Raleigh, NC - It was quite the day for Rod Brind'Amour. In the morning, Brind'Amour signed a three-year contract extension to remain the Carolina Hurricanes head coach through the 2023-2024 season.
In the evening, he won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's top coach in the 2020-21 season.
Brind'Amour led the Canes to a record of 36-12-8 during the regular season, earning the team its first Division championship since 2006.
Brind'Amour, Carolina head coach since the 2018-2019 season, has amassed a record of 120-66-20 in the regular-season campaigns. He's also led the team to three straight postseason appearances and posted a 17-17 record in the playoffs.
Carolina General Manager Don Waddell said contract negotiations went smoothly.
"I put this one on the easy side--because of the relationship we have," Waddell said. "When you're around the group and around Rod, like I am, you build a relationship. You can sit down and talk about anything...So, it's just a matter of coming to a deal from a financial end. Obviously, Tom [Dundon] was very supportive of it and involved."
Waddell also addressed rumors that Brind'Amour held out for additional money for support personnel, including assistant coaches, trainers, and equipment staff.
"We talked, early on, that it was important to get [all of the staff] done," Waddell said.
"We have a special group down here," Brind'Amour said. "And for me to do this job to the best of my ability, it's important for me to have the right people around me...I know we have great training staff, equipment people, coaches. So that's why I think it took so long--there were a lot of people that we had to figure out."
Looking back on the last year, Brind'Amour talked about what he and the players took from the season.
"Yeh, you learn a lot. If you're not learning from your failures--if you want to call it that--you're in big trouble. I think what we learned was to beat the best team; you can't beat yourself. The teams that win the Stanley Cup are not making mistakes; they're comfortable when the game is uncomfortable."
When Brind'Amour was asked if he would want a 30-goal scorer--even if the player was unwilling to buy into the system--Brind'Amour made it clear that the system trumps other considerations.
"If he scores 30, but he doesn't fit our group, that's not a guy we're really even going to entertain. That's one of the thing I love about the job I'm doing is that's the relationship we have and the communication we have. We're trying to build the culture here; we want 20 guys in here that get it and fit. If that guy doesn't fit, we don't want him."
And just like Brind'Amour insisted that his players need to fit his system, Brind'Amour feels his system is best suited to the Hurricanes organization and to Raleigh.
"I would have a hard time thinking I could do the same job I'm doing here somewhere else," Brind'Amour said. "This [place] is a part of me. I've been here forever. Again, it's more about the people that I get to come to work with every day. That wouldn't be the case somewhere else."
Now, with a contract extension in hand, Brind'Amour will look to lead Carolina to that next step--winning the Stanley Cup.
How realistic a chance the team has to win it all next year will depend on how he and general manager Don Waddell navigate a busy summer--with the NHL entry draft, the Seattle expansion draft, and free agency all rapidly approaching.
"We have seven unrestricted free agents," Waddell said. "I'm going to focus on players; how do we make our team better? What moves do we need to make? Which guys do we need to sign? As I said, there's seven unrestricted guys. So, those decisions will start happening in the near future."