Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 06/30/10 at 06:33 PM ET
Today, the news came from Raleigh that a lot of people were expecting, but nobody was truly prepared for. Rod Brind’Amour has retired as a player. Apparently, things were totally up in the air until this morning, when Brindy and Jim Rutherford had a talk about the direction of the team. Rutherford said what we all knew. That the team was moving in a different direction on-ice, but that they wanted him around. Maybe Roddy’s been living in a vacuum and he really didn’t know, but he said that he wasn’t sure what was going to happen. Once the team made it clear to him that an off-ice position would be afforded him, the decision was made.
We all knew that this would probably happen, but we still weren’t really “ready” for the moment to come. It’s been ten years, and while the team has certainly had ups and downs, Rod Brind’Amour has never given anything less than 100% to the team. As soon as possible, his number 17 will sail to the rafters of the RBC Center alongside the numbers 10 and 2.
Although I’ve been clamoring for his retirement for more than a year, I don’t think I was really expecting it. The more and more I’ve thought about it this off-season, the more I hoped that he would play out his last season with the announcement that it would be his last. That would allow him to have a Lew Alcindor-esque retirement tour. However, that isn’t the way of Rod Brind’Amour. He’s never craved the spotlight or the accolades or anything like that. He’d rather just quietly go about his work. This is his way. It’s not on his terms, but it’s his way. No big production. Just a simple press conference.
Whenever his sweater retirement ceremony happens, it’ll be the same. Simple.
Even though I’ve asked and begged for Brind’Amour’s retirement, it still hit me like a brick. I was prepared, but I wasn’t really ready. It was a bit painful to watch the press conference when I got home this evening.
The Hurricanes will have some, as yet undetermined, position for Brind’Amour, and he certainly sounds excited about that. As far as I know, the Hurricanes will be on the hook for the full salary cap hit of $3.6M, but $3M in real money. There are reports that the buyout is $2M, but my understanding is that the team doesn’t get the 2/3 deal because the SPC was signed when Brindy was already over the age of 35.
This had to be a difficult time for Brind’Amour, but he displayed a lot of character in accepting this situation and chomping at the bit to stay in the team’s big picture. He wants to stay here, live here, and do whatever the team asks of him. In his words, he’s going to do “more than they ask”
It was really touching to hear the words he said about how this is going to affect him. He talked about the friendships with the guys and how he’s going to miss that. He talked specifically about Chad LaRose, who will take over the role of being the workout freak on the team. The voluntary offseason unofficial workouts will from here on out be “Camp Rosie” instead of “Camp Brind’Amour”
I agree with the move, but there’s still a part of me that wishes he could have ended his career on the ice. We’ll see him skate one last time sometime this season when they send his number to the rafters.
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David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.