There is nothing I can say about Ronnie Franchise that hasn't been said before and more eloquently than I ever could. He is a paragon of class, a model of leadership and a perfect example of what a teammate, brother and father should be. While he won two Cups with the Penguins, he spent the majority of his career with the Whaler/Canes and holds the franchise record in all offensive categories. He will, without ever having received fanfare, enter the Hall of Fame with the second most assists (1249) in NHL history, the 21st most goals (549) and the fourth most points (1798).
TSN, NHL.com, The Raleigh News & Observer all chime in about Francis. As always, Luke Decock's piece in the N&O is well worth the price of admission. Also check out the list of 151 different players Ronnie gave goal assists to. Jaro Jagr tops that list with 110 assists received. Then there's the list of 157 different goalies he scored against. St. Patrick Roy tops that list with 16 goals against.
The induction ceremony starts at 7:30. So does the game. The game will be nationally televised on Versus, while the induction ceremony will be on the NHL Network. While NHLN has made it into the Raleigh market, it has unfortunately not made it into my market. I won't be able to watch. I guess I'll catch the tape of it later.
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes will be in South Florida for the first time since Halloween night, when the South Florida reporters complained about diving, and referee Brad Watson responded by whistling the Canes for two diving penalties. Carolina lost that game 4-2, but returned home to beat the Panthers by the same score in Raleigh three days later.
This time, the Panthers writers are mum. They're too busy moaning about the Panthers recent losses to the Thrashers (4-1) and the Lightning (3-1).
Ray Whitney enters the game with a nine game points streak.
Brett McLean and Richard Zednick are out for the Panthers. In their stead, they have called up Stefan Meyer and Tanner Glass from Rochester. Carolina only wishes that Olli Jokinen were out. He's been lethal against Carolina, and will be their #1 concern.