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Top 10 Moments of the Decade

Deep playoff run highlights Canes' decade

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

The Carolina Hurricanes roared into the 2020s with momentum unlike the franchise has seen in quite some time.

The turn of the calendar offers us a chance to reflect and revisit some of the best moments from the last decade* of Hurricanes history.

Yes, indeed, the 2018-19 season provided some of the most memorable and lasting moments from the 2010s, but a litany of accomplishments, historical mile-markers, celebrations, honors and more can be found from Jan. 1, 2010, to Dec. 31, 2019.

So, without further ado, here are the top 10 moments of the decade.

10. Peter Karmanos Jr. Inducted Into Hockey Hall of Fame (Nov. 9, 2015)

Peter Karmanos Jr. was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto on Nov. 5, 2015, in the category of Builder, which recognizes individuals who have contributed to the development and growth of the game of hockey.

Karmanos did exactly that with a bold vision for hockey in the Triangle in the late 1990s. Without his foresight, this list might not even exist, but because of Karmanos, the Carolina Hurricanes were born and have since ingrained themselves into the community and state.

"If you think about over the last 20 years, we had a draft here and it was sensational. We had an All-Star Game here and it was sensational. You had a parade here after winning the Stanley Cup," Gary Bettman said in January 2018. "This was all part of Pete's vision as to what NHL hockey could be in North Carolina."

9. Tom Dundon Becomes Majority Owner of the Hurricanes (Jan. 12, 2018)

Karmanos passed the torch to Tom Dundon as majority owner of the Hurricanes in January 2018, ushering in a new era for the franchise.

Video: Tom Dundon: "There is so much to do"

"What we're doing today isn't good enough, and we're going to do better," Dundon said in his introductory press conference. "What I was excited about is they want to do better. Everyone here that works at the arena and works for this team, they're ready. They're ready to do something better than they did yesterday, and I think we can. It's not even a choice. We're just going to do it."

8. Cam Ward Becomes Franchise's Winningest Goaltender (Jan. 24, 2010) & Retires as a Hurricane (Aug. 28, 2019)

With 27 saves on 28 shots in a 5-1 decision against the Boston Bruins on Jan. 24, 2010, Cam Ward backstopped the Hurricanes to his 131st career win, claiming the title as the franchise's winningest goaltender. Ward went on to become the 32nd name on a prestigious list of NHL goaltenders who recorded 300 wins.

Video: Congratulations on your retirement, Cam

Nearly 10 years after becoming the franchise's winningest goaltender, Ward signed a one-day contract to retire as a member of the Hurricanes in late August 2019. The goaltending section of the franchise record book belongs to Ward, who is the all-time leader in regular-season games played (668), minutes played (38,436), wins (318), winning percentage (.557), shutouts (27) and saves (17,261).

7. Hurricanes Open 2010-11 Season with Two Wins vs. Minnesota in Helsinki, Finland (Oct. 7-8, 2010)

The Hurricanes began the 2010-11 season overseas with two games against the Minnesota Wild in Helsinki, Finland. The Canes, backed by hundreds of Season Ticket Holders and fans who made the journey to Europe, won both games, the first by a 4-3 score and the second 2-1 in the shootout. Tuomo Ruutu, who lived just a few minutes from Hartwall Arena, Jussi Jokinen and Joni Pitkanen highlighted the Canes' Finnish representation in their home country.

Oh, and a 13-year-old Sebastian Aho was there to witness it.

6. Jeff Skinner Wins Calder Memorial Trophy (June 22, 2011)

Jeff Skinner became the first player in franchise history to be named the league's top rookie as the winner of the Calder Memorial Trophy in June 2011. Selected seventh overall by the Canes in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Skinner ranked first among league rookies in points (63), second in assists (32) and third in goals (31) in the 2010-11 season.

5. Hurricanes Win Second Draft Lottery (April 28, 2018), Select Andrei Svechnikov Second Overall (June 22, 2018) & The Svech, Vol. I (Oct. 29, 2019) and II (Dec. 17, 2019)

14, 5, 1, 2. That lottery ball combination vaulted the Hurricanes from 11th to 2nd in the 2018 NHL Draft order, and with the second overall pick, the team's first since 2003, the Canes selected Russian forward Andrei Svechnikov.

Since then, Svechnikov, still just 19 years of age, has totaled his jersey equivalent in goals (37) and 75 points in 122 games.

Video: CGY@CAR: Svechnikov scores lacrosse-style goal

And, two of his 37 goals stand out above the rest. We call it "The Svech," a lacrosse-style goal that no other player in NHL history has been able to successfully execute. The Canes' Russian teenager has done it not just once, but twice.

Video: CAR@WPG: Svechnikov nets second lacrosse-style goal

That's just Svech doing Svech things.

4. Hurricanes, Raleigh Host 2011 NHL All-Star Weekend (Jan. 29-30, 2011)

All eyes in the NHL were on Raleigh in late January 2011, as the Canes and the city hosted NHL All-Star Weekend. The weekend featured the first All-Star player draft, as Team Staal faced off against team Lidstrom. Jamie McBain, Jeff Skinner, Eric Staal and Cam Ward represented the Canes in the star-studded and highly praised event.

3. Stanley Cup Playoff Hockey Returns to Raleigh (April 2019)

"We're in! We're in! Yes! Yes! Woo!"

In an emotional outburst of seven words in a postgame interview, Petr Mrazek somehow captured the unadulterated elation of a fanbase that had not experienced the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 10 long years.

Video: Petr Mrazek: "We're in!"

It took a belief. It took a three-month grind. It took 31 wins in their final 45 games. But the 2018-19 Hurricanes did it. From another seemingly lost season in late December, the Canes surged right up the Eastern Conference standings and ended the league's longest active playoff drought with a 3-1 win over the New Jersey Devils in the final home game of the regular season.

That moment in itself was magical enough.

"The wait is over. Finally! The Carolina Hurricanes are on their way to the Stanley Cup Playoffs!" John Forslund called as time expired.

The buzz around the Triangle only grew over the following week, all building to a Monday night at PNC Arena, nearly 10 years removed from the last time playoff hockey graced the city.

Emotions were raw. The energy was thunderous and unmatched. As the puck dropped in Game 3 of the First Round, a deafening din engrossed the rink and fueled the Hurricanes to strike back in a series they would eventually win.

Video: Hurricanes stifle Capitals to trim series deficit

"The crowd was unbelievable," Dougie Hamilton said after Game 3. "It was one of the loudest buildings I've ever played in. Just so fun."

2. Hurricanes Sweep Islanders in 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs Second Round (April-May 2019)

The Hurricanes earned their first ever best-of-seven playoff series sweep after dispatching the New York Islanders in the Second Round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Just two days after a thrilling, emotional ending in their seven-game First Round series, the Canes had to jump right back in against a team that had been sitting idle for around a week.

Video: Hurricanes advance to ECF with sweep of Islanders

The Canes took Game 1 in Brooklyn, a 1-0 final in overtime. Then, the Canes edged the Islanders, 2-1, in Game 2. After a pair of 5-2 wins back in Raleigh, the Canes were one of two teams left standing in the Eastern Conference.

"Our goal wasn't to be one of the four teams remaining. Our goal was to keep playing and be the best team," Brind'Amour said after Game 4. "I don't think too many people expected us to be here, but we did. I know that's easy to say now because we're here, but that's the truth. … This is great and we're super excited, but there's more."

1. Hurricanes Top Defending Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals in Double Overtime of Game 7 in 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round (April 24, 2019)

In the most dramatic of ways, the Hurricanes knocked off the defending Stanley Cup champions in the First Round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Game 7. Enemy territory. A two-goal deficit in regulation. Double overtime. Victory.

Justin Williams threw the puck toward the net, where Brock McGinn positioned himself to get a stick on it and deflect it past Braden Holtby.

Video: CAR@WSH, Gm7: McGinn scores in 2OT to win series

Elation for the Canes. McGinn tossed his hands in the air and jumped up and down. His teammates spilled off the bench. The Canes' celebration pile quieted the stunned crowd in The District.

What a game, what a series and what a moment, one forever cemented in Canes lore.

"We battle. This is a special team. Everybody in here works for each other, and everybody respects Rod so much. We'd go through a wall for him," McGinn said after the game. "We're jelling right now and having fun. This is a big step for us."

"I don't know what else to say about this group. I've been saying it all year. They just don't quit," Brind'Amour said. "We've got great leadership. In overtime, you saw it come through. Just really proud of this group. This is a special group, and I'm glad to be a part of it."

***

There are, of course, plenty of moments that didn't make the cut for this list. Among them in no particular order: Eric Staal is named captain, Brind'Amour's jersey retirement, Brind'Amour is named head coach, Williams signs with the Canes (and is named captain), the Storm Surge, Bryan Bickell's impactful season and emotional finish, Jorge Alves logs 7.6 seconds in the NHL, the Canes acquire Jordan Staal in a blockbuster deal and the Canes see late(r)-round draft successes with Aho, Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce, to name a few.

* Decade purists and Farmers' Almanac readers, I'm heading this off at the pass. There seems to be a debate on when a decade begins and ends, because of course there is. Here's how I look at it: When referring to the '90s, we're talking about 1990-99, not 1991-2000. Likewise, when referring to the past decade, we're talking about 2010-2019, the 2010s, as it were. The next decade does not begin in 2021. I apologize for nothing. Cheers to a new year and decade.

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