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Center Ron Francis Brings Optimism to Hurricanes

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GREENSBORO — The Carolina Hurricanes are very optimistic about this season, and one of the big reasons is veteran and future Hall of Fame center Ron Francis.

Francis came from the Pittsburgh Penguins as a free agent. He is a proven winner, and he is exactly what the Hurricanes think they need.

Since the early 1980's, he has used the pre-season to prepare his body to go nine months on the ice. If getting started is getting tougher, Francis isn't saying.

"On one side, obviously the older you get the tougher it gets, but on the flip side you understand the situation because you've been there and done that, and you understand what it takes to be successful," Francis said.

He is smarter than the young Ron Francis that used to run around for the old Hartford Whalers. He brings to his new team not only sharp passing and scoring skills, but also intangibles.

"I am who I am, and I'm not going to change," Francis said. "I think the biggest factor is going to be the experience. I've been there, I've won two championships and that is not something that you can teach."

Those Stanley Cups came with Pittsburgh, which is the club Francis left this summer. As a free agent he had choices. He chose Carolina and likes his decision, especially his new teammates.

"I have really been impressed by their conditioning level," Francis said. "I'm really impressed by their character level, and they seem like a bunch of great guys."

The Hurricanes, like Francis, are now preparing for a post-season.


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