Canes owner talks tough after team continues playoff drought

RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) -- Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon was crystal clear on what needs to be evaluated from an organizational standpoint after a ninth-straight season with a playoff appearance:


On his enormously long to-do list:

  • find a GM to replace Ron Francis;

  • decide whether coach Bill Peters stays on board;

  • and figure out what his roster needs to win more hockey games.

"I think it needs a major shakeup," Dundon said. "Either the players have to be tougher or you have to bring in tougher players. I'll take either one as long as we get that same result."

Dundon does not anticipate splashing money at shiny new toys on the free agent market.

"It's foolish, it's not the plan," said the tough-talking Texan. "It's not going to be part of the plan regardless of how much money you've got."

Peters has a clause in his contract that could allow him to jump ship. Dundon said he believes Peters did a "good job" and lumps him in the same category as the players and management.

"Everyone has to do it different if they want to be part of the way I want to do things," Dundon said. "He's still the coach of the team, and we want him to be better."

Veteran Justin Williams, brought on to help push this team over the last hurdle, was the most candid in a locker room being cleaned out for the summer.

"It's a complete disappointment," Williams said. "Standing here right now and watching the ice get melted and scooped up, it hurts. It stinks."

One glaring issue was the play of goaltender Scott Darling, who finished the season ranked 45th in goals against at 3.18 per game and with a meager 13 wins.

That's not close to what he or Francis had in mind in his first stint as the No. 1 guy.

"I wanted to do so well being new here and it was kind of like quicksand," Darling said. "The harder you fight, the faster you sink. So when it wasn't going well, I was overdoing it trying too hard."

Darling skates into the offseason feeling better about his play down the stretch.

Dundon said Darling has to prepare and play better but was also quick to point out that it's a team game and Darling had some "good games."

Outside of rising star Sebastian Aho and a few others, returning to Carolina is most uncertain after another clunker of a season.

The new franchise owner won't sit idle.
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