June 20, 2006
When Rod speaks ...
By ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun
RALEIGH -- When it looked like the world and the series were crashing down all around them, captain Rod Brind'Amour called the Carolina Hurricanes together for an 11th hour summit meeting.
It wasn't fire and brimstone, but when Brind'Amour talks, his teammates listen. And his passionate speech about sticking together and believing in themselves hit home. The Canes responded with their best game of the series in a Stanley Cup clinching 3-1 Game 7 win.
"Since Game 5 there was a great big lump in my chest," said the veteran leader. "You know what's at stake. When you have so many guys that just deserve it and you want it so bad, not just for yourself but for the guys sitting beside you, your dad, your kids, guys that have been with you, your friends. There's so many people pulling for you. It's exhausting, really.
"We have been through a lot. So many guys on this team that just (waited), I mean, years. All the ache.
"You talk about Wes (Glen Wesley). I have been teammates with him for a long time. I've seen the injuries that he's played through, and I sit with him on the plane and we never talk about them.
"After Game 6, I just kept thinking there is just no way we can let this go. There's too many guys who deserve this. I guess it all came to a head, all the emotion."
Brind'Amour, who had a couple of failed attempts to win the title with Philadelphia, wasn't about to let it happen again.
"That was part of it. The fear of losing motivates you a lot of times. It was just no way we were going to lose."
A lot of Canes have waited a long time to finally win a Cup, Brind'Amour's 17 seasons top the list.
"It's just surreal," said the 38-year-old centre. "It has been a big weight on everybody's shoulders. It just kind of came to a head when I realized that we were going to win. It's tough to explain, to be honest with you."