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No Nonsense for Maurice in Day One

Wednesday, 12.03.2008 / 2:44 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky

After some initial discomfort, Paul Maurice’s first practice, which came just over an hour after he was re-introduced at a press conference, seemed fast-paced.

It may not have been fast enough, however.

Paul Branecky
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”We’ve actually got a ways to go on that tempo,” he said.  “The players spent a lot of energy before they stepped on the ice today.  It’s hard for everybody, and I didn’t think we were moving the way I expect to be moving fairly soon.”

That’s just one example of the no-nonsense approach that Maurice brought to the RBC Center in his first day back as head coach of the Hurricanes.

Another example came near the end of his response to a question about how the players will react to the change.

“Some will be nervous and perform a little better because they’re not sure where they sit with the new guy,” he said.  “There will be some that are probably going to struggle for a week or two until they find out that if you perform at your peak, you’re going to play and everything’s going to be good.

“There will be three or four guys that have a fairly rude awakening coming in the next week because their performance is off and they’re going to hear about it in a matter that they’re not going to care to.”

Maurice said the biggest challenge facing him at this early stage of his new tenure would be instilling belief in a team that has been lacking in that department recently.  He said part of doing that would be to remove what he called the “unhealthy pressure” that the team is putting on itself before every game for fear of missing the playoffs for a third straight season.

“There’s that specter around this team right now of “Oh no, what if,” he said.  “I really can’t qualify that more, but that’s my number one job, to get that out of there.

“We’ve got to build a little bit of confidence in there, and that doesn’t always have to be done with hugs.  There are other ways to do it.”

Another issue brought up by GM Jim Rutherford at the press conference was chemistry – the belief is that the right players are in place, but they aren’t playing as a cohesive unit.

“Any of the teams I’ve coached that I thought overachieved or did well did it because they did it together,” said Maurice.  “They were a close-knit group of guys.  As a head coach, there’s two ways to get them to do that.  You can either pull them together or drive them together.  At times, I guess you’ve got to do both.”

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STANDINGS

[SSS_STANDINGS.METROPOLITAN_DIVISION_LABEL]
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
2 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
3 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
4 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
5 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
6 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
7 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
8 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 79 21 40 -13 61
J. Skinner 71 33 21 -14 54
A. Sekera 74 11 33 4 44
A. Semin 65 22 20 1 42
J. Staal 82 15 25 2 40
J. Faulk 76 5 27 -9 32
N. Gerbe 81 16 15 -6 31
J. Tlusty 68 16 14 2 30
R. Nash 73 10 14 0 24
P. Dwyer 75 8 14 -2 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Khudobin 19 14 1 .926 2.30
C. Ward 10 12 6 .898 3.06
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