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November 20, 2006

Rod Brind'Amour

DAVID KEON: Good afternoon everyone. I'm David Keon with the National Hockey League's Public Relations Department, and I'd like to welcome you to today's call.
With us today we have Carolina Hurricane's captain Rod Brind'Amour. Thanks to Rod for taking the time today to answer your questions, and thanks to public relations department for arranging the call.
Earlier today Rod was named second Star for last week after scoring 4 goals and 4 assists for 8 points in 4 games. With 10 goals and 21 assists for 31 points so far this season, Rod sits tied with Marian Hossa, trailing only. The Hurricanes' captain has reached two significant milestone this season, having recorded his 600th career assist and his 1000th career NHL point in Ottawa.
The Hurricanes are tied for first place in the Southeast Division with Atlanta. They travel to New York this afternoon where they will meet the Rangers, and the Islanders on Wednesday.
Thanks to Rod for taking the time to join us today.

Q. Questions for you. I want to know how a forward can play as many minutes as you do? Defensemen can play 24 minutes a game, but forwards have a tough time doing that. What's your secret in the faceoff circle?
ROD BRIND A'MOUR: To answer that, just because I have played quite a bit. So there is no reason other than that. I'm getting lots of minutes. So you get out there a lot and you're going to face a lot of playoffs.
As far as how do you do it, if you asked any player, forward or not, they all love the chance to get that opportunity to play. I'm sure many guys could do it. There's no real secret. The secret is I'm getting out there and getting the opportunity. But there's nothing any other player, like I say, wouldn't be able to do.

Q. Do you have a secret in the faceoff circle?
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: No. There's no secrets. I get that question quite a bit, but there's no secrets. You know, the Edmonton guys, they're all good. You watch those guys. You got to be intense and, you know, don't let any of them go by. You know, bear down offensively on them and in the course of the night you'll win your share.

Q. You know, you guys are off to a real good, solid start this season. What do you attribute this start to so far?
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: Well, you know, actually we started out a little bit slow. Didn't get a win for I think the first 4 or 5 games. We have just been consistent in every part of the game. Our special teams haven't been great, we haven't been great on the 5-on-5 plays.
But we've had consistent goaltending, so I guess this season we've just had pretty consistent play. Like I said all along, this is a long season, and if you play well enough you're going to be there in the mix in the end.

Q. And also, you know, overall with the new league changes the past couple years, what you do you see as being the biggest difference as to the offensive play during the game?
ROD BRIND A'MOUR: Well, more power-play opportunities. That's one of the key reasons I think play has picked up. And with the rule changes you're getting more opportunities. The 2-line pass rule, in my opinion, that's the best right off the bat. That opens up the play.

Q. Heading to the next games in New York on the road, what are you guys looking to accomplish?
ROD BRIND A'MOUR: We got to win. That's what all we're about. That's the beauty of this team and that's all we have been about this year and last year. We don't care how we do it, that's all we're about. And, you know, that's all we're out to do.

Q. Just want to know, is life any different as the descending Stanley Cup Champions as it was last year, or is there more of a target on your back?
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: I'm sure there is. In the past, not a lot has been said about our team. You play under the radar. But I think now wherever we go or whoever we play, they know they're in for a game, so we're definitely getting the best in every team that you play.
But that's good. We've raised the bar with us in this organization, and that's where we want to be.

Q. Do you feel like the local fans in Carolina are becoming more educated in hockey?

Q. They're well versed in the game now?
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: For sure. I mean, it's a great thing for us not only to win, but in the area, the community, how they all rallied around their team. It's become hip now to be a 'Canes fan. It's kind of we're the in thing right now. We have good crowds and, you know, there's a lot of talk and buzz about our team, so that's nice.

Q. You been with this team for several years and you were there 2002. I'm just wondering how you feel your role as leader has evolved over the years. You took over the role (indiscernible) progression up to last year and even beyond into this year as well.
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: You're right. Whether or not Ronny was here, it was definitely his team and he had his fingerprint all over it and did a great job. You know, and I kind of -- don't want to say sat in the back, but just went about my business. He stepped down, and I guess he had I had to fill in.
But the beauty is we brought in a lot of new players last year, and what we brought in were good leaders in their own right. It's never been a situation where I have to do something drastically different than I was comfortable with.
We lead here by a lot of guys. I think we lead by committee kind of thing. It's a pleasure just to be around them, because we do have a lot have good, veteran players here.

Q. You're 36 years old. I mean, you're still playing 24, 25 minutes a game. Is the hunger there greater this year? How is it different than it was starting last season?
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: That's a question I asked Cory Stillman last year. I asked him how does he do it once you've won, and he told me you just want to do it again because it felt so good. I that's what we're all in. We want to do that again. It was such a fun ride, and we know how hard it is, but you want to do it again.
So that's what's keeping our eyes on the prize. Obviously it's a huge, long season and whatnot, but just a sheer enjoyment of the season last year is why we want to do it.

Q. You certainly don't sit out. You're still playing lot of minutes per game.
ROD BRIND A'MOUR: I think if I'm going to be playing I want to be out there. I'm fortunate that I'm getting that opportunity.

Q. Have you learned a lot more or are you just playing more?
ROD BRIND A'MOUR: I think both. I think, you know, I'm not a better player, but I like to think I'm a little bit smarter and a little bit more experienced. If I had one thing to say that's the difference, it's just that I'm playing with good players. I've never been in a situation where I've had two All-Star wingers or first unit power-players or things like that. I've been put in a situation where it's a lot easier to succeed. It's very enjoyable.

Q. Talk about how well Ray Whitney is playing.
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: He's the guy that's been getting under the radar. Not a lot has been said about him. But all year he's been one of the best players on the ice night in and night out. He thinks in the game, you know. He's definitely under the radar, and I'm glad he's on our team and I'm fortunate to play with him.

Q. When you play a team in the playoffs -- obviously you watch yourself -- but do you see how the Oilers do and say, At least we're both playing pretty well?

Q. It's happened before where one team gets to the finals and the other team doesn't play so well.
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: We've been there before. To be honest, I don't really watch other teams too much, especially from the other conference because we don't play them. Occasionally I'll watch a night game because they're on late when I get home from a game and they're the only ones on.
I really don't keep up with the Western Conference that much, to be honest with you.

Q. When you look back, do those first few games of the season when you started a bit slowly, was there any reason for that that you thought of, maybe a short summer or just getting back to competing?
ROD BRIND'AMOUR: Part of it is we weren't as focused. Training camp was not as focused as the year before. Just had a lot of distractions dealing with the season we had, which is fine. That's part of it. You have to enjoy it.
But we had to turn the page. We let it linger a little bit longer than we should have, and we got back on track. Last year's success is behind us now and we've kind of got back to business.
DAVID KEON: Thank very much today for your time.

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