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PAUL Maurice is pulling for the man running the Carolina Hurricanes bench, except on nights like Sunday, when he coaches against him.
The Hurricanes are causing some early destruction in the NHL under the tutelage of Rod Brind’Amour, the club’s new head coach, but a mainstay in the organization since the start of the millennium.
The 48-year-old Ottawa product, who played 20 sensational seasons in the NHL and racked up 452 and 1,148 points in tenures with St. Louis, Philadelphia and Carolina, was an assistant coach with the Hurricanes from 2011-18.
The team promoted him in May in a move to halt a nine-year playoff drought.
Brind’Amour played parts of five seasons with Maurice coaching in Carolina, and his first coaching job was as an assistant to Maurice during the 2011-12 campaign.
Speaking Sunday morning, Maurice said Brind’Amour is a natural to be an NHL bench boss.
“I think with Roddy — and I’d put (former Carolina player, assistant coach and general manager) Ronny Francis in that same group — the question is would they want to, not whether they had the capacity (to be a head coach). Roddy was so wired every night for every game, so he would be a person that would have a tremendous amount of experience when his career was done,” Maurice said.
“I’m watching him behind the bench and you look at him and he’s born to do this, right? He’s wired, he loves it, you can tell. When you start the way his team’s started, (hockey) is a really good game and a real enjoyable job.”
Brind’Amour was acquired from the Philadelphia Flyers midway through the 1999-00 season. Known for his passion and dedication on and off the ice — including his reputation as a fitness fiend — Brind’Amour altered the culture of the franchise when he arrived, Maurice said.
“We were not a fit team… I think we had eight guys over 16 per cent body fat when I came in. It was not good. Then, we added, not in order, but Gary Roberts, Martin Gelinas and Rod Brind’Amour and that completely changed our room. Within three years, we were an exceptionally fit team because the players will follow those leaders,” he said.
“(With) Roddy Brind’Amour, 45 minutes after every game you knew exactly where you could find him (in the gym), every single game.”
Brind’Amour captained the Hurricanes to a Stanley Cup championship team in 2006 and won consecutive Franke Selke awards as the league’s top defensive forward (2005-06, ’06-07).
The Jets were the NHL’s most dominant squad on home ice last year, winning 32 of 41 regular-season games staged at Bell MTS Place.
The Central Division team is two-for-two at the downtown arena early in the ’18-19 season, and defenceman Josh Morrissey maintains it’s a trend that needs to persist.
“We want to make this a tough place to play. That’s something we did a good job of last season, and it’s something that’s important in this league,” he said. “Our fans do their part by making it loud, and for us, we have to do our part on the ice.
“It’s big, obviously, looking down the line with a big road trip to Finland and some things like that, so we have to take advantage of six games at home.”
Winnipeg plays every other day this week. Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers visit Tuesday night, the Vancouver Canucks are here Thursday, the Arizona Coyotes come in for an afternoon game Saturday, the St. Louis Blues provide the opposition Oct. 22 and then Auston Matthews, John Tavares and the rest of the Toronto Maple Leafs play the Jets on Oct. 24.
The Jets close out the month in Detroit and Toronto, Oct, 26 and 27, respectively, before they head to Helsinki for a pair of battles with the Florida Panthers as part of the NHL’s Global Series.
Jacob Trouba is playing with a heavy heart following the death of his grandmother recently.
On his Instagram account, Trouba fondly regarded his grandmother as “his biggest fan.”
Condolences to the Jets defenceman, who returned home to Michigan twice over the past week to be with his family, including Friday and Saturday to attend her funeral.
Assistant sports editor
Jason Bell wanted to be a lawyer when he was a kid. The movie The Paper Chase got him hooked on the idea of law school and, possibly, falling in love with someone exactly like Lindsay Wagner (before she went all bionic).