RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Carolina Hurricanes will face the Washington Capitals two weeks from Wednesday for an exhibition game in Toronto and while the phrase "a new normal" is being heard all across the world, the Canes are trying to keep things as normal as possible as they prepare for the start of the postseason.
"We're wearing our masks when we have to wear our masks and when we're working out, we're not," Justin Williams said. "Not much has changed in the room. I've got a big ping pong game with Jaccob Slavin here in a little bit, where I'm going to dust him at, so nothing's really changed in that aspect. But we're doing our workouts, going on the ice, getting our treatment and we're pushing through."
Slavin is up to the challenge.
"I guess after this I'll go battle him out," Slavin said. "I got the last win, so I'd say we battle it out. Mraz is pretty good too. He has his own paddle, without his own paddle he struggles a bit."
The Hurricanes take on the New York Rangers in a best-of-five Stanley Cup Qualifier beginning Aug. 1 in Toronto and depth won't be an issue as they'll have to choose six of their eight defensemen currently practicing.
"It's certainly our strength," said head coach Rod Brind'Amour. "You can't have enough good D. I think we're lucky in that regard. The Rangers have a very, very good offensive team. We're going to have to defend so there's no way around it. Our defense is going to have to drive the boat, there's no way around it."
Williams knows it's all hands on deck.
"I think everyone is under the understanding that we're going to need everybody," Williams said. "Not everybody is going to play right away, but everybody needs to be ready to play. I think it's exciting as far as seeing the group that we have back there, and it's going to be fun every time you get on the ice.
One of the biggest questions going into the postseason is when to start the playoff beard: Before or after the qualifying series?
"I don't know what the protocol is," Williams said. "I don't know how Geek's and Aho's beard have gotten, how Turbo's beard has gotten. At this point it's always been an enjoyable thing to look at and watch and at this point the more successful you are, the more your beard grows. In this day and age in 2020 everybody's got a beard so either everyone is a hell of a hockey player or people are just letting it go so we don't really have a protocol for it. Do what you do."
Slavin is wasting no time.
"I'm starting mine now," Slavin said. "I always have the beard but I figured i might as well start it now to make sure it's looking good for that first round."