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 28, 2006

THEY'RE BAAACK!

I think y'all would agree with me when I say that's the team we were waiting to see. Right from the start I thought the Canes were solid. In the first they played a very smart, good defensive period. Exactly what the road team is suppose to do. The Canadiens on the other hand for the first time in the series were under pressure and seemed shaky. As a result, the Canes were able to jump out to a 2-0 lead. In the second, I thought the Canes still worked hard, but didn't seem to work as smart or execute as well as they did in the first and that opened the door for the Habs to climb back into the game. And give them credit, they took advantage of the opportunity. In the third the Canes were back to playing a solid game. They limited the Habs chances and were able to get the go ahead and eventual game winning goal. Once again Roddie played a huge role in the outcome, and for me it was also a great sign to see JustinWilliams elevate his game at such a critical time and under tough circumstances. This series reminds me in many ways of some heavyweight bouts. Early in the match the underdog comes out swinging, staggering the favorite, but unable to finish him off. Then the favorite is able to regain his senses and climb his way back into the match. That's where I think we are now. The Habs realize they had the Canes on the ropes. They also realize they couldn't put them away. They know they blew a great chance and now must try and find away to regain the advantage. An advantage that is clearly on the Canes side. I would expect the Canes to step on the ice Sunday night at the RBC to a deafening roar and that will help them to continue to play the game they were so successful with all year, a game that they finally found again in game 4. They're back!

20 Comments:

  • At 4/28/2006 10:35 PM, Blogger Mikeyusmc said…

    All I have to say is wow! For all of us that never lost faith this is so rewarding. This is the Canes of the early season. Cam is playing like the star he will be for many years to come. I feel bad for Gerber knowing he got us here only to see Ward carry the load now. I also know know that Gerber is enough of a professional to be happy with the results and not feel sorry for himself. There is no doubt as Mr Francis said that the Hurricanes will receive a welcome Sunday unlike any they have ever heard. I am extremely proud of this team and proud to be a fan of the Hurricanes. Two more wind then on to the next round. Let's ride this positive wave all the way to the finals. Go Canes!!!!!!!!

     
  • At 4/28/2006 10:43 PM, Anonymous canes fan said…

    The Canes are playing back to the way the hae all year! Up tempo and aggresive, I am looking oifward to Sunday!

     
  • At 4/28/2006 10:47 PM, Anonymous kim said…

    Mr. Francis, I totally agree with everything in your assessment of tonight's game. I can't wait for Game 5 on Sunday! The RBC Center will be nuts for sure!

    Rod is really putting the team on his back and leading by example, much like another recent Canes captain did back in '02...

     
  • At 4/28/2006 10:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Great win lead from the front by the Captain. The pendulum has swung back to the Canes. They played as a tight unit and prevented the rushes the Canadiens had in the previous games. Hopefully we will not see Tim Peel again :)

     
  • At 4/28/2006 10:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I thoroughly enjoy your insight into the Stanley Cup playoffs, which I feel is the best playoff experience professional sports has to offer. The juxtaposition of the outstanding play of a rookie like Cam Ward with a seasoned veteran like Roddie is what I find inspiring about the Hurricanes this year. Everyone on the team finds their moment to shine. Recchi to Roddie to win the game, I hit the ceiling when the puck crossed the line. Tonight, Williams showed the focus and patience that have served him well in his best performances of this season. To use the metaphor of the storms spawned off the cost of Africa, this series started with a team that played a disorganized style that was easily dismissed as non threatening. As the games progressed the Storm has organized. I think it would be safe to say, folks in Montreal are starting to think this Hurricane has organized and it is not going to end well for Canadiens fans, at the hands of the Hurricanes, yet again. Sammy Markov

     
  • At 4/28/2006 11:13 PM, Anonymous Sleeping dog said…

    The team that all of us have seen at the RBC center all season is back. After the double overtime loss on Sat.
    I know a lot people wer thinking that the HABS. had the edge. As for Myself, I though the canes had the edge and a bit more grit, it showed tonight and on game 3. I agree with everyone else when they say that the RBC center will be rocking.

     
  • At 4/28/2006 11:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    And we're back now with the home ice advantage. First it went to even, and then incredibly it became the Habs advantage. Great effort to regain it and return home Sunday with them on the defensive.

     
  • At 4/28/2006 11:46 PM, Blogger canes fan said…

    Hi, does anyone know when the Canes plane gets into RDU tonight? Would like to go to show support....GO CANES!!!

     
  • At 4/29/2006 1:06 AM, Anonymous Loveless said…

    yeeeeeeeeeeeeehaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa,
    Carolina, man i wish i had tickets to sundays game, it's going to be great!!!!!! Can't wait to watch it on T.V.. Putting Cam in is the best thing done all post-season--sorry Gerber,you did great all season. I grew up watching Buffalo, I was so glad Carolina got a team down here.

    GO CANES

     
  • At 4/29/2006 2:12 AM, Blogger Stormbringer said…

    YES. I'd love to know where Game Four's Canes were hiding during the previous games AND really, the last couple of months in general. EASILY the best game in not only the Canes/Habs series thus far, but also in quite sometime.

    It was great to see Brindy take more face-offs, as I suggested in an earlier response here. And as a matter of fact, it was a face-off won by Roddy in the final seven-eight seconds that practically won the game for the Canes.

    See Canes, you *can* play without Cole. And boy, did you ever do that in Game Four...

    Speaking of crucial players being out and their effect on a team's performance, the Habs quite understandably seem to be a little down and out without Koivu. And even though the Habs certainly did play good in Game Four, you could tell that they were a tiny bit more off than on...especially in the first period, during which the Canes took control most beautifully.

    That said, the Canes are practically in like Flynn if they can play the next two (worst case, three) games like Game Four. And obviously, they'll need to win one at home...something that's been hard to do for quite a few teams in this year's playoffs. But, I have this wonderful feeling that the Canes will join the ranks of the rare few to win at home...

    Oh, and the real reason the Canes won Game Four? My new kittycat, whom I adopted yesterday (April 28th)...its coat is as silver as the Cup. And if it weren't for the fact that the cat is a female AND already has a name I've grown to like (Bette Davis, because of her blue eyes), I would have named it Stanley. :D

     
  • At 4/29/2006 2:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Plane came into RDU about 1:15 this morning to about 250 happy canes fans. I wonder how many of the younger guys lost a bet on that plane when it pulled up and the vets have alittle extra ching in the pocket. Cant wait till Sunday night!!

     
  • At 4/29/2006 7:51 AM, Anonymous janet rudderham said…

    This lonely Cane fan up here in CB is thrilled ! Winning two in the Bell Centre is surely worth 3 or 4 anywhere else ! What can I say -God's in his heaven ,all's right with the world " -at least one little corner of it .Brind A'mour had big skates to fill -and God love him -he's doing it !!
    As you said ,Mr. F.,now it's 2 out of 3 -and sometime real soon home ice has to count for something !! How about Sunday !

     
  • At 4/29/2006 9:28 AM, Anonymous HurricanesAngel said…

    As I said earlier, it's not over till the fat lady sings... on that note I think Cam Ward and the Hurricanes stuffed a sock in her mouth so she'll NEVER sing! I'm so excited and happy for the team so I can only imagine the emotions they're all feeling right now. I can hardly wait for Sunday's game! Go 'Canes!!!!!!!!!

     
  • At 4/29/2006 9:58 AM, Anonymous Michelle said…

    That's a Carolina Hurricanes Goal!!! WOO, woo, woo, woo, woo!!! I'm so looking forward to tomorrow night at the RBC Center! The deafening crowd will be an awesome welcome home for the Canes! Roddie has been exceptional in leading the guys through this round...shows his quality as a player and as the team's captain. Let's not forget Wardo's goal tending...he's been outstanding. Pretty good for a five year old huh?? =)

    Mr. Francis I will agree, this was the best they've played and they are only going to get better! The Habs have realized we are not going away!

    I'm pround of the Canes and as always Ray needs to keep up the great cameos...I think it's time I bring my Ray Whitney sign back out to the RBC Center since I won't be home to watch his cameo on TV!! GO CANES!!!! The eye of the storm is upon Raleigh! Now lets show the Habs how we rock!

     
  • At 4/29/2006 10:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Okay Ron, you just used "y'all" in a sentence, which makes you an official southerner!

     
  • At 4/29/2006 2:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm glad to see that the Hurricanes are back in the series....but they haven't played their best game yet.

     
  • At 4/29/2006 4:58 PM, Blogger Sment said…

    Mr. Francis, in light of all the road team wins we've seen in this series (and in the 2002 run as well), I'm wondering about the pressure players feel in front of the home crowd during playoffs.

    Is the atmosphere of the RBC (noise, waving towels, etc.) a distraction to the Canes, or a boost? Certainly, the guys don't want to disappoint the home crowd. And, we Caniacs do love to make the RBC rock. Just wondering . . .

     
  • At 4/29/2006 10:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    As one fan who did a 100 Mile round trip to see the canes come in at the airport.. There are more than a few things BAAAAAck.

    Yee HAAaa!

     
  • At 4/29/2006 10:12 PM, Blogger CC said…

    I travelled 100 miles round trip to see then canes return to the airport. I knew there would be people there. But My GOD. So many.

    There are more than a few things BAAAAAACK!

    PS. as far as being loud at the games. It was a loud as I have ever seen it for game 2. We came back from 3-0. I am sure this energy is used by the players.

     
  • At 4/30/2006 6:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think today's Game 5 will be as wonderful as 2002's "Mother's Day Massacre."
    I love my Canes and I have NEVER been more proud of them than after
    Games 3 & 4. The roof will come off the RBC Center tonight when the Canes hit the ice.
    Let's Go Canes!

     

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