On Saturday, Oct. 5, 2018, in Columbus, head coach Rod Brind'Amour talked about battling back and responding and building after the Carolina Hurricanes topped the Blue Jackets 3-1 for their first win in what would turn out to be a memorable season.
As Brind'Amour turned to walk back to the coaches' office, his team hollered to bring him back to the locker room. Jordan Staal, then an alternate captain, stood up.
"Just want to say, Roddy, well done leading us for this first win here," Staal said, as he handed his head coach the game puck.
Two-and-a-half years and 99 wins later, Staal, now captain, handed off another game puck to Brind'Amour after the Canes rallied to score four unanswered goals and beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-2 on Thursday night at PNC Arena.
"This one's for Roddy," Staal said.
"The guys gave me the puck after, and I was like, 'What for?' Then they told me. I had no idea. That was nice of them," a humble Brind'Amour said in his postgame Zoom interview. "It's 100. I mean, what's the top guy got? Like, a couple thousand? Peanuts in the grand scheme of things. It was nice of the guys to recognize it."
Brind'Amour is never one to shine the spotlight on himself - after all, following his first win he said, "I just stood back there and yelled" - so forgive the head coach for shrugging off the milestone, even though it's noteworthy in itself and also in the fact that he's the fastest coach in franchise history to reach the century win mark, doing so in 173 games. That also equals the 12th fewest games in NHL history to garner 100 wins.
Though he might bristle at the suggestion or deflect praise to the group of 20 on the ice, Brind'Amour's role in the success of the Canes since he assumed the role of head coach cannot be understated. As a respected veteran of the league, as someone who still possesses an unparalleled work ethic in everything he does and as a compelling and captivating speaker, Brind'Amour is the driving force behind the culture change within the organization that he led to a championship in 2005-06.
Because he is so good at the job, he makes it look easy, even if it's anything but.
"Man, it's not good for you, I don't think, this coaching thing," he chuckled. "It can't be healthy."
What is healthy is the state of the Canes. Brind'Amour captained the Canes to a franchise-best start in 2005-06. He's coached the team to one better with a 16-6-1 record through 23 games in 2020-21.
100 wins down and many more undoubtedly to come.
"Roddy has done an amazing job ever since he took over. The guys would run through a wall from him, and he would do anything for us, as well," Staal said in his postgame television interview. "It's been awesome playing for him, and we're looking forward to a lot more wins."