Last week, Keith Primeau announced his retirement from hockey. The 34-year old failed to receive medical clearance to play after suffering post-concussion symptoms going all the way back to last October. He had been banged up and concussed a number of times before, but this time he couldn't shake the cobwebs.
The former Whalers/Hurricanes captain played his last NHL game on October 28, 2005 against the Hurricanes. That game, by the way, was one of the most exciting games I've ever been to. Heck, it's one of the most exciting games I've even heard about. Carolina fell behind 2-0 and later found themselves down 5-3. The Canes won the game 8-6, and it would be what many Caniacs called a "classic" and a "defining game". Indeed the Canes showed a tremendous amount of character in that game.
Here's an excerpt of my game summary:
I can't begin to give all the details about this game. I can say, though, that I haven't seen such excitement since we made our 2002 run to the Stanley Cup Finals. Okay... I take it back. I was on Franklin Street after UNC won the National Basketball Championship this year, but that's different. Seriously, though, the building was electric. It was good to see it that way again. It hasn't been like that in a looooong time.
One of the best things was that the "pouting petulant prima donna" also known as Kieth Primeau was a minus three and had no points while our end of that trade, Rod Brind'Amour, was a plus three and had a goal and an assist. To make that even sweeter, Justin Williams (another former Flyer) assisted on Brindy's goal and was himself assisted by Brindy on a lovely goal from a faceoff in the second period. Actually, Primeau only had one shot on goal -- a breakaway chance in the first period during which he was booed thunderously. Later in the game, pockets of fans throughout the arena chanted "Pree-mo ... pree-mo ... pree-mo .... YOU SUCK!" It's way more fun chanting this at a skater than it is at a goalie.
To read the game summary in its entirety, go here.
Seriously, though. I need to thank Keith Primeau.
First and foremost, while wearing a Hartford Whalers sweater during the 1996-97 season, Keith Primeau provided generations of future hockey fans with one of the funniest/dumbest/most confusing things that has ever happened in the NHL. He fought his own brother. Wayne, playing for the Sabres, was a little rough with Whale goaltender Sean Burke. Keith stepped in, and they went at it. You can click here or simply click the embedded player above to see the video of the fight.
More than that, though, I need to thank Keith for his pouting, his petulance in the fall of 1999. Had he not been a whiny prima donna, had he not held out, the Canes would have never made the trade for Rod Brind'Amour, and we might not have a Cup in Carolina right now.
So Keith.... Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.