Section 328’s Q&A with Scott Darling
On the most recent episode of Cheaters Never Win, we were fortunate enough to be joined by new Carolina Hurricanes’ goaltender Scott Darling. You’ve probably picked up on the fact that we’re excited to have him on the team, and we have hope that he’ll help get us back to the playoffs. That said, we were even more impressed with just how personable Scott seems to be on topics from work ethic to his favorite SPF. Enjoy!
Section 328: You knew you wanted to come to Carolina. What was it about this team, this franchise, the way they play that made you want to be the backstop for the Carolina Hurricanes?
Scott Darling: There were a lot of factors that went into it. It’s a great team, up and coming. They’re so close already, and it excited me to be a part of building the team back up to where you want it to be, a playoff contender. I’m excited for that challenge. Then once you get past the hockey part, everyone I talk to has nothing but great things to say about the people in the organization. Once I got to talk to them, that reaffirmed everything. Everyone was awesome to me throughout the process. Raleigh is a great city, in a beautiful part of the country, and I’m excited about all of it.
328: Does having former teammates (e.g. Teravainen, Nordstrom) in Raleigh make the transition to a new team easier?
Darling: Yeah, it does and it definitely helped put my mind at ease during the process. I didn’t want to go in blind. I was lucky enough that Joakim and I are still really tight, Bicks and I, and Turbo (Teravainen), so I can really get a player’s perspective of what it’s like for them on a day-to-day basis, how everything runs. They reaffirmed what I’d already heard and what I wanted to hear from an actual player’s perspective. They said it’s great, everyone’s great, they love loving there, the team is a great group of guys. They didn’t have to sell me much, but they did.
328: Which member of the current Chicago Blackhawks roster are you most looking forward to absolutely stoning on a breakaway?
Darling: That would have to be Kaner (Patrick Kane). Me and Kaner, we’d battle a lot at practice, sometimes he’d score on me. He loves scoring on me. He’s done it enough in practice, so it’ll be interesting to go against him.
328: For Canes for who are excited for you to arrive, but haven’t had a chance to watch you much in Chicago, can you tell us a little bit about goaltenders you emulate your style after?
Darling: I do think the way I play is a little bit unique. I like to say I’m in the middle of Ben Bishop and Pekka Rinne. Where Ben is a little, he’s big positionally, but he’s quiet and calm, and Rinne is really reactive and makes those acrobatic saves, I try to fall in the middle because I’m not as calm as how Bishop plays. I do rely on some athleticism and reaction. I try and take away space, I guess. Obviously I like to stop pucks, I like to play the puck.
328: You’re in a unique position in that the Hurricanes do not currently have a goaltending coach. Are you going to get any input in the goaltending coach decision? What do you look for in a good goaltending coach?
Darling: I dunno. I’ve had success with prior goalie coaches who were like an energetic, goalie nerd type person, like I am. I love to talk about goaltending and watch other goalies, and kinda be a student of the game, so that would be ideal for me. I think I’m easy to work with. I dunno if they’re gonna ask my input or anything, I’m sure they’re very busy right now with everything going on with the expansion draft. So, we’ll see where it goes.
328: After Ron Francis signed you to your new contract, there’s been the expectation among fans that you’re going to be the starting goaltender for the Carolina Hurricanes. As you’ve been behind Crawford, or not played a starter’s chunk of games, is your preparation going into next year any different?
Darling: No, not really. For me, I’ve kind of always done the same thing every summer, same routine. I’ve always prepared like I’m going to play 82 games, obviously that hasn’t been the case. But, I think the preparation for 82 games is why I was ready when I got the call or when I didn’t know I was going to be playing. You just prepare like you’re going to play every game. As for (being the starter), there’s still a lot of work to be done. There’s two other great goalies in Raleigh. Nothing’s handed to you and I’m excited for the challenge. I can’t wait to get started.
328: It’s obvious that you like to be really involved in the community. After the Blackhawks were eliminated, you were active with the Special Olympics. How do you plan to get ingrained in the community here, and what are some of your favorite charities?
Darling: You know, I’ll have to figure out what’s out there. I wouldn’t say that I’ve linked on with a specific charity, but I’m always very open to help where I can. Whatever I can do to help. I’ll see who the Canes work with, and what I can do to help.
328: You signed a very nice contract for yourself this offseason. What’s the first thing you bought afterwards?
Darling: I haven’t bought anything. Everyone asks me that. I went to Austin this past weekend, so I had a little bit of a trip. It’s still kind of shocking to me that it’s a real thing, so it hasn’t really set in yet. I’ve never really had this ability, so I’ve learned to live a modest life, I guess you could say. Whether it’s playing in the Southern Pro league or playing in the East Coast league and all the sudden this happens. I try and keep it cool, not go crazy.
328: What would your signature food item be?
Darling: Oh, jeez. That’s a tough one. Italian sandwich. That’s my go-to. With provolone, that’s what always comes on there.
328: Beard oil or au naturale?
Darling: Au naturale.
328: What’s the one food we should eat while we’re in Chicago?
Darling: If you’ve never had it, you’ve gotta go to Portillo’s and get a hot dog. It’s a staple. No ketchup. We don’t do that. Make sure you get the celery salt on there. That’s why it’s so good.
328: For the ginger members of our audience, your favorite SPF?
Darling: The highest I can find. 115, whatever I can get my hands on.
328: Any last thoughts for Caniac Nation?
Darling: I probably sound like a broken record, but I’m just excited. I can’t wait to get there. Everyone I’ve met has been so great. Can’t wait to officially become a Hurricane and just get it started.