RALEIGH, N.C. – He had just arrived two days prior, but newly acquired Carolina Hurricanes defenseman James Wisniewski said following an informal skate last Friday at Raleigh Center Ice, that he felt like he was at home.
Driving over from Columbus, Ohio, his permanent place of residence and where he did the majority of his offseason conditioning work, the 10-year NHL veteran seemed in familiar territory when he arrived in Raleigh.
“I would say it’s very similar,” Wisniewski said.
“You could tell the downtown area is up-and-coming – a lot of new parts in the city. Just like Columbus – a big college town obviously with OSU – and a big college town here with three major colleges around. You compare them – you get the same sense – there’s beautiful area’s all around the city. Downtown’s beautiful and it’s a nice place to live.”
With as much praise he afforded the area, his specific focus was on his new work environment in the rink as a member of the Hurricanes.
With 28 skaters and two goaltenders in attendance, Friday’s on-ice work was the most intense it had been to finish three weeks of informal skates at RCI – final preparation for training camp to begin later this week.
For Wisniewski, the energy was flowing and it was a tempo that he favored.
His thoughts reflected that of a blueliner who’s totaled 274 career points (53g, 241a) and 459 penalty minutes in 551 career NHL games.
Although cliché, you could say he was sprinkling a little bit of sugar when talking of the ending scrimmage, but knowing full well that he was ready to add the spice and kick needed to help Carolina push its intensity up to another level.
“It was good, we gotta get ready slowly, and kinda mix in some physicality,” Wisniewski said.
“Nothin’ crazy – that’s a whole other degree of getting in shape when you start hittin’ and little bumps here and there. So, no better place to start than now before training camp.”
The first impression was that he’s a well-spoken and personable addition to the Hurricanes roster who presents well with a well-coiffed and stylish flow to go along with some detailed and purposeful body art.
He didn’t mince words either.
He knows why the Hurricanes traded for him back in June, and it didn’t take much prodding or talk to get to the point with him about what his goals were.
With Wisniewski on the ice, expect this year’s Hurricanes training camp to be a lot more intense than years’ past.
“The expectations are high,” Wisniewski concluded.
“I demand a lot of myself to come in and make an impact. I’m really looking forward to becoming a Carolina Hurricane and starting the season.”