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Drop the gloves during the playoffs with SI.com's writers in the NHL Cup Blog, a daily journal of hockey commentary, on-site reporting and reader-driven discussions.
12:26 PM ET, 6/14/06

That's Oil, folks

Posted by Tom Layberger
An inconvenient truth of hockey life: one must seize a golden opportunity when it is presented, lest there be no tomorrow. The Oilers failed to capitalize in the opening period of Game 4, and tonight they venture into a region of Carolina that may as well be called the Devil's Triangle, although it is the home of the Hurricanes, a sea of red anxiously anticipating its first sip from the silver chalice.

While Edmonton may not disappear from the radar easily –- these Oilers are a little too resilient to do just that –- the Hurricanes are on the verge of becoming the sixth different winner to lay claim to Lord Stanley’s Cup in the last seven postseasons.

They will not disappoint.

On Monday night, Edmonton had its chance to narrow this series down to a best-of-three. But the Hurricanes played like they were on a larger mission, which is why it is difficult to imagine them letting what would be the greatest moment in franchise history slip away in front of a roaring faithful. (Can we please get a shot of some other joint besides Damon's?)

True, we have come to expect the unexpected in this two-month playoff journey. But tonight belongs to Rod Brind'Amour, Cory Stillman, Eric Staal, Cam Ward, and Glen Wesley (a former Hartford Whaler who will shed the label of having participated in the most playoff games among active players without winning the big prize), Bret Hedican, Doug Weight and all the 'Canes and their Caniac supporters.

What do you think? Do the Oilers, with their malfunctioning powerplay and backup goaltender, stand a chance tonight?

Comments:

Posted: 1:25 PM   by Anonymous
I've waited 17 years for this moment...but am still not nailing shut the Oilers coffin. I've followed my Whale-canes from CT to NC and am hoping to see them finally claim the big mama tonight! One word of caution though: If Edmonton holds on tonight they take the series back to their hostile arena and from there it's anyone's series. If my boys don't so it tonight, the momentum shift could hurt their chances bigtime!
Posted: 1:32 PM   by Anonymous
The Oilers definately have a chance. They are a very gritty team who has kept the puck mostly in Carolina's zone the last two games. They have just had trouble getting the puck in the net.

I do wish that the media would give some credit where it is due though. The Canes have overcome many injuries in the regular season to still place second in the East. They have had some breaks with injuries to opposing teams in the playoffs, but it is what it is and injuries are part of all sports. Either way, they have earned to be where they are and all Carolina fans are ready for them to bring the Cup to NC. GO CANES!

P.S. Maybe we can get some shots of the great restaurants/pubs on Glenwood South & Hillsborough St.(Sullivans, Bogey's, Mitch's) and if in Raleigh, hit up the Angus Barn.
Posted: 1:36 PM   by Anonymous
It ain't over til it's over, and game 4 is always the toughest to win, but the universe has a great sense of humor....

Hurricane Alberto is passing through NC, the Oilers are from Alberta Canada....Are greater forces at work to help the Cardiac Canes to win the Cup? Watch out for the Hurricane warning in the RBC tonight!

Give us some love hockey world! Especially being the Rodney Dangerfield of hockey....we get no respect!

Git 'R Done Canes!!! Raleigh is jonesin for Lord Stanley's Cup!! And Cam Ward for Conn Smyth trophy!
Posted: 1:45 PM   by Anonymous
No way. This entire competition has been very one sided. I expect the home team to put the mail in the coffin tonight and celebrate all night long. Go Canes!
Posted: 2:09 PM   by nightfly
Sadly, the Oil let it slip away - Roloson was in the process of screwing up Game One before he screwed up his knee. It's a tough break to lose on that flubbed play to finish, but it was only possible because of the momentum-killing rebound goal Rollie let up at the end of period two.

Then, because he's hurt, he can't come right back with a strong game and get his team the road split: Edmonton gets romped in Game Two. Even though they've played great hockey since, it's tough to give away two games (one of which was a near-certain win) and a starting goalie and survive any playoff round.

Win game five, go home for game six and defend your building, and anything can happen in game seven - at least you get that chance, and I'm sure that's how the Oilers are approaching this, but realistically, this looks terrible for them.

At least they know that Markkanen is a solid guy to turn to in the future, should it be necessary.
Posted: 2:34 PM   by Anonymous
The remnants of Alberto blew into Raleigh today to show that the 'Canes have more than "fair weather" fans.
Posted: 3:05 PM   by Sharky
Carolina deserves to win the cup, but lets just remember that if you can stay healthy in the playoffs and avoid losing your starting goalie and\or four out of six starting defensemen, it goes a LONGGGG way to helping your chances. Notwithstanding, Carolina kept scoring on the powerplay while the others lost thier way, which helps as well.
Posted: 3:13 PM   by Anonymous
no you will not see any shots of rednecks watching hockey in a bar besides damon's.....will the game even be on television there tonight? last i checked one local station is replaying the running of the 1972 cancer stick 400....better not miss that...and by the way...that big silver thing isn't a spitton...
Posted: 3:16 PM   by Anonymous
Carolina is a more experienced team. They play smarter hockey, and nullify Edmonton's energy very effectively. Thus far they have nullified Chris Pronger and the Edmonton power play along with it.

They still sound defiant, yet they resort to digging up a coin out of the RBC ice in a pregame skate today -- surely a sign of a team that does not control its own fate.

In that regard, it is one of the few things Edmonton has gotten right thus far in this series: Carolina holds Edmonton's fate in their own hands, and on top of their own ice in their own house. The Hurricanes clearly do not want to return to Canada to play hockey in the 2006 playoffs.

They should win tonight and show their adopted city its first professional title.
Posted: 3:28 PM   by Anonymous
The NHL southern Expansion is biting us again. In the land of Tobacco and NASCAR, these 'cans have had problems selling out their first two games, with tickets still available the day of the game. Lets see if they can somehow rally enough support for tonight, where they quite possibly will win the oldest trophy in North American sports. I know there is one person that is finally breathing some relief, its Gary Bettman, who is realizing his decade long mistake of moving great hockey teams to the South, where interest is booming? Listening to Rexhall center on Monday night, i felt my heart skipping beats knowing that an entire city/nation was rooting for their boys. Lets see what type of tooth picking interest we get from Raleigh tonight?
Posted: 3:48 PM   by Anonymous
As a transplanted New Yorker living in Cary, I find myself caring very little about the series from a rooting perspective. My Rangers got bounced by damned NJ over a month ago (thank you to Carolina for putting them in their place). As it is though, I see Carolina easily closing it out tonight. Just as long as they keep up the intensity they should be fine (they can't let Edmonton take it to them like they did at the start of Game 1).

However, if Carolina wins I sincerely hope it helps hockey grow in this area, and leads fans to become more educated about the game, play it, etc. etc. What concerns me (as it did in '02) is how fans will stick by the team during the lean years. We all saw the same burst of enthusiasm and 'commitment' on the part of the fans during the finals in '02. When the inevitable drop-off came the following season, it basically evaporated.

Everyone loves a winner, but when Carolina can maintain a consistent fanbase and popular appeal without winning the cup, then I'll be convinced hockey can thrive here. I know people say that everyone is still getting used to hockey here, but the Canes moved here 9 years ago. Until then, it's still, sadly, only a niche sport here that achieves the status of a popular novelty during championship seasons. Even though those types of seasons seem like they will be prevalent in the near future.

Now if they would just lower ticket prices some...
Posted: 4:24 PM   by Anonymous
You just have to love the attitudes of some fans from the North. Yes, everyone from the South is just a bunch of "tooth picking" rednecks. Whatever. And yes, I think the Canes finish the job tonight.
Posted: 4:30 PM   by Anonymous
"Now if they would just lower ticket prices some..."

i see, lets lecture everyone on how to be a good hockey fan and then complain about paying too much to go to a game...if you are such a great fan it wouldn't matter...you would do anything you could to get to a game...stop judging everyone on what you feel is the way a fan should act when you aren't exactly the most die hard fan in the world yourself...get over yourself...
Posted: 4:38 PM   by Anonymous
Can someone please tell me we will NOT have a parade around the RBC Center is the CANES take it tonight???

My 3 yr old's daycare has parades around their building... that's weak.

TAKE IT TO THE STREETS!!!!

PLEASE - DO NOT make us look that sad... (please?!?!?)
Posted: 4:46 PM   by Anonymous
I think your freaks in NC shouldn't overlook THE BIG BOY PRONGER . He is gonna take it to your canes tonight and they will blow away out to see with the hurricane.

Yours truly from

Saint Louis
Posted: 4:51 PM   by Anonymous
Good teams draw good crowds it will be years before Carolina fans come no matter what the product is on the ice. Any body who thinks the fans here are hayseeds are fools, we are transplants living the good life in the sunny south. As far as ticket prices they are more than fair compared to other cities.
Posted: 4:54 PM   by Anonymous
I grew up in NC watching hockey all my life. How many tickets will that guy that mentioned the attendance buy? Does he know how much they cost and how much people make down here? You can get a ticket today online for only $495.00 if you want to sit on the roof. GO CANES beat all of canada tonight.
Posted: 5:01 PM   by Anonymous
I'll keep my fingers crossed that next year a team from an actual hockey town can win the Cup. No more "novelty" teams for the locals. Too bad Edmonton couldn't pull it off they are infinitely more deserving of the Cup. I'll second comments above- let's see how "Caniacs" support their team when they don't make the playoffs.
Posted: 5:45 PM   by Anonymous
I called the day after the Hurricanes finished off Buffalo, two hours after tickets went on sale. The box office said only standing room available.
I noticed New Jersey was unable to fill their building for either game with the Hurricanes. I guess those games weren't important enough.
Posted: 6:15 PM   by Anonymous
GO Edmonton GO!!!! Of course they have a chance, they are CANADIAN. It's not over til the fat lady sings. They need to have the cup back in Canada, its where it belongs.
Posted: 6:42 PM   by Anonymous
BIG BOY PRONGER has had four games to do something. What makes you think he's going to start now?
Posted: 12:05 AM   by Anonymous
Caniacs looked so disappointed. Even if Edomonton loses game 6 I'll still be glad that the Canes didnt close it out at home...
Posted: 12:12 AM   by shan
Well...a little late on the comment but I knew Edmonton wasn't going to give up this opportunity tonight and they did it! Looks like the cup is on it's way home to Canada if they keep playing like they did tonight!
GO OILERS!!!
Posted: 10:50 AM   by Anonymous
What a series! Looks like another electrifying setup in Edmonton. I think we're going the 7-game distance on this one. Great series, evenly matched, lots of drama. May the best team win....that being said: GO CANES!
Posted: 4:07 PM   by Anonymous
Boys boys Boys, what the heck is a caniacs??? are u trying to say Canucks Or Canes.........any ways
Show time is Saturday night, bring
your wet naps and budlite and we'll show you some real dirty OILERS, here comes the Pain.......
Molson I am.....victorious
Posted: 10:12 AM   by Anonymous
Guess the Oilers didn't get this memo. What do you say now Nostradomus?
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