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.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Start Gerber In Game 2

Well, that was unexpected. Before I get into my observations, let me start by answering the question I think is on most of your minds. Yes, I start Martin Gerber in game 2 Monday. Though he will receive a lot of the blame, I don't feel he deserves all of it. There were a lot of mistakes in front of him. I think he would be the first guy to tell you he needs to play better and he can, but tonight was one of those days at the office when nothing went right. Guys falling down at the wrong time, Turnovers in the defensive zone, bad special teams, goals going in off the post, they were all part of tonight's result. Some nights things are bad and tonight was one of those nights. Let's hope we got them all out tonight.

Give the Canadiens credit also, they played a solid, simple, but effective game. They were a little rattled with the early goal against them but settled down to play a great game. The playoffs are hard enough without helping to beat yourself, and in this game the Canes helped do just that. A crucial turning point was in the 2nd period when the Canes had a great chance to get back into the game with a 5 on 3. Not only did they not score, but right after the power play expired, the Canadiens went down on a breakaway and scored. Game over.

This was only one game of potentially seven and there is a lot of hockey left to be played, but you don't want to head back to Montreal down 2-0.

27 Comments:

  • At 4/23/2006 1:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I don't think the Canes could have played any worse nor Montreal any better. I wouldn't be suprised to see a more focused Hurricane team take the next four. Sometimes a good smack in the mouth like we got tonight will be the wake-up call we need for the playoffs.

     
  • At 4/23/2006 1:49 AM, Blogger Stormbringer said…

    I, too, do not blame Gerber for the debacle that was Game One. But it does not surprise me how many want to blame him...more often than not, the goalie is the one who gets the most fingers pointed at him, even if he does not deserve it. A lot of the goals allowed were more defensive blunders than Gerbs' fault...

    I certainly hope that Game One was a cleaning out of the cobwebs, and nothing else to really worry about. I think someone at one of the message boards I visit nailed it when they said how at first in 2002, the Canes had a hard time solving Theodore. But then once they did, it was good night Gracie...

    Perhaps it's the same case with Huet. And if it takes all seven games for the Canes to figure him out, then I hope they manage to use all seven...whatever it takes. They definitely need to win Monday, I find just thinking about going back up to Habs Country down two games simply dreadful.

     
  • At 4/23/2006 8:50 AM, Anonymous Jen said…

    I don't blame Gerber completely either. There were mistakes on his part, but I'm most worried what's happening at the other end of the ice! There is hardly anyone one there to take shots or get the rebounds! It's very frustrating to yell "Get in FRONT of the goal!" and "Look, there's nobody there!" all during the game. I think I saw someone in front on Montreal's goal four times during the whole game. The guys on the side have no one to pass to in front of the goal so it always goes off the goal post, or more often to the OTHER TEAM. I hope they do better tomorrow and hope they realize they have a opportunity to do something great during the playoffs! Go Canes~

     
  • At 4/23/2006 8:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I hope the Canandiens sweep in 4 games ..I am so tired working of at the RBC

     
  • At 4/23/2006 9:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am concerned that Joe V seems to be a ghost on the ice since his comeback (except for game one). While I realize he's merely a part of the team, I don't see him adding to our team over the last 14 days. I think he should be rested with lots of practice time. He's playing like he doesnt want to break a fingernail.

    I am also concerned that Commodore, and a few others seem to be getting way out of place, both defensively and on our break outs. Frequently it looks like the only 2 guys that know where the other 2 will be are our 2 pickups this year (Doug and Mark). The normal guys put in outstanding effort, but Staals occasional lapses of hustle don't do Sean Hill/Wesley/RonnieF and some of the other hero's of 2002 any credit.

    Lets hope this first game was more about us being nervous then it was the start of things to come.

    I do think it was a large mistake not to get Ward some playing time over the last 3 weeks. If Gerber gets injured we will regret that.

     
  • At 4/23/2006 11:28 AM, Blogger luther said…

    the kovalev goal from gerbers left side was unacceptable and doug weight needs to be traded to florida to buy a retirement home. i wish i could say something positive about the last month of canes hockey but i cant, i was hoping the crowd could reenergize them into the team we saw during the first 3/4 of the season. Mr. Francis, what happened to that all out aggresive play that made the canes a top team?

     
  • At 4/23/2006 11:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Unfortunately Gerber is there to stop shots and he palpably failed to do it this time. The rest of the team seemed to be all at sixes and sevens and you know there is a problem when they resort to dump and chase. The loss of Erik Cole is evident for all to see and I do not think that the addition of Weight and Recchi has helped. Adding Weight helped steady the ship after the loss of Cole but neither he nor Recchi have the speed to fit easily into this team. I think that is a fundamental problem and a reason why Laviolette keeps juggling his lines. Whether the Canes can overcome the Habs only time will tell. If they lose on Monday, the team can start to get their golf clubs ready.

     
  • At 4/23/2006 12:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The Canes were a little cocky when they lost overall 1st place...I'll bet the Canadiens were extra pumped up...this is an intangible in playoff hockey...do not give the opposition any more inspiration

     
  • At 4/23/2006 2:12 PM, Anonymous Eyeof theStorm said…

    The Canes had 42 shots on goal! That is a lot of offensive fire- power. . .much more than aver-age. And guess what? Huet - a rookie - stopped all but one of those shots! He let in 2% of our shots on goal! Damn fine netmind- ing! The Canadiens had 21 shots on goal. That is a puny offensive effort for the Habs. . .far below average team outputs, which means that our defense was tremendous! And guess what? Gerber let in SIX (6) of them! Yes, I said SIX out of 21, or roughly 29% of their shots on goal. Your goal tender allows almost 30% of the enemy's shots on goal to find the back of the net and you lose every time! Numbers don't lie. All you Gerber apologists out there, including Mr. Francis, had better wise up. The overrated Gerber (as if we had somebody to replace him) had bet- ter jack it up a good ten notches or more in the remaining Montreal games, or the Canes' players will be watching the rest of the Stanley Cup playoffs on their home TVs!

     
  • At 4/23/2006 2:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Bench Gerber??? No Way BENCH BIG JOE!!! He needs to be sent to the press box when Whitney is ready!

    The fans need to make a ton of noise to support the boys and get a win on Monday

    sent by jim leonard

     
  • At 4/23/2006 2:40 PM, Blogger bigcaneleonard said…

    Bench Gerber???? No Way! BENCH BIG JOE...what a waste of space. He needs to hit the pressbox when Whitney is ready.

     
  • At 4/23/2006 4:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I was so disappointed with our play last night at home! We've not done played well at all over the last few games and I'm worried we're a "tired team"!

    I really hope we come back on Monday focused on the task at hand. If the Canes make a run I think it really gives not only the Triangle fans something to crow about but the NHL as well! Could there be a better story?

    Ron...it was a real pleasure watching you play with the Canes...do you think the injuries we've had are the biggest obstacles at this point?

    Thanks and take care!

    -Brad (from Houston, TX)

     
  • At 4/23/2006 5:55 PM, Blogger Benjamin said…

    Ron;

    I can acknowlege that you are in a much better position to handicap the playoffs, having been there. The problem Saturday night was that the 'Canes defense collapsed in the rush to get the puck into the offensive zone without regard for the back door consequences...however, a number of the Habs goals could have been prevented if Gerber had been at the top of his game. What about Ward? Is there a possibility that the youngster could rise to the occasion? If Gerber falls out in Game 2, wouldn't you advise Laviollette to give Cam a run?

     
  • At 4/23/2006 10:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Regardless of the outcome of the game, the fans should be supportive. I was embarrassed to hear all of the "booing" from the crowd. The Canes have come a long way this season. We as fans need to appreciate that.

     
  • At 4/24/2006 2:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I was at the game on Saturday and I have to say that the entire team was off their game. Gerber kept letting them get him up high and our offense couldn't convert on SEVERAL chances. Yes we had a lot of shots on goal, but most of them were out of desperation and without the set-ups that the Habs were able to coordinate.

    Plain and simple, the Habs beat us. We came out expecting Montreal to roll over and hand us the game and we played like it was a pre-season throw away.

    Having said all that, I firmly believe that the Canes will come out very stron and determined on Monday. Gerber should and will start. Our guys will establish an early strong game and put the Habs on their heels. Essentially, we will play like we are known to play: spectactular and under appreciated.

     
  • At 4/24/2006 8:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Bench Joe? Are you kidding? I didn't hear anybody complaining his first game back. He did more in that one game than Chad LaRose has done in 70 games. Chad LaRose is an energy guy, and knows his role. For him to be rewarded to the 2nd line??? Don't know if it was deserved. I say that when Whitney comes back, we will right the ship. You can look up the power play numbers and also win percentage with Whitney in the lineup. LaRose should get the bench, Joe back to 2nd line, Whitney with Recchi and Weight, we should be dangerous.

     
  • At 4/24/2006 9:36 AM, Anonymous Rick said…

    -The score was 6-1. Blame it on Gerber? Some maybe but that lonely single goal is not going to win you many games. Now you guys will have to win one in Montreal. Even with a Canes win, facing over 21,000 loud crazy fans up north will be a challenge. For me, I hope the Habs win tonight but even if they don't I will have the satisfaction of going home with a victory.- A Canadian Habs Fan

     
  • At 4/24/2006 10:57 AM, Anonymous Darren said…

    This team has not been the same since the loss of Erik Cole. His physical play is sorely missed. He might not have scored all the goals, but he was able to take the puck right to the net on any night and it kept the other team's defence honest. We now have no one who can go right up to the front of the goal on a power move without getting pushed off the puck. Kevyn Adams tries, but he does not have the finishing aspect that Cole did. With Cole being so dangerous, it opened up chances for the other guys on the ice. Because the main effort of the other team had to be on Erik, it gave others a great chance to score too. Gerber has let in some soft goals, but he is getting absolutely no help in front right now. If the team does not pick it up, it will be a short series. Game one and the previous game against Buffalo, were two of the worst efforts on the ice that this team has had all year. Time to wake up Canes and play some hockey!

     
  • At 4/24/2006 11:25 AM, Blogger Chris said…

    I would definitely start Gerber in game two. I think the key is to up the tempo in the offensive zone - we need to break down Huet, just like we eventually broke down Theodore in '02. Once we crack the armor, we should be able to bust it open.

    He's hot right now and in the zone. We need to insert some doubt in his mind. The rest will take care of itself.

    It looks like Joe V is out tonight, by the way, replaced by Ladd. Whitney should be back too. Hopefully that will help out the power play.

     
  • At 4/24/2006 12:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am a habs fan too and i say blame it on gerber too. yes the habs played very well but 3 of our goals should'nt have entered . I think you have underestimated our players and no matter the results of tonight's game ...good luck at Bell Center cause we will be 21000 to scream GO HABS GO !!! hahaha

     
  • At 4/24/2006 12:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I was very disappointed in how the Hurricanes as a team played Saturday night. There was no one person to blame for the loss, they didn't play well period. As the old saying goes, it's not over till the fat lady sings and I don't hear music playing. Good Luck tonight Hurricanes!

     
  • At 4/24/2006 1:05 PM, Anonymous Robert Y. said…

    To me the Canes look tired. Their passing does not appear to be very crisp and precise at times. I believe that like in any sport a team wants to peak at the right time and I just don't believe that the Canes are. Also, with the loss of Cole the whole identity of the team has changed. They have only beaten one team that is in the playoffs out of the last 13 match ups. They are going to have to play above and beyond their usual capabilities to make it past the first round. As much as I hate to say and see it, I see the Canadiens advancing 4-1.

     
  • At 4/24/2006 1:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    If Carolina shoots at the net 43 times and score one or two goals, the Hurricanes will lose again — gerber or no Gerber..
    With this Montreal team, we have to take advantage of their defense lapses... and start shooting from the slot...
    This is a quick Canadiens team that likes to crowd the net after the Hurricanes find a player behind their defense...
    In other words, perhaps a lot of one-timers before they get a chance to crowd the net..
    The third line is crtical for the 'Canes tonight because the Canadiens likely will put two streaking defensement who sometimes can play loose...
    Virtually any team in the leagues would take a 43-21 advantage on shooting.. But while one game is not a trend, losing again with this lopsided statistics could deflate a team for Game 3.

     
  • At 4/24/2006 3:07 PM, Anonymous mike said…

    just like what laviolette said in the paper this morning...they had 43 shots and they limited 7 shots a period..i dont knw what else you can do, defense wise...I would start Gerber for game 2 tonight because we cant take the chance of putting Cam Ward in as a rookie..Gerber got his taste of what its going to be like, we cant sacrifice another game for Cam Ward to do the same..I mean, what can you ask from this kid? he's a rookie and you want to take out your 38 regular season game winner out in because he had one warm up game? no way. I agree with Mr. Francis

    Gerber just had a wakeup call..And i'm sure laviolette put them through a lot of footage of game one and is going to get them fired up for game 2..Gerber needs to square them shoulders up and play HIS GAME. "HIS GAME" meaning what he did vs. Canada.






    GO CANES!!!

     
  • At 4/24/2006 3:59 PM, Blogger John Allore said…

    Ron Francis,

    What a pleasure to have your thoughts during the Canes playoff run!

    I was their Saturday, I will be back tonight. I was born in Montreal so I'm cheering the Habs, but I'm really rooting for whoever turns out to be the better team.

    I too will weigh in that the Canes look tired. I noticed it first about 2 weeks ago when they faced New Jersey; Staal looked winded all night.

    I hope tonight's game isn't a one sided effort like Saturday, whoever wins.

     
  • At 4/24/2006 6:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Canes do look tired, I think Weight needs to slide into Staal's role. Nothing against Staal, but he is no longer able to beat players 1 on 1 and is turning the puck over. He still should get a lot of ice tme, but he shouldn't be the #1 scoring line center at this point. Let a future hall of fame center take over for now.
    Bench Vasicek. His strength is along the boards, and he's been poor there. Let Ladd get a shot. He can score the garbage goal, and that's what this team needs right now.

     
  • At 4/24/2006 9:07 PM, Blogger KevynAdamsfan said…

    I think that Coach Laviolette needs to bench Gerber. Don't get me wrong, it's not all Gerber's fault. I do think that at least 75% of it was his fault. He doesn't seem like he has his mind on the game. Besides, why not play Cam. He's young, he's got skill and he's more focused.

     

Post a Comment

<< Home