Ron Francis: Hurricanes' Quest for the Cup

Ron Francis, whose jersey was retired by the Hurricanes earlier this year after a 23-year hockey career, will blog exclusively for WRAL.com about the 'Canes bid for the Stanley Cup.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Key to the Cup

Goaltending, how important is it? I can guarantee you won't win the cup without good goaltending. In this series, there will be a lot of questions that will need to be answered concerning the goalies. How will Gerber handle the playoff pressure? The pressure of being the favorite? Can Huet play at the level he did in the stretch drive for Montreal? How will he handle the pressure of the playoffs and the pressure of the Montreal fans and media? From what I have seen from both goalies this season, I see no reason to speculate that either one of them will be greatly affected by the pressure of playing for the Stanley Cup.

13 Comments:

  • At 4/21/2006 2:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The fact that there is some controversy with the goaltending situation in Montreal also adds pressure on Huet. If he starts looking over his shoulder after every goal to see if he's going to be pulled for Abby, he may just get tighter and tighter. If the Canes can jump on him quickly and shake his confidence, it will go a long way towards winning the first round!

     
  • At 4/21/2006 3:04 PM, Anonymous Michelle said…

    I think Gerber will be great in the playoffs. He handled the Olympic season great! His shut out against Canada left everyone stunned, including me! Our guys are 100% behind Gerbs, and I know he'll be great!

     
  • At 4/21/2006 3:47 PM, Blogger Random Thoughts, Musings, and Dirty Diapers said…

    I agree Ron! Gerber does have a lot of international experience that will help. I don't know which is more stressful--Olympics or NHL Playoffs, but I think Gerber will not be as rattled as many in the media are predicting.

     
  • At 4/21/2006 4:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ron: Good to see you keeping up with our Cup run and presenting a forum for discussion..
    Two questions/observations:
    1. Carolina has scored a lot of goals this season but also has given up a lot of goals... They are at or near the top in both categories...
    History suggests playoff games become a defensive battle in most cases... So if Gerber has a confidence problem in Game 1, should we start Ward?

    2. Coach Laviolette has been successful in implementing at least two solid lines (if not three).. Which line do you think will play more as the series goes deep... Does he go with the first line who scores more but gives up more goals (third line in the Eastern conference in terms of plus-minus) or does he go with a line that is playing defense tighter (just like Maurice is to teach em')..

    Good on you mate..
    cheers

     
  • At 4/21/2006 4:45 PM, Anonymous Subway Scoundrel, Location: Lower Bowl--The RBC said…

    I agree. If Gerber or Huet gets in "the zone" and keeps their head together, they will lead the team in the first round victory. I just hope it is Gerber who is can stand on his head and keep it all together. Canes in 6.

     
  • At 4/21/2006 5:01 PM, Blogger Jim Mahaffey - Raleigh, NC said…

    I suspect that Gerber will pick it up now that it's the post season. It seems to me that the motivation wasn't there in the past few weeks. You are a class act Ronnie! Thanks for your insights.

     
  • At 4/21/2006 5:06 PM, Blogger Jim Mahaffey - Raleigh, NC said…

    I suspect Gerber will pick up the pace now that it's the post season. Seems like to me that the motivation for the team as a whole hasn't been there in the past few weeks along with the plethera of injuries. You are a class act Ronnie! Thanks for your insights.

     
  • At 4/21/2006 5:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Absoutely thrilled to see Ron's participation with you.
    Not only is Ron a class act - but he knows the playoff hockey like no one else.

    Looking forward to reading his thoughts.

     
  • At 4/21/2006 5:32 PM, Blogger YellowBeast said…

    I don't recall seeing a team win the cup that didn't have a hot goalie. Also believe the production of a teams 3rd line has a lot to doi with it's success!

     
  • At 4/21/2006 5:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Good to see you bloggin, Ron. Look forward to your insights.

     
  • At 4/21/2006 6:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ron,
    Is there any chance the hurricanes will seek your professional advise? It would be wonderful for the hurricanes to get the cup!

     
  • At 4/21/2006 10:57 PM, Blogger Stormbringer said…

    Echoing everyone on how great it is to see you contribute to the blog world, Ronnie! Looking quite forward to your future insights...

    You're absolutely right on regarding the goaltending...I too think that's going to be the huge x-factor of the Canes/Habs series.

    If Gerber brings his "a-game", I have no doubt that it will lift the Canes out of the slump they've been in during the last month or so. The Canes need something, anything to lift up their spirits with the injuries and all...

    And then there's Huet...the Canes never played against him in the regular season. They played Theodore, and had his number. That said, if Jose was still on the Habs, I'd easily go with the Canes in five. But, as much as I love the Canes, I cannot help but have a gut feeling that Huet (along with the Habs lately) may be quite a puzzle to solve.

    So therefore, AND since I am in two message board pools, I picked Montreal in seven in one, and Carolina in seven in the other. That's how strong a potential I think the series has to go either way. Though, I absolutely hope that the Canes have an easier time than I think they will...they will most certainly need that easier time, for I do not see the second round being a cakewalk. Both Ottawa and Tampa Bay make me shudder.

     
  • At 4/22/2006 11:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well.

    We see who won the goaltending battle in game one.

    Looking forward to your insights about how to rebound from this one, O Captain, Our Captain. :)

    --hank

     

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