RALEIGH, N.C. -- Despite being the middle of summer, the Carolina Hurricanes locker room is buzzing with an unusual kind of hockey energy. The players there, for the most part, are not ready for the NHL, draft picks and camp invitees finishing their first day of prospect development camp. They are wide-eyed and enthusiastic, hustling to get ready for a team dinner.
But just outside the dressing area two players clearly are on another wavelength. They are holding court with Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis, who gives the two young men his undivided attention. The scene looks a bit unusual: Two teenage players driving the conversation with a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
The two up-and-comers are brothers Mike Chiasson and Ryan Chiasson. They earned their invitations to camp, just as they did their audience with Francis. Yet if there is the sense Francis is giving extra care to these two players in particular, it's because he is.