Carolina Hurricanes assistant coach Rod Brind'Amour helps run the Canes' conditioning camp on Monday in Wake Forest. TRAVIS LONG - email@example.com
WAKE FOREST — Rod Brind'Amour helped conduct the Canes' rookie conditioning camp last year, saying it's nothing new for him this summer.
But there is something new this time: Brind'Amour now is a member of the Canes' coaching staff.
When general manager Jim Rutherford announced last month Brind'Amour would be an assistant coach on Paul Maurice's staff, the former Canes captain quickly noted his role was a "work in progress," saying he wasn't sure how many games he would be behind the bench next season. And Brind'Amour says that's still to be determined.
"We'll figure that out as we go," he said. "I really wanted to stay involved in all the other aspects, too. So it was nice being a little bit part of the (NHL) draft and learn about that and try to assess talent and talk about that, and I thought we did a great job with that.
"Obviously, once the big club gets here I'll have a bigger role in that. I'm still trying to keep my hands in everything. I've really enjoyed kind of working on all aspects."
For now, that means working rookie camp. Brind'Amour has joined Ron Francis, Tom Barrasso and Glen Wesley in running the on-ice sessions at the Polar Ice House, giving pointers to the prospects, offering encouragement.
"It's good to get to know them and for them to see what the organization is all about and how hard we expect them to work," Brind'Amour said of the prospects. "I know it's eye-opening for all of them. But it's something they're going to have to learn if they want to make it to the NHL."
Brind'Amour noted when he broke into the league, there was no rookie camp to help get adjusted.
"They basically threw us in with all the older guys," he said. "This is great that they bring all the young guys in early and they get to meet the coaches, meet the staff and get their feet wet before they get thrown in with the wolves, so to speak. It's also good for us to get see what they're all about and learn about them."
A year ago, forward Jeff Skinner quickly turned some heads in rookie camp with his conditioning, his determination and his skills. It was the start of a special rookie season capped by the Calder Trophy.
"Obviously, you'd love to say every year you're going to have that happen but it doesn't happen," Brind'Amour said. "Realisticlaly you don't want to put too much pressure on them to be like him, although we'd love to see it. Again, it's more about us getting to know them."