Erik Cole has been one of the take-charge guys the last few days in the Canes' informal workouts at the RecZone. But don't try calling it "Camp Cole," he said today.
"It will always be 'Camp Brind'Amour,'" Cole said, smiling. "It would be a disgrace to Roddy if we took over the title. Let's just call it informal workouts."
For the past few years, Rod Brind'Amour has been the man in charge at the RZ. But with Brind'Amour now retired, and working with the players off the ice, others have had to step forward and run things on the ice, including Chad LaRose.
"Rosie has been vocal about things, showing his leadership skills," Cole said. "For me, it's the matter of being one of the older guys in the room. We've got a lot of young guys here right now. Some spent some time with us last year and aren't exactly young guys, but they are still trying to establish themselves,
"It's easy for us to explain some drills and know what we're going to do. We're working hard and having fun and pushing each other. Given the bigger group we have, it definitely helps to push a little higher intensity in the on-ice stuff."
A year ago, the Canes went into the season as one of oldest teams in the league. Look at 'em now. Joe Corvo, 33, and Cole, Sergei Samsonov and Tom Kostopoulos, all 31, now find themselves both the elder statesmen of the group and the only thirtysomethings.
"Last summer the decision was made to go with some older guys and it didn't work," Cole said. "What's the next step? We all kind of saw it toward the end of the season with the trades that were made and the young guys who came up and were given opportunities to get some NHL experience and get a taste for what to expect.
"I think it was pretty obvious what direction we were headed. As tough as last year was, there were some positive aspects of it in the sense of getting a grasp of where some of our young guys are. I think guys came in and played very well. Then it was up to them and have a good summer and get here early and to be a part of these things.
"They have to be physically and mentally ready for how tough this season is going to be. And it's going to be an intense training camp, with a lot of jobs up for grabs."