It will be a special but slightly unusual night for the Canes and Rod Brind’Amour on Monday in Philadelphia.
Brind’Amour, now an assistant coach for a Carolina team he helped win the Stanley Cup, will be honored Monday night by a team that didn’t win the Cup when he was there.
The Flyers, in a pregame ceremony at Wells Fargo Center, will induct Brind’Amour into the team’s Hall of Fame. Before being traded to Carolina on Jan. 23, 2000, Brind’Amour spent parts of nine seasons and played 633 games with the Flyers, finishing with 601 points, scoring 235 goals and setting a consecutive-game playing streak for the franchise with 484 games.
“It’s tough to put into words,” Brind’Amour told the Philadelphia media Monday. “It’s been a long time since I played here. It is a special honor. Philadelphia meant so much to me as a player, playing as long as I did. It’s still a big part of me.”
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Brind’Amour, 45, noted it seemed his name often was brought up in trade speculation while with the Flyers. In January 2000, he said trade talk was fairly quiet, saying, “They kind of told me I’d be OK.”
And then he was traded. The Flyers sent Brind’Amour to the Canes for Keith Primeau. Brind’Amour also was at a loss for words when he first spoke to the media in Raleigh.
“I get it. It’s a business,” Brind’Amour said Monday. “Not many players get to play in one place. It’s a business. It’s worked out for everybody.”
Brind’Amour succeeded Ron Francis as captain of the Hurricanes and lifted the Stanley Cup in 2006. He retired as a player in June 2010, had his No. 17 jersey retired by the Hurricanes and has been an assistant coach for the Canes under Kirk Muller and Bill Peters.
“When I first got into this I thought coaching would be easy,” he said. “But you get behind the scenes, see all the preparation that goes into it …”
In reflecting on his time with the Flyers, he said an early memory was the 1992 NHL All-Star Game at the Spectrum in Philadelphia and the “elation” he said he felt going on the ice. His biggest regret, of course, was not winning a Cup.
While Flyers fans — and Philly fans in general — can be brutally tough on both the home team and visitors, given the way the games are going, Brind’Amour said he had a good relationship with Flyers fans.
“The crowd demands a lot out of you, but if you gave an honest effort every night they left you alone,” he said.
Brind’Amour gave the effort, on and off the ice. And he said he was thankful the fans kept him “on his toes.”
“You couldn’t have a few games where you didn’t play well,” he said. “As a player that’s what you want.”
As a player, Brind’Amour was what Flyers fans wanted, even without a Cup.