Hurricanes Re-Sign Brind'Amour to 3-Year Contract
By JEB BOHN
Sometimes an announcement comes as little surprise while managing to deliver great relief.
The announcement that the Carolina Hurricanes reached an agreement with their head coach—and Jack Adams finalist—Rod Brind’Amour on a new 3-year contract was one that fans expected, though many would be less than truthful if they said they weren’t worried.
Haven't We Been Here Before?
Since taking over as majority owner of the Hurricanes, Tom Dundon has drawn a mixed bag of reactions from the hockey world.
First, his insistence on being a hands-on owner ruffled the feathers of the old-school establishment. The departure of long-time radio voice Chuck Kaiton served to fuel that fire while the loss of TV commentator John Forslund struck with the fiery ferocity of a nuclear warhead.
He’s cheap, they said, an owner who has no grasp of the sport or its inner workings. Instead, Dundon treats the team as what—at its core—it is: a business, and he has plenty of experience there.
Folks bristled when Carolina star Sebastian Aho signed an offer sheet with the Montreal Canadiens. The hockey collective went mad with the fact that Dundon’s perceived cheapness had cost the Hurricanes a phenomenal talent.
Of course, it hadn’t. The Hurricanes matched Montreal’s offer and, while many disliked the path taken, the end result was Aho remaining with the team. You can argue against the tactic but the end result is all that matters.
Then, GM Don Waddell was granted permission to speak with the Minnesota Wild—who had fired Paul Fenton 6 months after Waddell fleeced him in the trade that brought Nino Niederreiter to Carolina.
The same chorus of naysayers popped up shouting the expected negativity. Waddell, naturally, stayed on with the Hurricanes.
In both of those cases, Dundon showed that he was comfortable letting Aho and Waddell gauge their market value. Yes, that’s a bit reductive, but you can bet that Carolina’s owner is adept at getting the most for his money. If he sees what someone is willing to pay and feels that his team’s performance is impacted, he’ll act.
Thankfully, and despite numerous headlines to the contrary, it never came to that with Brind’Amour.
Much Ado About Nothing
I could sit here and say that I was never worried, and that would be mostly true. Brind’Amour has repeatedly stated that this is where he wants to be. He’s been a Raleigh resident for two decades, a timeframe that coincides with his tenures as a player, captain, and coach with the Hurricanes.
This area, this team, mean a lot to him, and when he talks about how much that means to him, he’s direct and earnest.
Still, media outlets couldn’t help themselves in proclaiming that an owner with tight pockets was about to cost the franchise the best coach in their history.
He was going to Philadelphia, the city he played in for 9 years. Then, he was going to the New York Rangers, a rumor that persisted until they hired Gerard Gallant earlier this week.
Perhaps the longest-running speculation was that Brind’Amour would go to Seattle, joining former Hurricanes teammate and GM Ron Francis with the expansion Kraken.
Yet, here we are, the ink drying on a new 3-year pact to keep Brind’Amour behind the Hurricanes’ bench.
No, there shouldn’t be any surprise, given how much he loves the team and the city, and how much the players love playing for him. Remember, this is a team comprised of guys who have repeatedly stated that they would run through a wall for the man.
Rod Brind'Amour: The Fan Perspective
When Rod Brind’Amour first came to the Carolina Hurricanes in January of 2000, fans knew the type of player we were getting: 100% effort, no excuses, baked-in leadership.
Twenty-one years later, those same qualities are what we’ve come to expect from him as a coach.
Brind’Amour long-ago became synonymous with the Hurricanes after spending a decade on the ice and another as a coach in some capacity.
More than that, he is forever etched into the memories of the fans. The images of an exuberant Brind’Amour taking the Stanley Cup before NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman could hand it to him. The sheer joy on his face as he raised it above his head is stitched into the fabric of Hurricanes’ lore.
He is, indeed, right where he belongs.