The 2002-03 season was one of transition in goal for the Carolina Hurricanes. Arturs Irbe, the starter for the three prior seasons, had begun to decline in 01-02. This situation helped spur the acquisition of Kevin Weekes in March of 2002.
While both goalies struggled early on, Weekes posted back-to-back wins against the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders in mid-October. He followed that up with a three-game winning streak in early November, including a shutout against the Buffalo Sabres.
Irbe, on the other hand, wouldn’t get his first victory of the season until a November 23 matchup against the Montreal Canadiens. He did rack up a three-game winning streak of his own that ran into early December. That proved to be the only time the Latvian netminder would win consecutive games all season.
New Year’s Eve saw the Hurricanes exchanging minor-league goalies with the Phoenix Coyotes. Jean-Marc Pelletier, one of the pieces acquired in the trade that brought Brind’Amour to Carolina, was swapped out for Patrick DesRochers. A former first-round draft pick (14th overall in 1998), DesRochers saw action in just two games for the Hurricanes.
Weekes put up decent numbers but Carolina’s anemic offense left absolutely no room for error. Even in the games where the offense was clicking, the overall defense was largely unreliable. Again, that doesn’t fall squarely on the defensemen, everyone contributed in a less than satisfactory manner.