Brind'Amour is ready to move on

Former captain embraces new role

Staff writerAugust 23, 2010 

— "Camp Brind'Amour" cranks up this week at the RecZone, and the namesake will be there.

Rod Brind'Amour has retired from the NHL and intends to remain retired. No Brett Favre silliness for him. But that doesn't mean he won't be lifting weights and won't be willing to put on the skates again, if need be.

The Carolina Hurricanes' informal player workouts get under way today at the RecZone, and there could be a passing of the torch, so to speak, and name change. "Camp Brind'Amour" might become "Camp Rosie," with winger Chad LaRose now the unofficial workout organizer.

"He's one of those guys you can count on being there every day," Brind'Amour said Saturday. "It's not so much what you're doing, it's being out there every day trying to get better.

"I don't know who's going to run it, but I'll still be there. If they need help, I'll do whatever. I'll be there in the gym working out with them beforehand, and if they need someone to coax them through, I'll be there."

It has been a busy few months since Brind'Amour ended his 21st NHL season. After weeks of uncertainty, Brind'Amour and the Canes made a joint announcement June 30 that the versatile center would retire but would remain with the team in a management position.

A few days later, he was remarried. More recently, on Aug. 9, he turned 40.

Now comes the hard part. A new hockey season beckons, and Brind'Amour will not be on the ice - not as a player - when the Hurricanes' preseason training camp opens Sept. 17.

"It's going to be interesting for me," he said. "Right now it doesn't feel any different. I'm still training with the guys in the offseason. I think once the camp comes and I'm not actually going out there, and just watching them, that's going to be tough.

"I'm still involved, which is nice. It keeps me around the guys, which is something I really wanted to do. As we move forward, as for what I'm doing, I'll find my way. It'll be an adjustment."

Brind'Amour refers to his new management role with the team as a "work in progress." But he said he will be working with the younger forwards in the organization -- those on the Canes' roster and those in Charlotte with the AHL Checkers.

"It's the first time I've ever had a player go from playing right into active management and being involved in player personnel and talking about players," Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice said. "He's got good insight, and he's very direct about it.

"It's just how he played: very direct and very honest. So when you ask a question, you get a straight answer. There's no agenda to what he's telling you. He tells you what he believes. He's been a great resource."

Brind'Amour said there has not been a time this summer when the reality of it - that his playing days are over - finally sank in and he second-guessed his decision.

"That's the beauty of it: I don't have any regrets," he said. "Obviously, you can say if this had happened differently or that happened different, who knows what might have happened. But I also look at the other way: What if I wasn't ever given the opportunity I had? I'd never have the memories I have. So I feel very fortunate.

"When that season-opener gets here and I'm not out there, it will be tough. I'm prepared for it."

chip.alexander@newsobserver.com or 919-829-8945

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