Jeff Daniels remembers Rod Brind'Amour's first few days with the Canes in January 2000, when he would give Brind'Amour a ride from the hotel to the RBC Center.
Daniels then was a forward with the Canes and Brind'Amour the newcomer after being traded to Carolina by the Flyers. The drive took them from Crabtree Valley up Edwards Mill Road, through rolling hills and farm land.
"He was such a big name in Philadelphia, well-respected and loved by everybody," Daniels said today. "All of a sudden he was here and it was a shock for him. I remember those first couple of days driving to the rink and him looking around like 'Where am I?' and 'What's going on?'
"But to Roddy's nature, he showed what a professional he was and handled it well. It was 'Here's where I'm at' and 'This is where I'll make my name again.' And he did that."
Brind'Amour made his name again by helping the Canes to the 2002 Stanley Cup finals and by leading the Canes to the Stanley Cup in 2006 as their team captain. He became just as beloved among hockey fans in the Triangle as in Philly for his relentless intensity, leadership and all-around play.
Daniels, now the head coach of the AHL's Charlotte Checkers, stood in the back of the RBC Center room today watching Brind'Amour announce his retirement from the NHL.
"You think of the Hurricanes, you obviously think of Ron Francis and Rod Brind'Amour," he said. "Those are the two guys who really stand out.
"Roddy is such a competitor and true professional. I know it's a tough day for him, but you look back and I definitely think it's a Hall of Fame career. It's something to be proud of."