RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Tony DeAngelo will play his first game as a Carolina Hurricane tonight when the Canes open the preseason at home against defending champion Tampa Bay.
“It’ll be good to knock a little rust off and get some live touches instead of all kinds of controlled stuff,” said DeAngelo. “I’m looking forward to it.”
The Hurricanes signed DeAngelo to a one-year, $1 million contract. The free-agent acquisition sent shockwaves throughout the Canes fan base.
Some fans took to social media swearing they would never go to another Hurricanes game.
Others were simply outraged that Carolina would take a chance on a player who was once suspended in junior hockey for abusive behavior.
DeAngelo is also an unabashed supporter of former President Donald Trump. That too does not sit well with a certain portion of the public.
“We did our homework on him, talked to him, he’s been great,” said Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour just hours before DeAngelo’s debut in Raleigh. “Right now he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do and what we’re asking him now is to learn the system.”
In his first in-person media availability since coming to Raleigh, DeAngelo was soft-spoken as he answered questions from reporters.
“I’m just going to try to play my game,” DeAngelo said when asked about tonight’s contest. “I just want to get back into the swing of things but I think it’s going to be an offensive style of game that I’m going to play but I want to play smart.”
DeAngelo knows all eyes are on him and he seems bound and determined to put his past behind him and take advantage of a fresh start.
“New York’s (Rangers) a great organization but the work ethic here day in and day out has been impressive from the top guys on the team,” said DeAngelo being careful not to take a shot at his former team. “Guys are pushing each other in practice and it’s upbeat, fast-paced so that’s good.”
Fast-paced on the ice for DeAngelo, not so off the ice for the former New York Ranger.
“Slower-paced for sure, but I like it so far,” laughed DeAngelo.