The Carolina Hurricanes last made the playoffs in 2009, when they finished sixth in the Eastern Conference and made it to the conference finals with seven-game wins against New Jersey and Boston before being swept by Pittsburgh. That season opened on Oct. 10, 2008, with a 6-4 home win against Florida.
On that day• George W. Bush was still president, but Barack Obama and John McCain were locked in what appeared to be a tight election and the world was only days away from meeting “Joe the Plumber.” In North Carolina, Kay Hagan was battling Elizabeth Dole for Dole’s Senate seat and Bev Perdue and Pat McCrory were in a race to take over for Mike Easley as governor.
• Peter Laviolette was still coach of the Hurricanes and not yet the coach of the Philadelphia Flyers or Nashville Predators.
• Paul Maurice was out of work after getting fired by the Toronto Maple Leafs – but not for long.
• Rod Brind’Amour was the Hurricanes’ captain. Eric Staal and Ray Whitney were the alternate captains.
• Bill Peters was getting ready for his first season in professional hockey as coach of the Rockford IceDogs of the AHL, having won Canada’s Memorial Cup junior hockey championship the previous season.
• The new Raleigh Convention Center had been open for a month.
• Future Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy was on the cover of “Sports Illustrated” and Metallica was on the cover of “Rolling Stone.”
• Jake Delhomme was the Panthers’ starting quarterback, coming back from Tommy John surgery on his throwing arm.
• A gallon of milk cost $3.66, a gallon of gas $2.87.
• Haydn Fleury, the Hurricanes’ first-round draft pick in June, was playing youth hockey in Leduc, Sask. He was 12.
• A day after falling below 9,000 for the first time in five years, the Dow Jones Index fell 128 points to 8,451.19, its lowest point since March 2003. The index fell 18 percent that week, with stock markets collectively losing an estimated $2.4 trillion in value in the heart of the global financial meltdown. The Dow Jones is roughly double that today.
• Russell Wilson, T.J. Yates, Thad Lewis and Riley Skinner were the quarterbacks at N.C. State, North Carolina, Duke and Wake Forest. The Tar Heels, who lost to West Virginia in the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte, would end up vacating all eight wins that season because of NCAA violations. N.C. State would lose to Rutgers in the Papajohns.com Bowl in Birmingham, Ala., after losing Wilson to injury. Wake Forest beat Navy in the EagleBank Bowl in Washington.
• Basketball practice was still two weeks away, beginning a season that would end with North Carolina winning a national championship in Detroit with a win against Michigan State. Duke lost in the regional semifinals to Villanova. N.C. State failed to make the postseason and Wake Forest was upset in its opening games of the ACC and NCAA tournaments.