TAMPA -- A day after the fact, the Canes' Dan LaCouture had to shake his head and smile. In his first game for Carolina, he scores the game-winning goal in a 6-4 win over the Florida Panthers in the season opener.
LaCouture didn't have any family or friends at the game at the RBC Center -- they were all in Massachusetts. But he had plenty of voicemails and text messages awaiting him after it.
"Quite a few," he said, breaking into a big grin. "Everyone back home was watching the game. My parents, sisters and brothers and buddies were watching the game on television.
"Even my wife kept my little two-year-old daughter up, even though she doesn't understand fully. But she knew she was watching Dad."
LaCouture found he had little time to respond to all the messages. He had a flight to catch: with the Canes to Tampa Bay.
"I was pretty busy after the game," he said. "Everybody was excited."
LaCouture also had some other post-game duties -- he was surrounded by the media, one of the heroes of the moment. Not bad for guy who came to camp as an unsigned free agent, just hoping to make the team, get a contract, get another shot at the NHL.