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2:11 PM ET, 6/18/06
'Canes running out of chances
Posted by Allan Muir
After capturing Game 4 in Edmonton, the task for the Carolina Hurricanes was tantalizingly clear: take just one of the next three games and they would capture the Stanley Cup.
Two of those chances now have gone by the wayside. The first, a heartbreakingly close affair that was a late-third period post away from going their way. The second, one of the most lackluster efforts ever turned in outside of Team Canada in a bronze medal game.
Neither or those losses matter now, at least not in the sense of having diminished Carolina's ability to accomplish its goal. But there's just one more chance, the third chance, and it comes Monday night. The question is, do the Hurricanes have anything left at this point to take advantage of it?
Sometimes a team can take a little something out of a loss like that 4-0 shellacking, but it's not really a heartening spin on the events for the 'Canes to say that they can't possibly play any worse and that, momentum or not, Edmonton can't possibly play that flawlessly again.
But on the bright side, rebounding off a blowout like that can be a lot easier than coming off the emotional crushing of an OT nail-biter when the Cup is in the building. It allows a team to throw everything away, to start with a clean slate. It reminds them of what it took to get where they are in the first place.
It certainly worked that way for the Oilers after being humiliated in Game 2. That 5-0 blowout never really was a contest as Edmonton struggled to adjust to the presence of Jussi Markkanen in net, and the emotional weight of wondering whether its Cup dreams had ended with starter Dwayne Roloson's injury.
The difference, of course, is that the Oilers used the latter stages of that hide tanning to establish the physical presence that they've used since to turn the tide of the series in their favor. Carolina, a team that struggled to put together a solid shift in Game 6, failed even to put up a fight.
The Hurricanes were thwarted all night long by the ferocious forechecking of the Oilers. Time and again, the first pass out of the zone was disrupted. If it wasn't the first, it was the second. Bottled up or bogged down, Carolina simply couldn't establish the speed through the middle that defined its better games of the series.
Even the many penalties the 'Canes took as their frustration grew were pointless, failing to exact any sort of physical toll that might help produce a positive result in Game 7.
So it was a complete failure. Toss it away. The Hurricanes now have about 36 hours to find a way to change their mojo.
They burned one option by inserting Erik Cole into Game 6. Coming off a 45-game injury layoff, there was reason to hope for an emotional bump from his presence. That didn't happen and Cole, although active in his first few shifts, looked every bit like a player who'd gone nearly four months without game competition. You have to wonder what, if anything, he'll have to offer on Monday night.
The 'Canes still have the choice of changing their netminder. Cam Ward was not bad in Games 5 and 6, but he didn't help them win, either. Giving up four goals in back-to-back contests to a team that was on the ropes has to put his start in jeopardy. It would be a bold move to bring Martin Gerber off the bench for Game 7, but coach Peter Laviolette has rolled the dice before in these playoffs and won.
Or perhaps they leave things the way they are and look to the advantage they worked 82 games to earn. Thanks to home ice, the 'Canes have a few things going in their favor. History, for one. Of the 13 previous Finals that have gone to seven games, the home team has captured 11. The boisterous Raleigh crowd will help, as will the last line change, and that little edge in the faceoff circle.
But in return, Carolina faces all the pressure that falls on a team that earned three wins, but failed to cash in on their first two chances to finish off the Oilers.
Poor 'Canes, I'll be the first to send Muir a tissue when they lose. Thank you hockey gods for this game 7, hopefully the sacriledge of hockey down South isn't rewarded with the greatest trophy in pro sports. Let's go Edmonton!
If the 'Canes give up tomorrow night as they did last night in Edmonton, the franchise will fold in 3 years. After spending huge $$$$ for grossly inflated ticket prices, 'Canes fans will not want to see a team/franchise that quit on it.
The Canadians will get their wish - no more hockey for the non-deserving southerners.
tis the season...first Phil blows a big lead and loses to someone that has a name that starts with an O.... and now the Canes will blow their big lead and lose to a team that has a name starting with an O... unless Laviolette and Brind'Amour can start the whining early enough to get the refs to call everything possible against the Oilers and either overlook or call everything in favor of the Canes...how good can a team be that can barely squeak by a team with only two regular defensemen and then a team with a third string goalie??? so lucky are they...the Canes should win...but they can hardly be considered the best team in the NHL...
If you don't like playoffs, just give the cup to the team with the most points. That's Detroit.
The 'Canes had the third most points in the NHL this year. That's pretty good. Now, they have a chance to win the playoffs too. That's also pretty good. I don't know exactly what everyone's beef is with the 'Canes, and I don't think that Laviolette and Brind'Amour jaw any more than Jason Smyth and Craig MacTavish. There is no metaphysical reason they should lose, so, if you don't like them, don't try to make it seem like there is a logical reason for your dislike or devaluation of them.
They're good and they've proved it all year and for the past two months. Get over it.
I'm still laughing at this one. Not an Edminton Fan but I so would love to see them come back from this one and beat this non-diserving canes team.
I aggree with the comment about them hardly getting by a Sabres team with only 2 starting defensemen.
I also agree that the Canes should win but if they can't get by a 3rd string goalie, it only makes sense since the luck of all the timely opposing team injuries, and all the other lucky moments runs out.
whine, whine, whine,...for the two anonymous replies that believe that the canes should win the cup, you can go back to watching midget boys hockey. the oilers are going to be crowned the new stanley cup champions. the hurricanes have twisted their last team. the only thing that the canes are gonna blow, is their chance to win the cup. LETS GO OILERS
Explain to me this...the Oilers have faced hot goaltending in every round (except the Wings). Supposedly every team has had an advantage in skill.
And yet they're one win away from being Champions. Why is it then that the American media types refuse to give any credit to the Oilers for their success, and continue to focus almost exclusively on their opponents?
Why couldn't the story be that the Oilers are on the verge of a historic comeback, the likes of which have not been seen since 1942, and only the second time in Stanley Cup finals history?
Hey Homer...if you're not going to write about their good stories now, please continue to ignore them after the Oilers win. At least you'll be consistent.
The Canes have been lucky in the play-offs...they get scored on and it gets called back...they never stop whinning...every team I cheer for always loses...I cheered for Carolina during the last 2 games. Here goes again...Go Canes go!
"Non-deserving southerners." "Sacriledge of hockey down south."
Get over yourselves.
The NHL has 12 teams (40%) that arguably aren't core "winter" markets for hockey:
Atlanta Thrashers Carolina Hurricanes Florida Panthers Tampa Bay Lightning Washington Capitals (borderline, I'll admit...but it's only 4.5 hours from NC) Nashville Predators St. Louis Blues Anaheim Mighty Ducks Dallas Stars Los Angeles Kings Phoenix Coyotes San Jose Sharks
Don't you think it's time to embrace the expanding enthusiasm for the great sport of hockey?
Does anyone remember who won the last Stanley Cup? The Tampa Bay Lightning! Hockey isn't a Canadian sport, it's an international sport. To say southerners are non-deserving of a hockey team is like saying Canadians shouldn't have Major League Baseball. More stupid comments like that just show you lack of smarts and lack of class.
Ignorant Canadians! Since when is hockey just Canada's sport. Just remember that a southern team won the last Stanley Cup. And don't forget the total disrespect you show your Canadian brother playing on those southern teams.
Do you the difference between a Canadian and a canoe? A canoe tips.
Franchise will fail in Raleigh in 3 years?!?...your just insane and bitter that Canada (where hockey is the #1 sport) doesn't have the market to hold a team. I'm thinking another Canadian team will fold in the next 5 years and move down south.
Agreed the 'Canes have played badly the last two games...but the 8th Seeded Oilers aren't exactly spectacular. A team of thugs....going after head hunting style, skates leaving the ice, type checks. Pronger? can he shoot that big shot from the blue line anywhere near the net? The replay on some of these show him missing by like 8 feet. Don't even get me started with the Edmonton (classy squad as they are) chipping away at Carolina's center ice in a disrespectful juvenile move to remove a lucky coin from center ice. Very classy Edmonton. eh?
Blows my mind that the so called hockey fans of the oh so DESERVING (?) North would have a piss poor attitude about others who share their love for hockey. You'd think they'd be enthused about anyone who loves and follows hockey, regardless of where they LIVE. Cheer for your team, by all means! If you love the Oilers, go to town and support them all the way, but is it really necessary to bash Southern hockey fans? There are hockey fans in London, Spain, Greece---are they also so "non-deserving"? Nice attitude. I was born and raised in Detroit - hockey town. And in 2006 when hockey is barely covered and gets horrible ratings, you think true fans would WANT more involvement, regardless of region.
I have never seen a team just look so good at one point look so bad at another. The Canes no matter what anyone says will play much better at home. I feel that Cam Ward was outstanding and if not for him the series already would have been lost (remember game 1 spectacular saves). This is what hockey is all about. For all that bash the South, it has nothing to do with the players on the Canes. There are a lot of great Canadiens players on that team. Staal and BrinAmour etc. Also Eric Cole showing heart coming back after 45 games missed. I feel they will win in another great nailbiter 3-2. this is good for the NHL and other stop whining about everyhing, it is hockey not the War in Iraq or other important matter.
Sacriledge of hockey down South?! Leave it to northerners to not appreciate the growth of the sport. Edmonton's run has been incredible, and the series has been great. If nothing else, you need to respect the Carolina fans for continuing to play the Canadian anthem at all their home games. They obviously respect the roots of the game and the franchise. Go 'Canes!!
I simply don't understand the bigoted attitude of Canadians and other traditionally hockey-rich locals with regards less traditional locations being blessed with good hockey teams. I do not remember any of this hate-mongering when Toronto won the World Series. It is only a matter of time, as we become more of a global community through communication and transportation, this type of cultural exporting is commonplace. Why isn't Raleigh entitled to the Cup, any more than Toronto was entitled to a World Series title? I've lived in Chicago, Denver and now Raleigh during Stanley Cup runs by the home team. I find no greater love of the the team or the sport here in Raleigh, than I did in those cities. Oh, Canada, open your hearts and minds a bit....you may find it isn't so bad to share. Go Canes!
I'm from Calgary so cheering for Edmonton is very hard for me, but lets face it, they deserve it. Going without their number one goalie, being an 8th seeded team making it this far.... This series has been one of the most exciting I've seen in a long time, and this game 7 will be great.
One more comment for the people posting, get over yourselves. Yes, hockey IS a Canadian game, Canadians made the sport, Canadians dominate the sport, and quite frankly Canadians will always be number one in hockey, it's more a matter of national pride. However, saying Southerners are non-deserving is pretty lame. Come on folks, Carolina sings the CAnadian anthem at their home games, and alot of Southern teams play excellent hockey as far as I'm concerened. Let's try to keep this rather immature nation-bashing on the down low and focus on what's really important... game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. GO OIL.
I guess I'd be angry too if, for example, Canada was home to 4/5 of the teams in the NBA, even though it's obviously a predominantly American-based sport. Where have all your teams gone? Oh yea. South of the border.
Just to inform you that not all Canadians are Oilers fans. I was happy they made the playoffs because they needed the revenue from over-priced playoff games to succeed as a franchise. Carolina is a great tweam to watch, wonderful skaters and very skillfull. Unfortunately, to win in the NHL you have to wear out your opponent, and the Canes do not play goon hockey. Edmonton's tactics are to try to injure the opposition. Like sweet Booby Clarke skating behind Valeri Kharmalov in the '72 series with Russia and breaking the latter's ankle with a vicious, cowardly slash. But hey, that is the NHL!
Carolina is tired and hurting, but hopefully some of the young guys such as Staal will elevate their level of play. And Rod Brindamour deserves a cup.
Just because hockey is expanding down south doesn't mean we have to like those teams. Especially when the fans are rewarded with the Cup after a few seasons of existence for the teams when most of the teams we follow have experienced long painful cup droughts. They don't even know what it means to appreciate a great team as they haven't endured the years of not making the playoffs. Sorry, I don't have to like them and I don't, at least in regards to hockey. I've been to Raleigh and the people are very nice.
I love to hear how the carolina fans think they are getting head hunted and edmonton players are a bunch of thugs. sounds like they are pretty scared there team is reeling and need to make up excuses. well, hopefully they can think of some worthy excuses. last i checked for the past 100 years or so i think hockey has been a contact sport.(if your not a fan of checking please root for the U.S. in the world cup) every team i can think of had a checking line. i can understand why it looks like edmonton is all over carolina, its b/c they are. more energy = more checks. the number of illegal checks that have or have not been called have been even this series. so please, make a more intelligent comment to save your face and the face of your team. as for tonight...its gonna be an all out battle with any wear and tear not showing up until the end of the second period/third period. hopefully the oil can withstand carolina's initial surge and slowly take over the game towards the end. Lets go OILERS!!
- Only about half the current rosters of NHL players are comprised of Canadians. - Only 20% of NHL teams are in Canada - Canada has won 1 Olympic Gold medal since 1960 - Canada has won 4 of the last 40 World Championships
Very funny that people can even post a name when berating the Canes. They have been in the top 5 of the league all year. They do deserve the Cup if they win. Get over the South shouldn't win it crap. If you get this far, you deserve everything you get. Each team has a great chance to win it and each team will be worthy.
This is the first final in a long time where I will be happy if either team wins the Cup.
I have been so impressed with the hockey fans in both cities. If nothing else, this series has shown that BOTH sides of the border have class. Edmonton fans started to sing the American anthem and cheers to the Raleigh fans for reciprocating.
We've seen some OUTSTANDING hockey and all of these posts that are trading slurs about North and South hockey fans are marring what should be a great playoff series.
I'm sick of the bias FOR Edmonton and their "Cinderella story" by the media. If I have to hear Pierre McGuire gushing about the Oilers one more time like he is doing a TSN or CBC broadcast I'm going to jump through the TV and strangle him. I'm sorry but I continue to see the NHL as a bush league, they are allowing the "Oil" to play pre-lockout hockey at the waning moments of the Stanley Cup Finals. No penalty on Moreau's headhunting "check" on Cole's first shift, Peca cross checking and slashing everyone (including Wesley to the ice and then scoring a goal). Elbows and leaving both feet to be "physical" by the Oil and it is not being called, Carolina does it and they get called. Granted Carolina has not played well the last few games, but I have seen this the whole series. The fix for the Oil is in.
When I tuned into the hockey game on Saturday I heard a full building sing not only the Canadian national anthem but the American one as well...do you know all the words to the Canadian national anthem - do you sing them when your hockey team plays...I would bet probably not.
As for the people who are bashing Canadians because of the expansion in the south, it isn't the expansion they are bashing but more of the cost - you may want to look into where most of those teams were originally located. Many of the fans who are "ignorant" had a hockey team once, long before yours...in fact it may very well now be yours.
Sounds like someone is already cooking an excuse even before the puck has been dropped...?!?! The Oilers have out skated the Canes and thus caused the discrepancy in the penalties. The Canes beat up on the Sabres defense the same as the Sabres did to Carolina. It just happens that the Canes won that war of attrition and some would argue were not the better team. But now, when the Canes finally start to crack because it is hard-nosed playoff hockey that has created some untimely injuries, oh well, now it is goonery. Amusing how quickly perspective changes, isn't it?
The Oilers out skated the Canes in the last two game and unless the Canes show up tonight with some fresh legs (and fresh ideas) expect more of the same. Truthfully, I do not think the Canes will roll over that easily, I expect and look forward to a GREAT GAME!
(1) To the consipracy theorists who claim the fix is in so the Oilers will win, do you all remember it was Carolina that was given a power play in OT of game 5? I guess you would argue the refs knew Edmonton would win the game on a short-handed goal.
(2) Canadians' beef with sunbelt teams is that hockey is the flavor of the week down there. It's a niche sport with a small following, and nobody cares a month after the season ends whether their team won or lost. For crying out loud, Tampa had their victory parade in the parking lot of their home arena after they won in 2004, because nobody cared. Winnipeg didn't relocate to Phoenix because people in Arizona were desperate for hockey, it was all about money. If the NHL had had the CBA in the mid-90s that they have now, Winnipeg would still have a team. Ditto Quebec City. Hockey fans in places like Tampa, Phoenix, Atlanta, and yes, Carolina, will never know what their team means to their city in the same way fans understand this in places like Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and for that matter Detroit, Chicago, New York, Boston, Buffalo, or Philadephia (all cold-weather cities with a long hockey tradition). If warm-weather sunbelt cities win the Cup, then fine, but don't pretend it means the same thing to fans in these cities as to fans in Canada's NHL cities.
(3) As far as the "ignorant Canadians" comment goes, I concur with an earlier response. The San Jose fans booed during the Canadian Anthem. The Edmonton fans sing the American anthem louder than American fans sing it in their own rinks. The writer who posted that comment should spend a few months backpacking through Europe, the first half with an American flag on his backpack, the second half with a Canadian flag on his backpack. It'll be an education for him.
Prymax - YOU TAKE IT BACK! I can't believe you'd say those things about Weighter! Come on now, this guy was the heart and soul of the Edmonton Oiler hockey club during the "lean years". I know he plays for the enemy now, but to say he doesn't play with heart, passion or soul is NUTS. Doug Weight is the MAN, classy as they come, gritty, tough, and one of the best playmakers in the NHL. If Carolina wins tonight (they won't), the silver lining for me will be that #39 finally gets his name on the cup. It is well deserved after all the tough years he put in with us.
That being said -
GO OILERS GO. Carolina "fans" can talk about how much they like hockey and how it's expanding into the states etc, but the reality is, no fans anywhere care about any sports team the way the Oiler nation supports their oil. This is hockey MECCA. The cup BELONGS in Edmonton, to say otherwise is just ignorant of the realities of the game.
Actually, Frankewilshure, we do sing the Canadian anthem at Raleigh games. With all the words. And our cheerleader doesn't speed through your anthem like your barber does to ours.
To those of you who are saying that our ticket prices are inflated, I heard stats that our average ticket price during the regular season was $40, as compared to New Jersey which I think was at $75.
Anyways, I'll give props to the Oilers for getting this far in the series. Aren't they the first eight-seed to make it to the Finals? And Markkanen's been quite good in goal.
I'll dispute the notion that Ward has been doing poorly, though - he "missed" four of thirty six shots, a 90% success rate. I think he's usually closer to 92 - 93%, but when his teammates aren't stepping up and helping him out, I think 90% is pretty darn good.
Yes, the Oilers are a bunch of thugs. The brutal check on Cole was un-called-for, as was the hit on Doug Weight. You guys even took out your own goalie! Yes, hockey is a tough game, but you can play like a thug or you can play with honour. Playing with honour is when you throw a check on someone, play stops shortly thereafter, and you help the guy up. Playing with honour is focusing on your ability to handle the puck, skate, and create scoring opportunities, not just your ability to check the opponent into the next season.
All in all, I think Brind'Amour whips 'em into shape tonight and home-ice serves as the proper advantage.
What a great series! What great fun reading the comments;so many ruffled feathers!A truly great playoff series isn't complete without a good deal of bashing your rival's town, state/province,even country.For those expressing distaste,if you think public blogs are not the province of the ill informed, ridiclously biased and brutally bigoted, take up cheering cricket.And yes I do remember this kind of thing when the jays won the ws.. remember the anti-maple leaf signs in the stands? And pyrmax.. please us a spell-check buddy...
Ok, the 'Canes have blown two chances to win it.. maybe it's a mental block or the Spirit of Gretzky is on Edmonton? Who knows? All I know is it's been 16 years since Canada won the Cup, and all of Canada now claims Edmonton as their team! Seems to me the problem with all you Canadians whining about southern hockey not being deserving is an internal Canadian problem.. Money talks, sh** walks and that's why so many Hockey teams (and Canadian players) are down here playing your National Sport! Go 'Canes!!!
ncgirl - this must be your first time watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs closely - the checking is always hard hitting and hard nosed, that is playoff hockey and I wouldn't want it to change for anything. The skill combined with the intensity is what makes it THEE greatest sport on the planet. Further, if you think back to just a couple of weeks ago, the Canes were labeling the Sabres D-corps every chance they got. Many would argue that the subsequent injuries outright won the series for them. But now when the tables are turned it is not honorable to hit...?!? Hitting Cole as hard as they did was exactly what any team would do given the same situation. In fact if you had a chance to interview Cole I would bet he would be the first one to admit he knew it was coming sooner or later...not too mention it was a brilliant check, hard and clean. You gotta test a guy who's sole reason for being in the line-up after an exteded absence is to give the other team a lift. That having been said had it been a dirty hit in anyway I would be the first one to call it cheap and be upset by it, but it wasn't.
Further, I have never in all my years watching Playoff hockey seen anyone help an opposing player up in hockey...think of Ron Francis crawling to his bench after getting labeled by Stevens or even Umberger getting harpooned by Cambell, what did the team do....they went after the guy who hit their player, not pick their guy up.
As for playing with honor, how honorable was it for your captain to have his "Eastern Conference Champs" hat on during the post-series hand shakes...talk about classless, he marred one of the classiest traditions in all of sports. That is not honorable and he is your teams capitan, he represts the team and your city. As if that wasn't enough he really had to lay it on thick and pop off at the mouth with some comments about Lindy Ruff needing the keep his mouth shut. You just won you dope, heed your own advice!
As for your singing the Anthems in Carolina, come on, are you kidding me or just yourself? This idea that the singer rushed through our anthem, come on. I have not heard a chorus of singing of either national anthems during the last two Canes series.
What I heard those Edmonton fans do with their singing was truly amazing, I have not heard that anywhere else and was something I will never forget...it was something for the ages. Go Oil!
2:43 anonymous- you sir (or ma'am- whoever you are) are THE MAN. You've summed up the North/South issue (not just Canada/Carolina) better than anyone I've seen here. With the exception of Detroit, all of those cities you've mentioned don't want a Stanley Cup win, they really need one. Carolina fans can't possibly understand how good they have it right now. The singing of the anthems by the Edmonton fans the other night was really moving as well, I salute them for that and admit as an American that it was outright classy. Let's see how we are represented tonight by 'Canes fans and their cheerleaders in leotards. By the way, I love Canada and visit every year, and could sing you O Canada at the drop of a hat!
These fan bashing comments coming from the South and the North are just stupid. The oh so loyal Edmonton fans who are so deserving of this cup are the same bunch that couldn't be bothered to fill up barn in Edmonton when they weren't putting winning teams on the ice. Every team has a surge of support when they win and lose that support as quickly as it came when they start to loose. Also why is the the 8 year old kid who started watching hockey this year because of the cannes great run less deserving then the 8 year old in edmonton who started watching the Oilers for the same reason.
The only city I know that fill their barn every game weather the team is first or last is Toronto and by no means is that a good thing since we haven't won a cup in my life time and the life time of many others so really when I think about I hope both teams could loose because Carolina doesn't deserve it because there in the south and Edmonton doesn't deserve the cup because they won it in 90. I'll conclude with this, if you support Edmonton or Carolina your not a Leafs fan so your all a disgrace haha
As a Canadian based hockey fan I must admit that I am whole heartedly rooting for the Oilers, but they are my fav west team (Sens being my overall #1). The thing that bothers me from this whole thing is the back and forth bickering about nothing. The Oilers are not a 'head-hunting' team, they are an old fashioned physical grinding team, similar to old NY Knicks or current Pistons basketball. This isnt illegal, its just a different style of play than Carolina's offensive finese play.
This whole thing isnt about money or Canada/US either, cause people should remember where the Canes came from, the good ol Hartford Whalers. A small market US team that had to relocate for the same reasons that the Jets and Nordiques no longer exist.
I can however see how some people in old time hockey towns might think Carolina as an undeserving fan base. They havent put in the years of frustration and turmoil that fans in say Calgary have, but that isnt their fault though.
We cant blame them that hockey took so long to get to them. As long as they embrace the team and sport, they are deserving to win the cup.
That all said, GO OILERS!!!!! The fact is that they have had the toughest journey to the finals and have over-come the adversity of losing their number 1 goalie. The Canes have had a few good breaks for them through the playoffs (Koivu, Buffalo's entire defence) which makes me not want to see them win even more, because I do believe that Buffalo was the best team in the East this playoffs (no not my Sens) and if they hadnt lost 4 defencemen (or even just Jay McKee) they would be in the finals.
nc-girl's comments have shown me beyond a shadow of a doubt that they really don't know anything about hockey in "nc." Why don't you ask a displaced Northerner to explain the game to you. "Playing the game with honour-" are you serious?
"The cup belongs in Edmonton..." simply because you think you have more loyal fans? I can't really think of a more stupid comment or line of thinking. I thought the Stanley Cup was for the best team, not the best town. If you are all such Canadian purists, trade off your non-Canadian players like Spacek, Hemsky, and Dvorak. Otherwise, shut the hell up and realize that you only have 25 years of history under your belt. Maybe we should go back to the original six and you can all root for junior hockey and the Maple Leafs.
NC-Girl's comments are not crazy... I'm born and raised in Edmonton (Go OIL!) and honor's the only way to go... maybe we just use different words for it... When a player shows courage, strength, determination and keeps their eyes on the prize (the CUP), they can win it without having to break rules. In hockey, you don't help a guy up after you flatten him, but you do drink beer with him later in the bar. By the way, that cheap-shot-artist Bertuzzi from Vancouver was NOT honorable in the way he sucker-punched that guy from behind... that was a disgrace to the game and anyone who stands by him and his coach deserve to be drummed out of the league, no matter who they think they are or who they know.
Many times during the series I've seen our players help a guy up, or at least pat him on the back of the head once the action stops. Same thing in football. Yes, hitting hard is part of the game, but you're all gunning for the same thing. There's no honour in breaking someone's neck, and I guarantee you that the guy who broke Eric Cole's neck felt bad about it. I seriously doubt that two seconds after he saw Cole immobile on the ice, he was pumped up about his hit, and I'm pretty certain he feels the same way today. Hit hard, hit to get the puck, but don't hit to paralyze people or cause serious injury.
That being said, our rendition of "O' Canada" was pretty pathetic tonight, I'll give you that!
QUOTE: "Of course, if Edmonton had won (they didn't)... it would have been tainted by the kicked-in goal, and by the dirty play that won two games for the Oilers."
No, it wouldn't have been tainted. Edmonton played good, aggressive hockey. Fortunately, the Canes found their legs and played a wonderful Game 7, but even if they'd lost, the Oilers would have been completely deserving champions.
I love the Canes as much as the next Caniac, but give credit where credit is due.