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Hurricanes raise Stanley Cup banner before opener

RALEIGH, N.C. -- For one more night, the Carolina Hurricanes
got the chance to celebrate the franchise's first Stanley Cup
title.

The Hurricanes raised the banner for their Cup win Wednesday
night before opening their title defense against the Buffalo
Sabres, allowing themselves one more look back at a thrilling run
to the first major professional sports title in North Carolina
history.

"I just get chills thinking about it," alternate captain
Kevyn Adams said. "Obviously, when you see your Stanley Cup ring or you
look at a banner, you know all the things you went through. The
memories are what you think about.

"It's time to turn the page in terms of what happened," he
said. "At the same point you need to enjoy tonight, enjoy the
atmosphere, enjoy everything that goes with it, but realizing we're
setting out on a new journey."

The franchise held a 20-minute pregame ceremony to honor last
year's champs, introducing members of the team's front office on a
red carpet laid out on the ice in front of a standing-room-only
crowd. The players followed, skating to the blue line and watching
the scoreboard monitor above to see highlights from the postseason
run.

The Hurricanes first unfurled banners commemorating their
Southeast Division and Eastern Conference titles, then unveiled the
114-year-old Stanley Cup on a table set up on the ice. Finally,
Adams, captain Rod Brind'Amour, veteran Glen Wesley and injured
forward Cory Stillman joined team owner Peter Karmanos Jr. to
fasten the Cup banner to hooks for its slow ascent amid a steady
stream of popping photo flashes from the stands.

The Hurricanes received their championship rings during a
ceremony Monday.

They earned the title by holding off the Edmonton Oilers,
closing out the final series with a 3-1 win in Game 7 on June 19.
Now, less than four months later, they're back on the ice knowing
that they have to move on from last year's wild run.

That new pursuit began against the team the Hurricanes beat to
reach the Stanley Cup finals.

"We've got the experience, we've got guys who will make sure
everyone's focused and ready for this season," center Eric Staal
said. "Obviously, we need to enjoy the festivities before the
game, but once that puck drops, it's a new year and we need to get
it done."