By Peter Koutroumpis
RALEIGH, N.C. – Nervous and excited were the words Carolina Hurricanes majority owner Tom Dundon used during an interview Tuesday morning on SiriusXM NHL Radio to describe his anticipation of the start of the NHL season.
Answering questions from co-hosts Gord Stellick and Rob Simpson on ‘Stellick and Simmer in the Morning’, the Hurricanes boss pointed out that he felt better about the team’s outlook following a hectic summer of organizational changes.
“It feels better now,” Dundon said.
“I think the way we play – Roddy, we hired Brind’Amour – seems to be one of the better things we’ve done. That part is a lot more fun as the team kind of looks the way he wants it to look. It’s definitely more engaging to be part of now.”
As the Hurricanes finished the preseason with a 5-0-1 record, anticipation for Thursday night’s home-opener has been building.
Sure, it’s the first game of the season, so excitement is high regardless, including from the owner’s perspective.
When the team announced its opening-game roster later in the day, the lineup featured a handful of youthful faces from the organization’s prospect pool, a development that has peaked the interest of many coming out of training camp.
“You kind of feel powerless when you watch, but in terms of the things we’ve done and the way people are prepared, I think the main thing is just feeling content that everyone’s done everything they can,” Dundon said.
“It’ll be the best version of what our team can be. Our players compete. That’s what I’m excited about.”
While having a positive outlook, Dundon also revealed candidly how he’ll likely react if the team’s success doesn’t match expectations.
“I’m really nervous about the result because when things don’t go well, I don’t feel very good. Nobody does.
“That’s the hardest part of this whole thing. You probably aren’t gonna win every game, but it’s more fun when you do.”
Dundon joked and made reference to the possible need to refer to a therapist so as not to overreact when things will not work to his and the Hurricanes’ favor.
“Everybody tells you the same thing, but it still sucks when you’re not doing well,” he said.
“I don’t think that ever changes.”
As to what he’ll be doing on Thursday, he’ll keep it low key during some points, and a little more obvious during others.
For one thing, it won’t be an early morning, at least not looking out onto the ice surface.
That time he’ll save until the opening puck drop.
“I don’t understand why anybody would wanna watch a morning skate – definitely not me,” he said as Stellick and Simmer laughed in response.
“Most of what we’re trying to do is change the brand of the Hurricanes – that’s most of what I spend my time on. How do we bring attention to some of the good things that are going on? That’s probably what I would do the day of a game until it starts.”
From that point, Dundon revealed his likely reactions to winning and losing – points many fans will relate to.
“I’ll watch the game, and when we start losin’ then I’ll go home because I can’t stand there watchin’ them lose. If we’re winnin’, I’ll be there.”
“If they (Hurricanes) win, it’ll be more fun (for the fans) – they’ll be more engaged,” Dundon concluded.
“But, it doesn’t matter how we run the business side of things; if the team’s not fun to watch and winning, they’re not gonna be that engaged.”
Peter Koutroumpis: 401-323-8960, @pksport