'Canes await former coach

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:10 AM ET

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Paul Maurice was unable to guide the Carolina Hurricanes to a Stanley Cup title and was below .500 in his coaching tenure in the organization.

But there is no denying the mark Maurice left on his players here.

Three years to the day since being fired by the Hurricanes, Maurice tonight will coach again in the RBC Center.

"I don't think people give him enough credit for coming in at the age he did, going through the struggles and then having the success," Hurricanes defenceman Glen Wesley said. "Earlier in my career, (the teaching philosophy) was just go.

SYSTEMS

"When I came to Hartford (where the franchise resided before moving to North Carolina), it was more teaching systems. He made everyone better in understanding the game.

"I think most guys in Toronto will find out he is a great guy to play for as long as you are honest with yourself and you play hard every night."

Maurice took the 'Canes to a Cup final in 2002, but the team lost to Detroit. Maurice returns tonight with two Leafs, Jeff O'Neill and Bates Battaglia, who at times gave him headaches on Tobacco Road.

Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette was asked if he is leery of "reunion games."

"I've seen it work both ways," Laviolette said. "There have been times when people come back and they are frozen, and there have been times when they are the first star of the game."


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