By Peter Koutroumpis
RALEIGH, N.C. – If you’ve read recent press clippings, it has appeared like a lot has changed with the Carolina Hurricanes.
However, when you really think about it, not much is different.
With the announcement of former team captain and Stanley Cup winner Rod Brind’Amour as the new head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes on May 8th, it seemed apropos to theme the team’s last month of existence as that of running on a treadmill.
Sure, the workout fiend that Brind’Amour is will fuel lots of energy and movement and enhance a positive attitude among the players both on and off the ice.
However, viewing from the wider lens since the final game of the regular season, this team has expended energy trying to ‘get better’, but with little to show for it so far.
That’s how running on a treadmill works – setting the pace of the belt to cycle how fast or slow you want to go which accommodates where and how you swing your legs to allow your feet to make contact and avoid falling on your face.
You jump off after your defined ‘workout’ time at a specific intensity level ends, look at the numbers on the screen, and feel good that it tells you’ve traveled a certain distance.
The Hurricanes have been busy running the treadmill as majority owner Tom Dundon has changed the look of the front office significantly.
Former executive vice president and general manager Ron Francis was unceremoniously fired and had his contract terminated, and after not finding a desired nor willing external candidate, Don Waddell was announced as team president and general manager last week too.
After former head coach Bill Peters bolted to Calgary, exercising an ‘out’ clause in his contract which appeared to be mutually agreeable with Dundon, Brind’Amour was then named Carolina’s new bench boss.
Thus, a new GM and head coach are the only ‘pieces’ the Hurricanes have changed so far.
Sure, the addition of Rick Dudley and Paul Krepelka as senior vice president and vice president of hockey operations, respectively, were additional moves made to reinforce the front office with the loss of the one-man machine Francis was, but this team is still literally the same.
Yes, I’ve stated the obvious.
Though some drops of sweat might have fallen, an actual distance hasn’t been traveled.
The true journey to be taken will be to make significant changes to the team’s playing roster which to date is still the same.
That’s the news we’re all waiting for.
No fine-tuning or adjusting with prospects, but some hard, gut-wrenching moves of loved veteran players moving out with new ones coming in.
No more facilitating player popularity with fan allegiance via sympathetic marketing and promotions strategies that have been used in the past.
That will only continue to provide the euphoric impression of making progress running on the treadmill with no tangible postseason outcomes – a nine-year trend that must change.
Only until this team and organization is ready to travel a long, hard road, with everyone’s soles hitting actual pavement, and experiencing pain as part of the adaptation-to-change process, will a true distance be covered to a more promised land than where it sits now.
Peter Koutroumpis: 401-323-8960, @pksport