Every so often, I come across a stat that makes me do a double take. Not necessarily because I don’t believe the person or team it is referencing isn’t capable of accomplishing the specific feat, but because it serves as a reminder that I am likely taking the person or team’s accomplishments for granted.
That happened on Monday night after the Hurricanes downed Philadelphia, 3-2, for their third straight win.
The victory marked Rod Brind’Amour’s 500th and 501st point as head coach, as he has tallied a record of 232-111-37 in 380 games.
Only three head coaches reached the 500-point mark faster, and only 10 games separate Brind’Amour from the coach to accomplish the feat the fastest. Dan Bylsma (370 games), Don Cherry (377 games), and Toe Blake (379 games) each reached the achievement quicker than Brind’Amour.
To put the stat and it’s rarity into context, Bylsma last coached in the NHL during the 2016-2017 campaign, while Cherry retired from coaching in 1980 and Blake finished his coaching career in 1968.
Brind’Amour had yet to be born when Blake retired and he was only nine years old when Cherry coached his last game.
Scotty Bowman, the NHL’s winningest coach with 1,244 victories, and the other 26 winningest coaches in NHL history were slower to achieve the 500-point mark than Brind’Amour.
Since taking over in Raleigh ahead of the 2018-2019 season, Brind’Amour has done nothing but succeed.
The Hurricanes have reached the playoffs in all five seasons, including reaching the Eastern Conference Finals in Brind’Amour’s first year and this past season. Only Boston (7 seasons), Toronto (7 seasons), Tampa (6 seasons), and Colorado (6 seasons) have longer playoff streaks.
A Central Division title during the COVID-impacted 2020-2021 campaign, where Brind’Amour earned the Jack Adams Award, and back-to-back Metropolitan Division titles have Carolina with the opportunity to win a fourth-consecutive divisional crown this season.
Yes, the Hurricanes were certainly given respect from national media members and pundits heading into this season. In turn, that highlights the success and ability of Brind’Amour as a coach, but he deserves his flowers and more.
With a plethora of injuries to begin the season, Carolina sat at 3-4, their first time being under .500 since Dec. 31, 2018, just 38 games into the Brind’Amour era. Of course, a slow start is not ideal, but the fact that the Hurricanes had not been below .500 in close to five years is unheard of for the organization.
As a player, helping guide Carolina to their first Stanley Cup in 2006 and winning the Selke Trophy in back-to-back seasons etched his name in Canes’ lore, but, as the head coach, he’s not only brought them back to relevance, but has them as a Stanley Cup favorite.
Prior to Brind’Amour taking over, Carolina had missed the postseason for nine consecutive seasons, winning no more than 36 games in all but one campaign.
Now, they have tallied their two highest point totals in back-to-back seasons, setting the franchise record with 116 in 2022 and following that up with 113 this past season. For reference, the Hurricanes finished the regular season with 112 during their Stanley Cup run, a then-record.
The COVID-19 pandemic shortened the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 campaigns by a total of 40 games, likely preventing Brind’Amour from reaching the 500-point mark in his fifth season and Carolina from currently sitting at three straight 100-point seasons.
As a member of the Carolina Hurricanes Hall of Fame, the organization and those in the city of Raleigh recognize the impact of Brind’Amour to the franchise, but he deserves even more than recognition at the team level.
However, he is a member of the Flyers’ Hall of Fame as of 2015, proving his value to more than just one NHL franchise.
The Hall of Fame discussion is a conversation for another day, but it is another indictment on how disrespected the 53-year old has been at times throughout his career.
Peter Laviolette will always be held in high regards in Raleigh for coaching Carolina to their only Stanley Cup, and rightfully so, but Brind’Amour appears to be well on his way to the best coach, and figure, in franchise history.
While he is in the midst of the final year of his deal, letting him leave Raleigh is simply not an option for Don Waddell and the Carolina front office.
Rod Brind’Amour deserves his flowers and his impact on the Canes, specifically resurrecting the franchise as a head coach, cannot be understated.