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 about the 'Canes bid for the Stanley Cup.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Half Way Home

Well other than the start, I felt the Canes did exactly what they needed to do to close this series out. The early goal could have been harmful, but they did a good job of recovering from that, and killing the 4 penalties that could have caused them to be in a big hole had they not done so. Once the Canes settled in after the first 10 minutes or so, I thought they took over the game. Again they won the special teams battle and it turned out to be the difference in the game. As I said at the start of this series, I liked the matchup, and I think as the series progressed, the Devils lack of depth up front compared to the Canes, and the inability to handle the Canes speed with their defense, turned out to be the difference in the series. I think the Devils had a good run, but I expect them to be a retooled team come next Sept. As for the Canes, I said earlier I liked the matchup against Montreal and I liked the matchup against NJ, but with Buffalo up next, things will get a little bit tougher. Let's all take a few days to rest and relax before the next series begins( my guess is Sat.) and I will get back to you later in the week to preview the next round. It should be a beauty! As for now, let's enjoy the fact that we're half way home, and let's all hope that Stillman's injury is not that serious!


  • At 5/14/2006 10:59 PM, Blogger canesguy said…

    Another fabulous Mothers Day at the RBC Center. Ronnie nailed it - after surviving the first furious onslaught by the Devils the Canes took total control of the game. Outshooting the Devils 26-7 over the last two periods is a very impressive statistic. As usual with the Canes it was a great TEAM effort. To bounce back so beautifully from yesterday's horrible experience - I have never been so proud of my Canes.
    Buffalo will certainly be a real challenge but we have shown this year that we can play them successfully. When the Canes get in gear and play their game, they can beat anybody. BRING ON BUFFALO! GO CANES!

  • At 5/14/2006 11:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The 'Canes seemed to have control over this game, and the whole series (minus four). It's hard to see them losing four games the way they are playing right now, so efficient and balanced. Buffalo will be tough, but I think they know what it takes and would like to avenge that 4-0 loss at the end of the season. Here's to a speedy recovery for Cory, and we are praying for ya!!! Thanks Ron.

  • At 5/14/2006 11:15 PM, Blogger Phil said…

    Wow! Great to see the series finally end. This team is looking special, much like the 2002 squad. I live in DC, but I'm hoping there are a few weekend games vs Buffalo in Raleigh that will allow me to come down, tailgate, and see a Canes win!!

  • At 5/14/2006 11:16 PM, Blogger HurricanesAngel said…

    What a wonderful end to a beautiful day even with all the bad weather surrounding the RBC Center! God Bless the Hurricanes!

  • At 5/15/2006 12:37 AM, Blogger Stormbringer said…

    Sweep? We don't need no stinkin' sweep! *cackles*

    Seriously, I hated that the Canes didn't sweep the Devils yesterday...BUT, I will certainly take tonight, which happened to be the first series win at home in Canes franchise history*.

    I am already highly looking forward to the Buffalo series...I especially dig how at the beginning of the season, the Sabres and the Canes were both media/critical favorites to finish last in the East AND League. And now here they are as the cream of the Eastern just can't get more appropro than that. :D

    But, Buffalo certainly will not be easy...I don't know what will be more fun to watch, how both teams' similar styles will play out against one another, or the possible young goaltender battle(s) between Wardo and Ryan Miller.

    I too hope Stillman is ok...the injury looked to be in the leg or back. He sure was in pain...whatever the injury is, I'll be praying for a safe and quick recovery for Cory.

    * - Counting the Whalers history of the franchise, tonight/Game Five would be the second series closing home win. The first one ever took place in the Hartford Civic Center on April 12th, 1986, vs. the Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche.

  • At 5/15/2006 2:25 AM, Blogger SFC Ken said…

    I was a little worried at the beginning, that 1st period was looking a lot like the entire game 4. They got back into the game and really controlled it the last two periods.

    Getting up early is so worth it when they dominate like they did. And that power play goal was a thing of beauty, how Justin got the puck to Cory, I don't know, but the OLN guys were extremely impressed.

    Speaking of OLN, they just couldn't help but gush over Marty on every little save he made, but, they also praised Cam too. Over all they did a decent job calling the game.

    I can hardly wait for the next series to start. I still want to be there, but Uncle Sam sort of needs me over here for right now.

    Mr. Francis, I'm looking forward to your thoughts as we prepare for the Sabres. GO CANES!!!

  • At 5/15/2006 6:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Was is it an omen? We had Hurricane-like weather to go with our Hurricane's VICTORY! Was Mother Nature tailgating in North Carolina yesterday? Let's hope this hurricane continues its path through Buffalo and onto the finals! Let's bring that cup to Raleigh!

  • At 5/15/2006 7:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh,sometimes it feels good-real good to be the lone Cane fan in my corner of the world !Yeah ,it would be nice to have someone to high-five with (you will have to stand in !) -but ,forgive me - it is just so much fun !Jersey fan hasn't said anything ,and I respect that.
    A lot of buzz about how tough Buffalo might be -they're fast, they're good !But at least both teams will have some time to rest and collect their thoughts .It must make a difference when one team comes off a 4 or 5 game series ,and the other a 7 game battle to the final buzzer !Looking forward to your insight .
    til later this week -congrats from Cape Breton !(where one of the highest ranked golf courses in North America sits overlooking the Atlantic -Highland Links -look it up -since you won't be talking to us for a few days )

  • At 5/15/2006 9:51 AM, Blogger nchurricane1 said…

    I had to work through most of last nights game but kept running to the TV to catch glimpses. I was actually glad to see NJ score the first goal. The Canes trademark this year has been to come from behind...I think being down gives them that extra spark and the boys certainly sparked in the last two periods.

    Ron...thanks so much for your comments and insites so far. Makes us feel even closer to the team having someone of your stature take the time to do this.

    Bring on BUFFALO!!!!

  • At 5/15/2006 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I would have loved to have seen a sweep. It'd have been Good Justice against the much-hated Devils. But a Mom's Day gift of a victory for our hockey moms is just as sweet. Was it just me or did it seem like the TV announcers were a little starry-eyed over Scott Gomez during most of the games? On and on they went about how great he was, even when he wasn't doing anything, and no matter how good the Canes were doing. I think Brindy is the better player. But maybe the announcers can find work for the PGA this spring as Gomez wanders the links, Cupless. :)

    The Canes looked great last night. They didn't sit back when they went into the lead, they really hustled on the ice. Our checking improved, which I was glad for - they were beating us up rather bad on Saturday.

    Jersey was the team I was worried about the most, but the Canes showed that they had more heart.

    Ron, your legacy really showed in this series in terms of the Canes' good sportsmanship. The way the Canes reacted at being down 4-0 compared to how Jersey handled their 4-0 defecit was very telling. If our guys would have been hot-headed, I think we'd have lost this series. I was embarrassed at all the fists flying from Jersey.

    Keep up the great work, Canes!

  • At 5/15/2006 12:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey Everyone! What a sweeeeet Mother's Day! I was a little nervous after entering the arena and not having a towel or pom pom to wave AND then when NJ scored 57 seconds into the game, well I thought that dark cloud over the stadium was a bad omen. Silly me, it's the Canes, at home, and they were full of fire! So today I'm nursing a weak voice and what looks like a bad botox job because of the stupid grin that hasn't left my face since last night.

    Brodeur's encouraging words to Ward to take it all the way was a class act and hopefully Cory will be 100% by Saturday.

    As far as that loss in Jersey. Our boys lost so they could bring it on home for their fans and make a special day for all the Caniac Moms! :) GO CANES!

  • At 5/15/2006 1:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Being from the Buffalo area and adopting the 'Canes as my #2 team, this is the ultimate matchup in a conference final for me.

    Good luck to both teams and hopefully we can have a Game 7 OT thriller (with Buffalo winning of course, don't hate me!)

  • At 5/15/2006 2:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Canes played great - their anticipation right now is freaking me out. They can see the plays before they happen... great groove to be in! Go Canes... :) (Even tho I am a born and raised Leaf fan!!)

  • At 5/15/2006 3:04 PM, Anonymous Michelle said…

    Ron, thanks so much for your insight. It is greatly appreciated. I'm sure you are aware you get cheered everytime you come on the jumbotron when they play the Let's Go Canes song! Always great to see you there, even if it is the jumbotron!

    The game was great; however, we didn't care for the officials with the game. Most of us felt that they weren't calling any penalties on NJ. We showed them by coming back to win it! It was a great game and was so happy to be there!

    I think they were saying that Stillman's injury wasn't too serious, so hopefully he can rest up these couple of days to be ready for Buffalo!

    I'm looking forward to the next round, should be a great match up!!!

  • At 5/15/2006 4:09 PM, Anonymous Puck Bard said…

    The Hockey Somnambulist

    Did you ever get the feeling that you're all hockeyed out?
    The Ides of May are on us, the season's past for one last shout?
    Have you had that sense, you've reached mid-point, too tired for two last bouts
    Did you ever have that feeling that you are all hockeyed out?

    The Canes have clinched yet one more series, ho hum, ho hum-hum hee
    Now ticket prices have been doubled, you're all tapped out to pay the fee
    And hockey's best-of-seven pace just crawls away at time
    By the time they reach the finals, RBC will have your one last dime

    Do you have that sinking feeling that all the games just feel the same?
    Sure last night you enjoyed the victory, but didn't it seem like any other game?
    If I have to hear The Boss and "The Rising" anymore I'll scream
    Get to game seven of the finals! "til then, can I watch a baseball team?

    'Cause winter's frozen pastime is wasted in this heat
    I want Lord Stanley's glory, but first we've got Buffalo to beat
    And Sabres won't rollover like some other teams we've upended
    But for god sakes fellas, its nearly June, put a fork in it! End it!

    So did you ever have that feeling that you truly are all hockeyed out?
    Sixteen games drag on and on, you've replaced Summer lager for cold hard stout.
    And the droning voice of Joe Beninati has cast your world in doubt,
    Did you ever have that feel that you're all hockeyed out?

  • At 5/15/2006 5:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow, the Canes have home ice advantage for the duration of the playoffs. They have a hot goalie. They are playing well. This is where they wanted to be at the beginning of the season.

    I like this team not only because they are my home team. I also like this team because this is a great group of guys, every single one, and I hope for each one of them to be able to enjoy the thrill of hoisting that cup in victory when this is all over.

    Continued best of luck - Go Canes!

  • At 5/15/2006 5:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What a night - the devils couldn't take it, the refs sure tried to give it, but it was all Canes. Echo to the how proud they make you feel, shivers from the past in another cup run and nice to beat Marty in Raleigh.

    The Sabres bring a different style to deal with but the Canes are up to the task - lets keep our focus and stay behind our team.


  • At 5/17/2006 2:39 PM, Anonymous James said…

    To "Puck Bard": Umm... no. I'm NEVER hockeyed out.

    And if anyone feels like they are, the upcoming series should cure you. It's just too cruel to make us wait so long for the start. It figures that those slowpokes out west would hold things up... again.


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