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Guy Behind the Guy: Solid Foundation

Wednesday, 09.30.2009 / 2:11 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Mike Sundheim
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Guy Behind the Guy: Solid Foundation
There was an athlete at today’s news conference who wasn’t there to sign a long-term contract. That doesn’t mean that she wasn’t cheering the day’s big news. For Special Olympics athlete Judy Nutter, sitting in the fourth row of media seating at the event, there was plenty to smile about.

Mike Sundheim
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These days you see Eric Staal and Cam Ward on just about everything that comes out of this building, from ticket stock to marketing pieces. For the second consecutive year, they are on the front and back covers of the team’s media guide. There is obviously a method behind those choices. As of today, the center and goaltender, drafted in the first round in consecutive years by the Hurricanes, are officially signed with the team through the 2015-16 season. By that time, I would expect that our franchise record books will have the names Ward and Staal near or at the top of almost every major category.

While having two cornerstone players wrapped up for that long bodes well for the Hurricanes on the ice, seeing Judy at today’s proceedings reminded me just how proud we can be to have those two men representing this organization.

I’ve never seen Eric Staal turn down a child’s autograph request. Eric and his wife, Tanya, last year hosted 40 non-profit children’s organizations in an all-inclusive luxury suite at the RBC Center, providing each kid in attendance with gifts and a meet-and-greet after the game. This summer, Eric donated 20 full sets of hockey equipment to the Capital City Crew, helping to establish the first NHL Diversity team in the South along with the Kids ‘N Community Foundation and the NHLPA’s Goals and Dreams Foundation.

Cam Ward started Cam’s Champs in 2006, wanting to reconnect locally with an organization he was involved with in Canada during his junior hockey days. Along with his wife, Cody, he committed to donate time and money to Special Olympics North Carolina. Four seasons later, Cam’s Champs continues to be the Wards’ personal effort, from monetary donations to hosting Special Olympics athletes at home games and meeting with them afterwards. Between Cam’s own donations and fan contributions, Cam’s Champs has raised more than $30,000 for SONC over the last three seasons.

So for Judy Nutter, who congratulated Cam after the news conference, today was a good day. She was there to see a hero, though for her it wasn’t all about his highlight reel saves or shutouts. Cam’s dedication to this community, like Eric’s, goes far beyond what he does for a living. Our two stars’ personal commitments to this area – from how they speak about North Carolina as their home to their charitable efforts – make them proud representatives for the Carolina Hurricanes and the Triangle.

And that’s something we can all feel good about.

Media Alerts: Obviously, there will be some Cam Ward coverage tonight. One I did want to highlight is his interview with The Insiders, Mike Maniscalco and Mark Thomas, after today’s presser. That interview is set to air on 99.9 The Fan today at 3:25. The Insiders also caught up with Jim Rutherford, and that will air at 4:25.

Also, after a one-day delay, Tim Conboy will join Bob and the Showgram on G105 on Thursday morning around 7:30 a.m. As I mentioned yesterday, it should be interesting, with the Showgram folks still talking about playing a game called "Wheel-Of Getting Hit With Hockey Pucks from a NHL Player."

Debra Morgan's sit-down interview with Scott and Julie Walker will air Thursday night on the 10 p.m. news on Fox-50 and the 11 p.m. news on WRAL-5.


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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
N. Hanifin 79 4 18 -14 22
J. Slavin 63 2 18 1 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81