Tracking the Storm

Muller Meets the Press

Wednesday, 04.16.2014 / 4:45 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Muller Meets the Press
Head coach Kirk Muller met the media to wrap up the 2013-14 season at PNC Arena on Wednesday.

Michael Smith
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A day after the Carolina Hurricanes players met with the media for the final time before dispersing for the summer, head coach Kirk Muller did the same to recap the 2013-14 season and look ahead to the summer and beyond.

While there was an underlying sense of frustration, just as there was within the group of 20-plus players in the locker room on Tuesday, Muller expressed optimism for the future, highlighting the team’s young core of players, the improvements defensively, the play of special teams down the stretch and more. He also touched on certain individual performances and assessed his own work.

The 42-minute press conference can be seen above in its entirety. Below are some snippets and highlights.

On what he would change as a coach from this season: “Looking back, we probably went too long with certain units on the power play having faith that it would change. I would love to be able to have the same lines and defensive pairings and be consistent, but there are a lot of things that you don’t have control over, meaning injuries. The one thing that I feel we can get more out of some players is identifying roles a little bit more and letting them – despite injuries – staying the course of what is asked of them.”

On frustration in the room: “When you don’t make the playoffs and it’s a few years in a row, there’s a lot of pride with pro athletes and frustration kicks in. It’s not fun. … I hope there are some players that are unhappy and not complacent and want to get this thing turned around.”

On what he’s learned most as a head coach in the NHL: “Finding a way to get the most out of every player. There are highs and lows and inconsistencies during the season. … Whether we were winning or losing, we tried to stay the course. We didn’t try to change our personalities or what we felt was important.”

On the team’s slow starts: “We tried morning skates, no morning skates. I went with shortening up the bench in the first period and getting the top lines out. I went four lines getting everybody into it. We explored different options, and at the end of the day, there were too many games that the first wasn’t our best period. … We’re going to evaluate it and figure out a solution.”

On Ron Hainsey and Brett Bellemore, two of the new faces on the Canes’ blue line: “I thought Hainsey came in, had a great personality, competed every night and ate up a lot of ice time. … Bellemore was not slated to be in the top six, but he did what he had to do in the summer to train, get quicker and get in good shape, and he came in and earned his spot.”

On the addition of Manny Malhotra: “To be told you’re not going to play is not something any pro player wants to hear. He kept in shape, did everything he had to do, and when he had the opportunity, he said he was willing to go to the minors to prove that he can still play. When we watched and evaluated him, he had areas of his game and personality that we needed in our locker room. … You could tell right away that he felt comfortable. I think he helped Eric out a lot. I think they have a really good relationship. … He really brought a lot of intangibles to our game both on and off the ice. He was a great addition, and everyone – not only here, but in the league – had a lot of respect for him.”

On his personal future: “As of right now, I’m head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes. … As of right now, I’m just going about being head coach.”

On if he believes in this team moving forward: “I do. I do. I believe that if we come back next year at training camp and we are a healthy group, with the way we finished, we have a team that can change things here. I’m optimistic, but I’m disappointed.”

On the leadership opportunity for Jeff Skinner and Justin Faulk: “I think it’s going to come naturally. .. You could see it down the stretch how much fun they had playing with each other. They’re going to come in next year one year more mature. They want to win.”

On summarizing the season and looking ahead: “I’m always critical of things I want to do, but you’re always learning and getting better. … I think we’ve done a lot of good things. We’re excited about a lot of stuff going on. … We’re disappointed that we didn’t make the playoffs, but we have to keep going in the right direction.”

For a recap and full video from Tuesday's player media availability, please click here.



SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72