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.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Canes/Devils

How's it going ,eh?( that was for my Canadian friend) Hope everyone is rested and ready to buckle up once again because the emotional roller coaster ride of the NHL playoffs is about to begin once again. Let me start by saying I like the match up. I know what your saying. How can he like a match up against a team that has won 15 straight? For starters, Ottawa and the Canes were on par for the whole season, so I would like to save that match up for the next round, if they get there. Buffalo is clicking on all cylinders right now and came into Raleigh and put on a pretty impressive show in the last game, so again, save them for the next round. That leaves the lesser of three evils, The Devils, a team that won 11 straight down the stretch and easily handled the Rangers in the first round, but hasn't played in a VERY LONG time. Interesting match up. In net the Devils have an experienced, extremely talented, future hall of fame goalie Martin Brodeur. The Canes have a guy who grew up idolizing Martin Brodeur. But the good news is they both play a similar game. They both handle the puck real well and they both see the whole ice very well and have great hockey sense. If you don't think Ward has hockey sense, just ask Mike Robeiro. So this should be another great duel in net. Up front, this is not the same Devil team you are use to seeing. Yes they are still good defensively, but not as good as they were in the past and I think the Canes will be able to generate a lot more scoring chances. They do, however have a much better power play than they have had in the past, so they Canes will have to do a good job of both limiting their PP opportunities and when they do give them one, do a good job of limiting their scoring chances. In the face off circle, I think the Canes should have a big edge, which shoud lead to more puck possession over the course of the game and series. But, the whole key to the Canes having success in thie series will once again start in their own end. They must do a good job defensively in limiting the Devils quality scoring chances. I feel that NJ has more guys who can take advantage of turnovers or sloppy play in the defensive end than Montreal did, so solid defense is a must for the Canes in this series. This series, like the last one looks to be a good one. Enjoy!

6 Comments:

  • At 5/06/2006 1:05 PM, Blogger Stormbringer said…

    My only beef with the Canes/Devils series? It's getting boring having to play (does her best Joysey accent) THE DEVILS(!!)* in the last three playoffs...

    BUT, boring can be good, especially here. I too feel that the Canes, of all teams, can cool down and exorcise the Devils.

    The Canes have this knack for getting into Brodey's head easier than other teams. Not to mention how the Devils no longer have Scott Stevens...I feel that will greatly help the Canes' chances. Not to mention how the Devils are just overdue for a loss...and the Rangers could have handed them at least one in the L column, if it weren't for:

    1. As I mentioned here much earlier, there was supposedly an illness spreading through and weakening the Rangers.

    2. Jagr, the Rangers' scoring bread and butter (not that the other Rangers are/were chopped liver, but Jagr was easily the tops among them) went out with an injury that needed surgery.

    and

    3. Their star goaltender AND then potential Calder candidate, Lundqvist, also went out.

    Without all of that, I think the Rangers could have made it more of a series. A lot of people, including myself, sure thought they would have put up more of a fight at the time.

    All of that said, I think the Canes have what it takes to take down the Devils...in addition to what I said above, they certainly have the confidence (or at least SHOULD have it) from their first round win. Also, most of the team is healthy (including Gerber, who I'd like to think has more than recovered from his stomach virus by now...of course, that could very well be moot if Wardo keeps up his outstanding play, something I fully expect him to do across the ice from his goaltending idol) AND they rely on more than one player, as made evident by the fact that a crucial aspect of the Habs series was that the Canes finally learned that they *can* play without Colesey. I have constantly said that if the Canes can do that, they can and will go places.

    My overall series prediction: Canes in 6. Let's go boys!

    * - Whenever the Canes play the Devs, I cannot help but always think of the Seinfeld episode about the nutty Devils fan who always had to yell "'CUZ WE/THEY'RE THE DEVILS!!" or some mess like that whenever his fave team won. That character is just too easy to make fun of, especially to this hockey nut... :D

    Ironically enough, the playoff series that took place during that particular episode featured the Rangers and Devils. o_O

     
  • At 5/06/2006 1:43 PM, Anonymous P.B. said…

    On the Eve of Round Two Game One

    Commodore, Commodore let down your hair.
    That helmet's too small for your great red affair.
    Don't trim your lid, please don't spray it with Nair.
    Commodore, Commodore let down your hair.

    (Go Canes!)

     
  • At 5/06/2006 4:43 PM, Blogger John Allore said…

    Seinfeld Devils hockey fan:

    That was Puddy... I always think of that too.

    6-0: think the Canes are in Marty's head yet?

     
  • At 5/06/2006 5:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh my God...what a game!!!

    If we continue to play with this intensity, we will be kissing the Cup in June!

     
  • At 5/06/2006 6:44 PM, Blogger Stormbringer said…

    "Seinfeld Devils hockey fan:

    That was Puddy... I always think of that too."


    Give the dude a cookie! :)

    I hafta admit that I know it's spelled "Puddy", but it often sounds like "Putty" to my ears...

     
  • At 5/09/2006 4:53 PM, Blogger Gman said…

    You do know you have more than one Canadian friend, right? Even in the Raleigh area? Give me an email and I'll buy you lunch.

    Gman

     

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