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Rod Brind’Amour, making the Spartan Nation proud in the NHL playoffs!

By Eric Fish

           There’s only one thing left on Rod Brind’Amour’s hockey to do list- win a Stanley Cup.

            With the grit and strength that the six-foot-one, 205-pound center exhibits, he could just be the x-factor that the Carolina Hurricanes need to return to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 2002.

           As a youth hockey player, the Ottawa native was always scouted because of his size and offensive potential. Fortunately for Spartan fans, he agreed to play for Ron Mason at Michigan State University in 1988, citing that MSU was a top school for developing young hockey players.

           After a terrific freshman campaign where he scored 27 goals and added 32 assists for 59 points en route to CCHA Freshman of the Year, Brind’Amour left the green and white and signed with the St. Louis Blues, who drafted him ninth overall prior to his freshman year.

           Brind’Amour joined the Blues in time to help them in the middle of their 1989 playoff run, where he scored his first NHL goal on the very first shot he ever took in a professional game.

           Although Brind’Amour opted to forego the remainder of his college eligibility, he continued to return to Michigan State in the summer off-season to continue to pursue a degree in business administration and marketing.

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           Brind’Amour was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers a few years into his NHL career and instantly became a fan-favorite for his work man attitude on the ice in the city of Brotherly Love. With the Flyers, Brind’Amour got the chance to play in the Stanley Cup Finals in 1997, but Philadelphia was swept in four games by the Red Wings.

           After a few more years in Philadelphia, Brind’Amour was dealt to the Carolina Hurricanes in 1999-2000. The Hurricanes were a young franchise at the time and were looking to bring in a veteran to carry the team.

           It didn’t take Brind’Amour long to have the Hurricanes in the Stanley Cup Finals and although they lost to Detroit in 2002, the franchise was clearly headed in the right direction.

           Carolina swapped the “C” on Brind’Amour’s jersey after the NHL re-opened its doors for business and his 31 goals and 70 points in the 2005-06 regular season gave the Hurricanes the ignition and leadership that has crafted them into a championship contender.

           Carolina did away with the Montreal Canadiens in six games to open the playoffs and are now heading into the Eastern Conference Finals against the Buffalo Sabres after downing New Jersey four games to one.

           Now only one task lies in the mind of the veteran power forward – win eight more games and take home the Stanley Cup.