Two ex-Canes will retire soon, one was very popular and one not so much. Darren Langdon came into town from NY back in 2000 to ride shotgun for newly acquired superstar Ron Francis. Darren never scored many points, but it's hard to think of another enforcer who understood his role and followed it better than he did. He never backed away from anyone even the league heavyweights, but never did anything stupid to cost us an unnecessary penalty. I'll never forget the classic 5 minute matchup he had with Rob Ray that seemed to last forever. Off the ice it was impossible to find anyone nicer. He was loved and respected by everyone here, teammates, fans, and management. After he was traded to Vancouver as part of the Marek Malik/Jan Hlavac-Harold Druken deal, I missed seeing his old pickup truck at the practice rink. (don't ask me what he did with it, I doubt it made it to Vancouver!) His teammates missed his team barbecues at his home as well as his infectious personality and sense of humor in the dressing room. The league is missing a unique personality with Darren gone. He's my favorite Newfie! Good luck dude!
Now for the other retiree, Keith Primeau. Keith had 3 good seasons for this franchise, but unfortunately they were during the darkest years. One was during the last year in Hartford, the other 2 during the transition in Greensboro. In hindsight, I can't blame him too much for souring on the Hurricanes, but during a highly publicized, antagonistic contract negotiation, Keith was quoted saying negative things about the area, the fans, and the franchise that many here will never forget. Keith ended up refusing to sign with the Canes and was quoted as saying that he would NEVER play in Carolina no matter how much he was offered. (or something to that affect). Canes management went public with how much they offered Keith and it seemed like a ton of money that he turned down. Keith stuck to his guns and sat out a long period of time, costing him millions before the Canes traded him to the Flyers for Rod Brind'amour. (no complaints here). After he signed with the Flyers for an amount which seemed equal or close to what the Canes had offered him, many fans here were incensed with him. This of course created a grand atmosphere everytime the Flyers played here. Not only did we nickname Keith "primmodonna", we booed him lustily everytime he touched the puck or even stepped on the ice. It used to be one of the games I looked forward to the most, going to see the Flyers and getting to boo Primeau! Life couldn't get better than that!
I gained a new perspective and respect for Keith in recent years though. It's a shame he has to retire under medical related circumstances. I'm sure living with "concusion like symptoms" is not pleasant. I wish him luck and hope he gets over his ailments.
In other news, ex RedWing Jason Woolley was invited to training camp bringing the total training camp roster to 50 players now. TRAINING CAMP STARTS TOMORROW!! Soon, I will take look at the roster and the training camp schedule and a bit later I will make my predictions of who stays and who goes. (So far so good for Brad Isbister!)
I can't close this out without making some type of comment about Wang and the Islanders. I wonder how it feels to be the laughingstock of the league? Signing Ricky D to a 15 year deal is like some weird Saturday Night Live comedy sketch. What makes this move even more mystifying is their previous mistake signing Yashin to his long term, over-priced contract. Maybe Wang feels the only thing wrong with the Yashin deal is that it was too short? I would expect Yashin to be knocking on Wang's door any day now asking for a contract extension!! What's fair is fair!!
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