Hockey Headlines

Friday, 18 February 2011

Honouring A Regional Great

It's always a great night when a player is remembered for how important he was to a franchise, especially when he made large contributions in bringing greatness to that franchise. Rod Brind'Amour had carved out a pretty good career in the NHL before he got to Carolina, but then led the Hurricanes to new heights as he helped to guide the young squad to a Stanley Cup championship. Tonight, the Carolina Hurricanes paid respect to a respected veteran hockey player, and the Flyers also showed their support of the former Philadelphia Flyer centerman.

Let's go way back to September 22, 1991. A promising young centerman by the name Rod Brind'Amour is traded by the St. Louis Blues, along with Dan Quinn, to the Philadelphia Flyers for defenceman Murray Baron and forward Ron Sutter. It was here that Brind'Amour really blossomed as a player, becoming a high-scoring, defensively-reliable centerman on Philadelphia's second line. Finding himself playing behind Eric Lindros for most of his time in Philadelphia, Brind'Amour became Philly's second scoring option. Known for the great shape he kept himself in, Brind'Amour soon developed the nickname "Rod the bod" around the Philadelphia locker room.

As a result of his playing behind Lindros, Brind'Amour saw a lot of ice-time. In 633 games with the Flyers over nine seasons, Brind'Amour scored 235 goals, added 366 assists, and spent 544 minutes in the penalty box. His leadership was vital, especially in the Flyers' run to the Stanley Cup final in 1997. In 19 playoff games that season, Brind'Amour recorded 13 goals and eight assists. However, his time in Philadelphia would come to an end through another trade.

January 23, 2000 saw the Flyers deal Brind'Amour, goaltender Jean-Marc Pelletier, and a second-round pick in the 2000 entry draft to the Carolina Hurricanes for Keith Primeau and a fifth-round pick in the 2000 entry draft. After playing 12 games with the Flyers in the 1999-2000 season, he was heading south down the coast to Raleigh, North Carolina. It was here that the veteran Brind'Amour really helped pave the way for some of Carolina's current stars such as Eric Staal and Cam Ward.

In 693 games with the Carolina Hurricanes, Brind'Amour continued scoring at a solid pace, but became a much stronger force on the defensive side of the puck as the younger Hurricane players contributed on the scoresheet. He still scored 174 goals, added 299 assists, and spent 398 minutes in the penalty box over his ten seasons with Carolina. In their run to the Stanley Cup, Brind'Amour scored 12 goals and added six assists in 25 games in helping Carolina to their first Stanley Cup championship.

Clearly, Brind'Amour has had some significant impact on two teams during his NHL career. Tonight, the Hurricanes paid respect by having each player wear Brind'Amour's famous #17 on their shoulders. They also wore his name and number on their chests just as they have done for other honoured players such as Glen Wesley. In a classy move, the club also donned Brind'Amour jerseys for the warm-up. While it may have looked like a Brind'Amour family reunion hockey game, the Hurricanes changed into their properly-named jerseys for the game.

The visitors this evening were the Philadelphia Flyers, and they also took to the ice in warm-ups with Brind'Amour jerseys on. While Brind'Amour never actually wore the jerseys seen in these images, it's still a classy move by a franchise that played a large part in Brind'Amour's career. Kudos for the Flyers for actively participating in tonight's honouring of Rod Brind'Amour.

I'm not saying that Brind'Amour is a sure-fire hall-of-famer or anything, but the man could play hockey. He won a Stanley Cup, he has 1000+ career points, and he has hardware behind his name in the Selke Trophy. I think that he's done well enough to be mentioned as a possible name on the nomination list, but is he a HoF player at this time?

Regardless, Brind'Amour will always be remembered by this writer as a great player, a great teammate, and an all-around great person. There may not be a Hall of Fame for athletes who make everyone around them and the teams they play on better, but Rod Brind'Amour could certainly be an inaugural inductee if there was a Hall of Fame like that.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

2 comments:

Terence said...

Teebz,

From the UW standpoint: Why does Carolina have two patches when they retire a player?! One on the right front chest with the player's name and number AND one on the shoulder with the number in a circle?

Never understood that...

TK

Teebz said...

Me neither, Terence. I always thought one was enough, but Carolina has always been a little different. I do like the patch on the chest being the same font and style as the name and on the back, though. That's quite unique.