Thursday’s unscheduled dental work.

“He looks like a hockey player, old-school,” Brind’Amour said. “He’s got a lot of that in him. He’s gritty. He didn’t even want to come out of the game. That’s why you love him.”

And while Jarvis may one day look back on those injuries the way Brind’Amour recalls his worst-of playlist, that’s not how the Winnipeg native views it right now.

“I’m still having a great time,” Jarvis said. “I can’t smile as well as I used to, but yeah, it’s still awesome. Last night was a great game again and super fun. So just looking forward to tomorrow.”

He did manage to break into a big — and probably painful — smile when he heard the praise his coach had given him following Game 4.

“I’m glad he maybe likes me now. That’s nice,” Jarvis said. “It’s a cool thing to hear, especially from a guy like that.”

The feeling seems mutual.