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.

Monday, April 24, 2006

No Music Yet

Where do we start. I expected the Canes to come out with more urgency then in game 1 and despite the score early, I thought they did that. However they did make some mistakes and had some bad breaks go against them early. A breakaway goal, a power play goal, and a deflected goal, spelled a 3-0 lead and the end to Martin Gerber's night. The 2nd period started with new line combinations and produced what I thought was the best period of hockey the Canes had played in a long time. 2 goals allowed them back in the game, and then in the 3rd they took the lead, gave it back, tied it up, and eventually lost in OT. I do think there were a lot more positives in this game then the first, but that doesn't make it feel any better. The bottom line is we are down 2 games to none with games 3 and 4 in their building. That being said, we did win there twice already this season, and the Canes showed tonight, they can play like they did before E Coles injury without him in the line up. The special teams were much better tonight in both areas. The PP scored 3 times and at critical times to help get the Canes back in the game and take the lead. The PK gave a goal up early but then did a stellar job of shutting down the Canadiens PP and at important times. The kill late in the 3rd allowed them to tie the game late and the 3 kills in OT gave them a chance to win. However, the defensive game was their problem yet again. With a 3rd period lead they got caught on a bad line change that led to a goal, gave the Canadiens 3 chances to score on Kovalev's goal, and sloppy work led to both the 5th and deciding 6th goal. The good news was Souray didn't play after being hurt in the 1st period which will affect their D, the bad was Whitney didn't play much late and that could mean he aggravated his lower body injury, and he sure helped the PP be more effective tonight. I know you are all going to hammer me on the next statement but I don't think Coach has an easy decision on who to start next game. Although Ward played extremely well tonight, it will be a lot harder for him to come in as a starter in a very hostile environment then it was tonight, and although Gerber hasn't played his best in this series, he is the guy who is responsible for getting the Canes in this position. I'm glad I don't have to make that call. I know the mountain seems a lot harder to climb right now, especially when you realize that it will take winning 4 of the next 5 games, but it can be done. The canes did beat them 4 straight times this year and it has happened in the NHL before, 14 times. The focus has to be on the next game and the next game only. Find a way to win that game and don't worry about anything else. Start with a good first shift and then a good second and so on, and you must realize that every time you step on the ice could be the difference in the series. It is true, there is little room for error now, but the fat lady isn't singing yet. Game 3 is a must!!!!

45 Comments:

  • At 4/25/2006 8:09 AM, Anonymous Michelle said…

    I thought the game was played much better last night! Sadly we didn't win, but still a great game. I hated to hear that Gerbs had been sick when he played on Saturday night, maybe Wardo should have started last night to give Gerbs that extra day of rest. I thought Wardo played outstanding! There were several times that he just showed his ability. His debut showed that he can hang and did a great job! Gerbs is great, but I have to give Wardo major and huge cudos for a great game played. We showed the Habs lst night that we still play our kind of hockey. We got shots past Huet so I hope that can give us what we need to beat them! Again CUDOS to Wardo!!!! Too bad Brind'Amour couldn't get the hat trick! That would have tore up the RBC Center!

     
  • At 4/25/2006 8:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well at times last night we looked like the team of old. Fast paced, charging the net. Again the defense let us down. I can't say enough about Wardo! This guy is going to be special. Caniac Nation...keep your head up! We can still win this thing! GO CANES!

     
  • At 4/25/2006 8:35 AM, Anonymous Rick said…

    First of all Ron, that was a very good interview with HNIC last night. The Canes showed much more energy. They did rush Huet more and blocked his view more often. I think both teams will have to watch their penalties as the PP are effective. The bad news is The Bell Centre. Yes you guys have won there, but as you see the playoffs transform teams into a different opponent. We rarely have strong Hurricanes in Canada. Rick-A Habs Fan-

     
  • At 4/25/2006 8:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    anaylzing the game is nice but a loss is a loss....1st period was dull 2nd period better....ward better than gerb both allowed 3 goals.,..not gonna post a big W when allowing 3 goals in a playoff game.....i think that was the last game at RBC this year..

     
  • At 4/25/2006 9:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What a roller coaster ride it was at RBC last night. Great comeback in 2nd/3rd periods, got the crowd energized. At times the noise levels were like the 2002 run. Very exciting.

    However, the letdown of losing was palpable. Stunning. All that hard work to gain a lead and tie the score again at the final moments of regulation - down the tubes. Officiating seemed lopsided against us, particularly in the first OT period. Again, hard work by our boys kept it tied going into the 2nd OT, but it all went down the tubes.

    I'll hope for the best in games 3 and 4. Sweep the Habs in their house, pay them back.

    Ron, thanks so much for this blog. We love ya', man.

    LET'S GO CANES!!!

     
  • At 4/25/2006 9:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Let's be realistic. Whitney made a big difference but it obviously injured and that is going to be a big factor in the next game. You could almost feel the confidence Ward gave to the rest of the team when he replaced Gerber. I think Gerber is shot for this series. His confidence is gone. It is obvious for everyone to see (in my opinion). There is no way he should start any game in this series. We lost and the question now becomes a mental one - do the Canes have the mental fortitude to overcome a 2-0 deficit. I doubt it.

     
  • At 4/25/2006 9:42 AM, Blogger Chris said…

    We just have to keep working hard and I think we'll be OK. That's the only thing to do at this point.

    Ward earned a chance to start Wednesday. I say go with him.

     
  • At 4/25/2006 9:56 AM, Blogger Habs Fan said…

    Doesnt matter what happens during the season, playoffs are a whole new season. There are two types of teams that come out of a long season....pretenders and contenders.....The habs are for real and the Candy Canes are not. I hate to tell ya, but there is more than just being down 2-0 to the mighty Habs, You guys are down 2-0 to the whole mystique of Les Canadiens - 24 Stanley Cups. U dont win 24 Cups and not know how to play playoff hockey. Sorry Canes fans but get out your brooms, time for some early golf for your boys!!!

     
  • At 4/25/2006 10:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I decided months ago that Gerber is not the quality netminder needed to lead a team into the Stanley Cup playoffs. Rutherford and Lavoiolette should have recognized this, and now the truth is showing. Too much prancing around this issue - the guy doesn't get the job done. You have to go with Ward in Game 3. The Canes will not go far in these playoffs, and the prime reason is goaltending.

     
  • At 4/25/2006 10:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The fact that we are discussing which goalie should play game 3 speaks volumes about the predicament the Canes are facing. In the playoffs, a team should not be worrying about who is tending the pipes, that should be a given. When they step on the ice they have to believe if they do their job, the outcome will be positive because they KNOW their goalie will do his job. Any doubt that may have crept into the heads of our boys can be eliminated with a strong performance in net by whoever in game 3. I agree that game 3 is a must and I would have to give the nod to Cam. It seems that Gerber's confidence is a bit shaken and it may be better for him to come off the bench (if needed) than to start. Of course, if he's coming off the bench that means we are losing....One game at a time, it can still be done! BELIEVE

     
  • At 4/25/2006 10:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It was definitely a more exciting game last night but just as disappointing. Our defense was definitely lacking and thank goodness for Ward hanging in there.

    I'm not too optimistic about the upcoming games however I haven't lost hope. Our team has always been gritty and like Ron, for me, the music may be a little flat but it's still playing. :)

     
  • At 4/25/2006 10:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    To the above Habs Fan, don't make me bring up the 2002-03 playoffs. I believe your Habs were part of one of the greatest comebacks in NHL playoff history and if i am not mistaken that occurred on your precious home ice! Our boys down here know how to play playoff hockey, and yes game 1 was terrible to watch, but i believe the two comebacks(which looked very familiar) that occurred last night show we are not ready to hang up the skates yet for golf shoes. So call your friends in Montreal and let them know that the Hurricanes are coming to deliver an old fashioned southern beating. LET'S GO CANES!

     
  • At 4/25/2006 10:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hats off to the canes for a much better played game last night! There was a definate shift in team energy when Ward came in. I think Gerber is a great goalie and he is a big key to us being were we are however, goalies have slumps and this is a bad time for him to have his. Ward earned the right to start on Wednesday and I hope they give him the go.
    Remember everyone, they won two in a row and so can we. We may not have showed it in game 1 but we are the better team. Had Ward been started last night we may have had a different outcome.
    For those of you that were Canes fans through the last playoff run we had a tough time breaking through Theodore but once we had him figured out we consistantly scored. We will break Huet the same way. We've already started.
    The team may actually find it easier to play on their ice than at home because there is not so much fan pressure.
    Have faith everyone, we will overcome!
    LET'S GO CANES!

     
  • At 4/25/2006 10:52 AM, Anonymous Robert Y said…

    I have to agree with Ron on how difficult a decision it will be for coach to pick a starter in goal for Wednesday night. Has Martin lost his confidence? Can Cam handle the mayhem at the Bell? As for Rick's comments regarding playing at the Bell Centre, I believe that the Canes felt more pressure to win at home on Saturday and last night than they will in Montreal. Granted they are down 2-0 but I believe that they will go into Wednesday night's game with the mindset that the pressure will be on the habs to win at home. The Canes will simply play their game and "have fun" doing so. They are professionals and know what they need to do. Everything else means nothing to them at this point. GO CANES GO!!!!!

     
  • At 4/25/2006 10:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The player who hurt Erik, is his team in the playoffs?

     
  • At 4/25/2006 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sorry Ron, but I think Gerber is hurt. I have watched him play all year, and he is just not going down in the butterfly like in the past. Seems he had a groin earlier in the year, and I can only believe it is acting up. In Saturdays game I just saw too much daylight on the 5 hole when he went down. You have to go with Ward. He won in NJ earlier in the season in one of his first NHL starts, and I just can't imagine a more hostile environment than that.

     
  • At 4/25/2006 11:03 AM, Anonymous Subway Scoundrel said…

    Ron, Thanks for the insight. You have said it all so I will not comment further.

     
  • At 4/25/2006 11:16 AM, Blogger Mark said…

    Ron;
    You are correct in your game comments! However I feel everyone is side stepping the real issue hear! That is the will to win. The people I was sitting near last night summed it up when they said at the end of the first period that the Habs just want it more than we do! I heard a comment on XM radio's "IN THE SLOT" yesterday between 4:00 PM and 6:00 PM; it was made by Phil Esposito. He said when he talked to Alex Kovalev of the Habs after game 1, that during game 1, he felt like he was in PRACTICE! He could skate where he wanted and had all the time he needed to do whatever he wanted! He said it was not the same Hurricanes team which they had played during the regular season! Now I don't know all that much about Hockey but, when a member of the team you are playing against says something like that it would make my BLOOD BOIL!!! You are correct game 3 is a must and I for one don't want to have to use my refund on my seats for next year’s tickets!! GO GET EM CANES

     
  • At 4/25/2006 11:23 AM, Blogger Habs Fan said…

    To the southern Beating guy....when you guys came back on us in that series, our goalie was shaken, we didnt have a reliable back-up, hidden injuries to key players.....sound familiar?? The only reason that the canes made it that far that year was because after they played an injured Devils team, a psyched out goalie in Montreal, they played an injury ridden Leafs team, and lets not forget that the number #1, and #2 seeds were eliminated off the bat in the first round too!! So, the first team they played that actually was a real team was Detroit, and we all know how bad they made the Candy Canes look. I am not saying this series is over, but, when goaltending is sketchy in the playoffs....u lose. There's no hiding the fact that the habs know how to score on either of them, Ward gave up as many goals as Gerber did, and letting in 3 goals in any playoff game is terms for defeat.

     
  • At 4/25/2006 11:56 AM, Blogger Stormbringer said…

    Before I proceed with my take on your post Ronnie, I must say that the interview with you on CBC last night was *very good*. Especially considering how busy the last couple of days have been for you...that said, congratulations on the Connecticut Sportswriters Award! :)

    Speaking of that interview, I have to say that as much as it pains me to say it, I disagree with you about the first period of Game Two. I do understand where you came from with what you said...compared to Game One, it *was* a better period, especially when Ward replaced Gerber. But, if the Canes had played the majority of the first period like they did the second, third, and OT, they quite possibly would have won the game.

    Also, with the Canes having played *much better* around Wardo, AND if I knew that Gerber (still?) had the stomach virus CBC mentioned, I would have been much more of a "Start Ward!" advocate. And I am that for Game Three.

    I must say that I totally dig this comment:

    "...and the Canes showed tonight, they can play like they did before E Coles injury without him in the line up."

    AMEN and preach on!! I've lost count of how many times I have said that the Canes *can* play without Cole AND Whitney. But, it is one thing for you, me, and the rest of the Caniac Nation to believe in that. It's another for the Canes themselves to believe...AND they MUST do that in Game Three. Especially now that there may be a possibility that Whitney might be out again.

    No, the Canes do not need to go down three games...two is already bad enough. When a NHL team has gone down three games, it is *very rare* for them to win four in a row to take the series. Very rare, as in only two teams have done it: the 1942 Maple Leafs and the 1975 Islanders (who *almost* did it TWICE). If it comes down to it, as the Beach Boys would say, wouldn't it be nice to see the 2006 Canes among those ranks? The way this season has gone for the team, with all of the NHL firsts AND new franchise records, I don't think it would be much of a stretch for a playoff record or two to be made too.

     
  • At 4/25/2006 11:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This reminds of the Canes last Cup run. Irbe got us to the playoffs because of great play during the regular season, struggled at the start of the playoffs, the fans booed him, he was replaced by Weekes who played great for a few games then went cold and Irbe came back in top form only to lose an awesome Detroit team. It's very similar today except the names on the backs of the goalie's jerseys are different. Canes fans wouldn't even had a chance to boo Gerber in Games 1 & 2 if it were not for his great regular season play.

    No doubt, Gerber has let in some soft goals but the rest of the team has hung him out to dry. Ward played great last night but the team still let the Habs have consecutive shots at 10 feet out and burned their own goalie.

    Soft D is the killer. So risk giving the Habs a PP. We proved last night we can kill it. Now... finish those checks (or at least START checking), don't give 'em multilple chanes in front of the net and play physical hockey.

    Go Canes!

     
  • At 4/25/2006 1:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I agree with your post, Mr Francis. I think that playing at home has it's advantages, but it has some pitfalls as well. There is more pressure to win. The pressure is now on the Habs, and we all know how much pressure the Canadian teams can be treated to in the playoffs. Being down 0-2 is a tough spot, and leaves no room for error, but if the Canes can play the game they played for 2 periods last night Wednesday night, I like the Cane's chances. Get one win under their belt, and one loss under the Habs, and let's see how the dynamics of this series change.
    The Habs are fully capable of finishing this series off, but the Canes just need a win to jump right back in

     
  • At 4/25/2006 1:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I must start by saying that the Habs' fan above is just a little too overconfident in his beloved Habs. Let's not forget that his Habs have shown all season that they can turn cold just as quick as they have turned hot!! This series is far from over..If the Canes can find a way to put the loss behind them and look at the positives that came from last night, then Game 3 can turn this series. They finally found their game last night in the second period. It's been MIA since mid March. They do have to find a way to be better in their own end. The forwards have to do a better job of backchecking to help out their D-men and Goalie. If they can find a way to beat these Habs in Game 3, then suddenly some of that pressure on the Canes starts to shift to the Habs in Game 4. Make no mistake, if it's 2-1 going into Game 4, these overconfident Habs start to squeeze those sticks a little harder as they feel the pressure of not wanting to let the Canes back in the Series. Canes Fans, don't lose hope just yet. This series can turn very quickly if we win Game 3. .....GO CANES!!!

     
  • At 4/25/2006 1:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Being an avid 'Canes fan for years, we had hoped to see a much better showing in the playoffs than we have. Especially considering how most of their season has gone this year. What I'm going to say now may be just 'smoke', but I'd be curious to see if anyone else has the same thoughts. As the season progressed and the 'Canes started to pull away from the other Eastern Conf teams, the official's calling the 'Canes games also started calling things against the 'Canes that appeared to be questionable. One game several weeks ago was horrendous (as far as penalties called against the 'Canes and not against the other team) and I remember the announcers stating this was definitely a game where the officials affected the outcome - the 'Canes lost. I've heard rumblings that other folks think there may be a prejudice against some expansion teams when they start winning because they aren't the old 'hockeytown teams of the old NHL. If this is really the case, that would be terrible. How can the NHL get stronger if this kind of attitude is really present among its officials. Since that game I mentioned above, the 'Canes have seemed to lose their edge, along with some key players. I'm wondering if they somehow have picked up a negative sense of things that no matter how well they play, if the game is going to be called against you, you won't win.

     
  • At 4/25/2006 1:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Better luck next season.

     
  • At 4/25/2006 1:42 PM, Anonymous kim said…

    Mr. Francis, what do you think is the reason for our continued poor defensive play?

    I agree that our D is struggling mightily. It seems to me that all six (or seven) defensemen have been extremely slow to the puck in our own end, allowing the Habs to essentially set up their offense and apply sustained pressure- especially right around the net- on a regular basis. We just don't seem to have that much of a sense of urgency to clear the puck out of the zone. Being content to sit back against a team this skilled and this confident is too dangerous! Also, we don't seem all that concerned with them at times in transition as well, where their skating ability can kill us. It's really disappointing to me to see our veteran defense this unfocused and even lazy, in my opinion, at this crucial point of the season. This is a pattern that has been developing over the past month or so, but the Habs are really exploiting it.

    Cam must start Game 3. His play at least gave us a shot at winning last night, and as others have said, Gerbs looks to have lost all confidence. No one would ever come out and admit it, but I'd say that the team had lost confidence in front of him, which is even worse.

     
  • At 4/25/2006 1:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ron ...you're a class act as usual! Regarding the Canes, they are playing the same style as the last 25 games of the regular season...with the same poor results. What happended to puck movement around the offensive zone? Tic-tac-toe. They did it early in the season when they seemed to beat teams at will. Also, the two line passes out of the defensive zone were effective in the first part of the season. It's not over by a longshot but they need to watch the game tapes of the early part of the season.

     
  • At 4/25/2006 2:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I've gone to both games and the major theme here seems to be very very poor play by our defense. Whereas Gerber has struggled a bit, I believe that it's not entirely his fault. Ron, I wish you could make recommendations to the team, because my recommendation would be to sit Glen Wesley and Mike Commodoore in favor of Oleg Tverdosky and the blasting slapshooter Antun Babchuk.
    I particularly like Babchuk. He is a complete player. He's big, physical, a good skater, and has a wicked shot, and this is just what the Canes need right now. Instead of Wesley going after the player and/or the puck, I've seen him sit back 'as if' he was trying to play goalie. When he does that, all that's really doing is screening Gerber or Ward. As for Commodore, he's a nice guy, interesting robe marketing idea, but he's constantly getting whipped by speed. He doesn't have the quickness that it takes to stop the high-flying Montreal forwards. One last note, regarding Gerber. The way he(Gerber) handles the puck is very very shaky. All year long, more times than none, instead of slowing the puck down for the defense to do their job and clear, he clears it himself, and to the SAME spot, along the side boards. Then, there's a Montreal forward pinching and grabbing posession of the puck, keeping the play in the zone, and keeping Gerber at risk. I think teams have studied this on film and are exploiting this vulnerability.
    I cannot believe that any of the coaches haven't corrected this issues with Gerber all year! Cam Ward knows how to slow and clear the puck much more efficiently.
    Start him(Ward) Game 3.. who knows, Gerber may not be around next season.

     
  • At 4/25/2006 2:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Officiating:

    Hey buddy, it's smoke; the Canes games are being called just as poorly for the opposition.

     
  • At 4/25/2006 2:59 PM, Blogger Candy Guy said…

    I know writing probably isn't your forte, but breaking this up into a few separate paragraphs would help make it easier to read.

    GO CANES!

    Brian
    http://candyaddict.com

     
  • At 4/25/2006 3:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    So many critics and coaches……I guess there’s not much else to be said about the game! I have this poster in my office that reads “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away.” Not sure who said it, but if the 05-06 season ended last night I can say that the canes have provide some breathtaking moments to be remembered. This has been the best and worst of seasons. Great saves, great plays, great wins!!! But also horrible loses, horrible injuries, horrible calls/officiating. I call them my hurricanes. Win or lose I am proud to be a fan of this group of extraordinary gentlemen! I especially adore ‘amour and wish for him the grandest of awards. I totally support the canes and believe they can accomplish great things. But all that can be asked of them is to give it all your best and be proud of the results. Whatever it takes……

     
  • At 4/25/2006 3:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I totally disagree about taking Wesley out of the defense line-up and YES thank goodness he has played a "goalie" role! I wish I could state the particular instances where he recovered the puck when it was quite obvious the goalie (NOT Gerber in particular) was out of position to actually block it.

    We could try to find all kinds of reasons but as a whole the defense is not getting the job done.

    I think it may be a combination of an inexperienced playoff team, it IS how you finish the year that is more important than how you start. All playoff teams needs to step-up the style of play from the regular season or they're going to get eaten alive! The Olympic break, the loss of Cole and I may get bashed for this but the recruiting of "veteran" players did not help our team. I believe Recci was a mistake. He hasn't added anything to the team and as much as I like Weight they are both "veteran" players that could have had some of the younger guys wondering "why did we need two of these guys, weren't we good enough?" I know it was probably done for a little depth since we loss Cole but I think it messed up the chemistry of the team. You finish that off with a faltering #1 goalie and your whole team collapses.

    I'm hoping for another miracle - the bombing of Bell!

     
  • At 4/25/2006 6:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Your right Ron - tough decision on who to start. Gerber is a great goalie; however I think there are some problems that has effected his game. No one blames him completely. It's a team effort - but sadly enough some of the goals that were made, were typically stopped by Gerber in the past.

    On another note, Cam Ward did a great job coming in under such pressure. He made some great saves and I noticed a change in the team with him at the net. They seem to work together better with a understanding they had to keep the goal out of Ward's zone. Even after two goals got by - I loved the fact that Commodore and Ward went by and gave him some words of encouragement. He'll surely be one to watch for the future. Trust me.

    Down 2 (that's hard) but we can still decide the outcome. The Canes have been outstanding - a great group of men with a lot of heart. Safe travel to the team. We still have faith.

     
  • At 4/25/2006 6:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    When I moved here from CO a few months, I was so excited to be moving somewhere with a team that was full of life and passion for the game. I started getting the money together for at least two or three rounds of playoffs, now I doubt we'll see three games. Meanwhile, my avalanche are putting it together just in time to put a very good Dallas team in a bad place. Glad I didn't put down a season ticket deposit for next year.

     
  • At 4/25/2006 9:15 PM, Anonymous Pakkfan said…

    Ron:

    In my opnion the majority of our good hockey this year was with Commodore and Oleg Tverdosky not in the lineup. Granted E Cole going down shook things up, but Tverdosky and Commodore have been out of position way to many times in the last 4 weeks for my taste.

    Can I also ask this:
    AFter going to a season of Canes games, when will Coach Lav quite allowing Staal to learn how to do a face off? Staal has not business in the circle in this series. As long as #17 has a pulse and #10 hangs in the rafters, Roddie needs to be in the circle. Weight can handle the task as well, but not Staal. He's not quite there yet.

    I know we are not built for this, but we've got to play smart physically against the habs. They've proved they can out skate us with Erik hurt. In my opnion its time for us to switch things up.

    Move Recchi to Brind'A Mor's line.

    Cam Ward:
    Cam had some good saves, but he also have several LUCKY saves. The puck that went of his mask is just one of those.

    People will hate me for this but:
    If Gerber is REALLY healthy enough, I'd have to go with him in net over a 22 year old, in one of the hotbeds of hockey. If even his FIRST goal seems poor then pull him.

    I'd much prefer Ward off the bench then starting him in this must win game on the road.

     
  • At 4/25/2006 9:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I also thought the 'Canes played better in game 2 than game 1. Many teams have come back from 2 games to none deficits to win a best of 7 series. The "D" has to tighten up and we need a big game from whomever is between the pipes, the goalie should "make all the saves he should, and some that he shouldn't".
    On another note Ron, I hear that you have a hockey school sometime this summer, where can I get some information on it, is it for all ages?

    Keep up the good work on the blog!

    Go 'Canes

     
  • At 4/26/2006 8:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Do the Canes need to be challenged in a game before they start playing hockey? When Cullen scored almost immediately in the first game, obviously the goal put the Canes ahead. Could this have mentally put them at ease considering it was a home game, they had a lead, they had not lost to Montreal this year, etc? They were down heavy in game two and came back to take a lead. Maybe the thought of playing away, and knowing they have to win 4 of the next 5 games, will put a sense of urgency into the team.

     
  • At 4/26/2006 8:33 AM, Blogger Ron Francis said…

    RMF10Well it seems for the most part we all agree on a few things. One, the Canes have to play 60 minutes like they played in the second period last game, and two it's a tough decision on who should be in net tonight. A case can be made for each guy. Ward came in and played well, however he is young and as a result can lack consistency in his game right now( the future does look bright though), but the team did respond with a better effort when he was put in. On the other hand, Gerber hasn't played his best yet but he is the guy who got you here, so should he get the start? Tough decision. I am sure that Lavy will consult with Jim Rutherford on this one since Jim is an ex goalie.
    As for the question about the hockey school, yes I am doing one, June 12th to the 16th at the Reczone in Raleigh.

     
  • At 4/26/2006 12:30 PM, Blogger Stormbringer said…

    "...and two it's a tough decision on who should be in net tonight. A case can be made for each guy. Ward came in and played well, however he is young and as a result can lack consistency in his game right now( the future does look bright though), but the team did respond with a better effort when he was put in. On the other hand, Gerber hasn't played his best yet but he is the guy who got you here, so should he get the start? Tough decision. I am sure that Lavy will consult with Jim Rutherford on this one since Jim is an ex goalie."

    The more I think about it, the more I can see the argument for starting Gerbs tonight. It *would* bring back his confidence, which would greatly help.

    But, my largest concern with starting Gerber is if the stomach virus is still ailing him. If it is, then let him sit...usually, stomach viruses don't last long. But I worry with not only Gerbs' having tried to play through his illness, but also the possibility of the teammates catching whatever Gerbs has/had. Certain injuries you can play through, but not most illnesses. With the possible exception of the common cold and/or allergies...though, I am sure one or both of those just don't do wonders for a player's concentration. Look at the Rangers, who are said to be having a illness of some sort spreading through the team right now...and they've been blown out in both of their games thus far.

     
  • At 4/26/2006 1:21 PM, Blogger Sam said…

    Please don't feed the trolls that use terms like "Candy Canes". It is like conversing with people who say "Maple Laffs" or "Hab-nots de Montreal" and all kinds of other inane things that convey no information, wit, or intelligence, only a desire to get a predictable response. So just don't do it. 12 year olds using the internet on their mom's computer can use cheap insults like "Candy Canes".

    Habs fans should definitely be proud of their team's performance in the first two games, make no mistake about it. They've come through when they've had opportunities and the bottom line is they have 2 wins in the 2 games.

     
  • At 4/26/2006 1:43 PM, Anonymous HurricanesAngel said…

    I hope Gerber gets the spot as goalie in tonight's game. He's a great goalie and a big part of why the Hurricanes are in the playoffs period. Don't get me wrong, Ward came in and played a great game Monday night. I was very pleased with his performance but Gerber is a better goalie to me and we need our best at their best. I hope he's feeling it mentally and physically for tonight's match up. This is a must win for us. All the team needs is a good hard earned win as they have gotten so many times this year to boost their confidence and feed that hunger in their eyes. You'd be surprised at what a win will do for the team morale tonight. Win or Lose, which I'm praying they win... The Hurricanes are a fantastic team and I can only see them getting better and better each season. Go Canes!

     
  • At 4/26/2006 2:45 PM, Blogger Scott in NC said…

    Ron, if you knew that Gerber were injured I realize that it would be improper to comment on that. However, it sure looks to be the case. He won't come out to meet the rush and he seems physically to have trouble reacting to shots on the high glove side.

    Not having played competitive hockey, I don't know but is it possible that fatigue can cause this? This is not the Gerber we saw in the Olympics and with the Canes earlier in the season.

    In any case, it is a shame for him after all he accomplished during the year - and this being prior to him being up for a new contract next year. I will certainly be hoping that he gets his chance to turn it around in Montreal.

     
  • At 4/26/2006 3:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    In today's N&O Sports section it stated that Gerber "took a shot in the throat, leaving a red contusion on the side of his neck."
    He's not having a good week.
    I would start Gerber and see how he plays in the beginning. I think Lav will be able to tell if he's up for an entire game BEFORE allowing 3 goals.

     
  • At 4/26/2006 9:43 PM, Blogger nchurricane1 said…

    As I sit here during the intermission waiting for the start of the first OT in Game 3, despite a terrific season, I just can't get as excited about this Hurricanes team as the 2002 team. I grew up with the Miracle Mets of 1969 and hadn't felt that feeling again until the 2002 Canes. There just doesn't seem to be the same spark on this team as the 2002 team. Its not right to say that loosing a single person deflates a team, but I truly feel that loosing Eric Cole let a large amount of the wind out of this teams sail. Ron...put a suit back on and lead them on!!!!

     
  • At 4/26/2006 10:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    habs fan: "So, the first team they played that actually was a real team was Detroit, and we all know how bad they made the Candy Canes look."

    What series were you watching? The one where Carolina won game 1, and took Detroit within an inch of their life in game 3, minutes short of going up 2 games to 1, in one of the most epic SCF games in the history of the NHL? Or some other one, only in your head?

    -Sam

     

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