I went over to the RBC last night to check out how the Carolina Hurricanes first "Fun Fest" was going. I'm not very good at guessing the number of heads in a crowd, but if I had to make a guess I would say that there were probably a few hundred people in attendance.
While the crowd looked a bit sparse at times, the food lines were long at the beginning and the "freebie" line was very long most of the night. The Canes were giving out posters and wooden street hockey sticks almost the entire time I was there. (I left after the Q&A segment.)
Everyone seemed to be having a good time and most importantly, the ticket agents looked like they were pretty busy. Yes, some people were buying season tickets.
John Forslund came out as scheduled at 8PM and started out by interviewing Tom Barrasso and Glen Wesley, then Chad LaRose and Justin Williams, and then finally Peter Laviolette. Some of the highlights-
- Tom Barrasso gave his assessment of the goalies. He is very happy with each of them and is expecting a big year this coming season from both Leighton and Ward. The organization has been very impressed with Daniel Manzato's development and he will be the main man in Albany this year. Justin Peters will also play for the Rats and they feel that with proper seasoning, he is NHL capable.
- Glen Wesley is enjoying retirement and is looking forward to his new role with the Hurricanes this coming season.
- Chad LaRose was a joker as usual. He mentioned that he was very happy with his contract and wanted to stay a Hurricane. When asked if he could guarantee the playoffs this year, he answered with a resounding yes, but then went on to guarantee that Justin Williams would have 40 goals this year as well.
- Justin Williams said that he is feeling fine and that he has been skating and working out. He's ready to play right now. Justin and his wife recently had a baby boy, "Jaxon" in early July. There were no guarantees of 40 goals by Williams.
- Peter Laviolette said that losing to Florida on the last night of the season and missing out on the playoffs literally made him sick to his stomach. He believes that the whole team, as well as the entire organization will be hungrier than ever for success this coming year. When asked for possible line combinations, he was very vague, but seemed to like the combo of Ruutu and Staal with either Whitney or Samsonov. When asked about Wade Brookbank, he said that barring any roster changes, he would expect both Brookbank and Tim Conboy to make the squad this year. He also mentioned that training camp will begin on September 19th.
There is not much more to report, that I can remember. Here is a brief video that shows the beginning of the question and answer segment. I still need practice with my camera. TGIF!
P.S. The rumor on Lord Stanley's Blog concerning Nic Wallin yesterday was false. Wallin actually contacted Luke to inform him of that fact. Weird. More about that later on The Hockey News blog.