RALEIGH, N.C. – The Carolina Hurricanes continued learning more about the systems that head coach Bill Peters was implementing and teaching them during training camp at PNC Arena on Saturday.
Group B was first up working through Peters’ Forechecking 101 lesson.
His tenor-level voice barked out instruction loudly and succinctly while he used his stick to point out areas on the ice where they would and should eventually end up if the play was executed properly.
Starting with a quick shout of ‘hep’, Peters started the drill cycle and followed it up with a quick whistle blast to stop it, acknowledge success or improvement needed, and prepared the next group to jump in.
He put them through numerous repetitions and on one occasion acknowledged the group’s proper execution by literally gesturing so towards them.
“Tip of the cap to ya’,” Peters said as he removed and gestured his baseball cap in their direction.
It’s those types of mannerisms that both players and those watching from rinkside are continuing to learn more about from Peters.
He possesses a contemporary communication style to coach and teach in today’s NHL and relate with younger players, while also throwing in ‘old school’ hockey mannerisms and style to go along with it.
“He’s straight to the point,” veteran defenseman Tim Gleason said.
“Literally, I don’t think we’ve had longer than a five-minute meeting which I think is awesome. You sit there for 15-20 minutes and you’re like, ‘what happened during the first part of the conversation’. They’re (coaches) straight to the point, they wanna’ get things done in a hurry, and they wanna’ do ‘em right. It’s exciting for players. Attention to detail is huge. The energy is there from the coaching staff on down. If they’re bringin’ it, we’re bringin’ it.”
Group A eventually came onto the ice and faced off against B in the two teams’ second scrimmage in successive days.
The coach’s impression of the session was more positive than the first which he described as ‘a little sloppy’.
“Day Two was better,” Peters said.
“The scrimmage was better. A lot of the things that needed to be improved upon in the scrimmage were improved upon – a lot of good signs.”
Peters elaborated on what he was particularly looking for.
“Just more puck possession plays and guys looking to make plays,” he continued.
“There was more communication and more realistic hockey. It wasn’t quite as loose. It wasn’t quite as informal. I just thought it was better. I thought that there were some good plays all around. Some of the young guys continued to look good, some of the older guys, you could tell they took a step today.”
Following another lively scrimmage that featured more hard hits and some impressive goal scoring, including one each from captain Eric Staal and Alexander Semin, the rest of the morning continued to prepare the players for upcoming preseason games – the first of which is against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday.
Preseason games are when Peters expects to see what the players have to offer in terms of translating what they’ve been working on during camp into game situations against NHL opponents.
“I’m lookin’ forward to seeing a game,” Peters said.
“It’s early and you’d like to practice, yeah you would, but the reality is they would like to play. Hockey players like to play games and they’re gonna’ get the opportunity tomorrow. I like the fact our first two games, we just split our roster right down the middle and everyone’s gonna’ get an opportunity and we’re gonna’ roll four lines. I think the guys are set up well to have some success tomorrow.”
Gleason concurred that playing games so quickly may not be the norm, but that he’s ready for it, as are all the other players in camp.
“It’s been kind of different,” Gleason said.
“It’s a quick turnaround. You gotta’ be into it quickly. I don’t think I’ve ever faced something like this – in two days that we have a game. I think it’s exciting. I’ve got no problems with it – just rarin’ to go and get things goin’ here.”