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, May 19, 2006

ROUND 3-Buffalo

Alright, almost time to get back to work! When these 2 teams look in the mirror they must see each other. Both teams have rookie goaltenders in net and a very capable backup ready to go in if needed. They both have unheralded defences that are vastly under rated, and a group of forwards that are both very talented and very deep. The Canes and Sabres both could be considered the poster team for the new NHL. They like to play an up tempo, aggressive, high paced game. If you like offense, you are going to love this series. I don't expect to see any 1-0 games in this round. On special teams, The Canes will need to keep producing on the PP and be mindful of the Sabres PK which has already scored 5 short handed goals. Although it will be hard to duplicate their performance in the NJ series, the special teams are critical to the success or failure this time of year. The Canes are now in the drivers seat in these playoffs( they are the highest seed left), but this will be their toughest test yet. Having said all that, I think the key to this series will be which team plays better defensively. The better you are in your own end the less time you spend there, and the less time you spend in your end the more time you get to spend in your opponents end, thus giving you a better chance to win. Also, there will be goals scored in this series, and how each team deals with that fact will play an important part of who wins this round. You will need to have a very short memory. The speed will cause a lot of mistakes and the team that does a better job of correcting those mistakes, and being able to let go of a mistake made and refocus on the task at hand with unwavering confidence, will be the team that gets to play for the Stanley Cup. The Canes are half way up the mountain, but the climb will be a lot tougher from here on out. If they stick to their game plan and play at the level their capable of they should be fine. Only one thing is for certain in this round, you the fans are going to be treated to some extremely exciting hockey. There will be a lot of momentum swings during these games; there will be an extremely fast pace to all the games; and your emotions will once again tug at your heart. Only this time with the stakes a little higher, the tugs will seem a little harder and the success will seem a little sweeter. ENJOY!!!

18 Comments:

  • At 5/19/2006 9:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ron the writer! You said it all. Nothing to do now but play. Ron, I know you seemed at peace with retirement, but is it at all difficult not to be on the ice right now?

     
  • At 5/19/2006 10:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey Ronnie! Always great to see an update from you and you do it so well :)

    We have a game coming up that has 4 lines on both teams that can do some damage. We are going to see some hockey in this series and everything is put on hold so we can enjoy every bit of it.

    Heard Erik is back on the ice and that is great news! It must be tough for him not being able to participate in this Stanley run however I'm sure he has been an energy boost and inspiration to the team. GO CANES!

     
  • At 5/19/2006 11:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    WooooHoooo! Here we go Caniacs! Thanks once again Captain Ronnie for your expert analysis.

    I know I'm stoked for this round and it seems the City of Raleigh citizens are starting to take notice, even those who had little interest during the regular season. Playoff hockey is certainly contagious. I think the gutsy performances of our team during the first two rounds has earned us new fans; hopefully these new fans will stick around even after we finish out this post season. It is very gratifying to see this sport take root here, isn't it? "one team, one dream."

    Well for now all we can do is hoist our Canes flags and wish our team well as they prepare for tomorrow's game. Good luck to them all, may the force be with us.

     
  • At 5/19/2006 12:08 PM, Anonymous LAK said…

    Thanks Ron! I always enjoy hearing your thoughts on the Canes! This series will surely be our toughest one yet, but we have to keep our eye on the prize. I now they can do it. They have really shown their heart in these play off games. I am hoping that Erik will continue to get stronger and be ready to play next season! We really miss you Erik! LETS GO (ALL THE WAY) CANES!!

     
  • At 5/19/2006 12:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have to admit I am just a little nervous. You may even call it nervous energy. Whew, if we play 59 mins. like we did when we beat the **** out of NJ to clinch the series, we will be fine. GO CANES!

     
  • At 5/19/2006 12:31 PM, Blogger Stormbringer said…

    *pushes through and peers through a potted plant* Yes, the upcoming Canes/Sabres series looks to be veeeeeeeery interesting. I have picked the Canes in both of the playoff pools in which I'm participating, but this is a series I truly feel could go either way. And I totally agree that regardless of the result, this will be some danged exciting hockey...

    I cannot decide which I look forward to more: The high octane offense and skating of the Storms and Swords (hmmmmmm...that sounds like a great name for either a rock group or a role-playing video/computer game :D) being put to the test, or the great young/rookie goaltender battle between Ward and Miller. Because of those factors, among others, this series could wind up being the absolute best of the entire playoffs. Contrary to what the media wants you to think, since there are, *gasp*, no "favorites" left! Again, I'm already loving this series because it is a HUGE raspberry to such comments and thoughts...

    My only concern about the Carolina/Buffalo series? The supposed strong influx of Sabre fans coming to the RBC Center...there are already claims that that will be even larger than the infamous Toronto invasion of 2002. So much for that home ice advantage...BUT, even with all of the Leaf fans AND their flags waving about all over the place at the then Raleigh Entertainment and Sports Arena, as we all (should) know, the Canes *did* prevail anyway.

    Let's go boys...stick it to those Swords.

    And after writing all of that, I wouldn't feel right to skip saying this: Thank you, as always, for your insights Mr. Francis. :)

     
  • At 5/19/2006 12:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Mr. Francis, I sincerely hope your comments are read by as many fans as possible.

    The suppport of the Fans in good times and bad provides the opportunity to amplify a magical experience. As fans we can never fully understand the effort and determination that has been required by our players to make it to this point. To Cheer for your team when they are behind, even if it was because of a mistake is to show them that you believe in them. This team has shown time and time again that they believe in themselves.
    EIGHT WINS!
    You can do it Boys!
    We are with you!

    Sammy Markov 55

     
  • At 5/19/2006 12:50 PM, Anonymous Michelle said…

    Thanks so much for your thoughts Ron! I always look forward to reading your blog.

    I remember Ron the Referee asking me at the Ale House if I was nervous yet before game 3 of round 2. When the game had not even started, I wasn't nervous, not in the least. Please don't have him ask me tomorrow for the game I'm sure my nerves will start when I get there.

    We have a great and oustanding team of guys who are playing great! I'm so waiting for game 1 to start tomorrow! Let the Buffalo fans come down...96 Rock will be taking the Cane-Vic with them up for game 3, so they will see exactly how passionate our fans are!

    So wave those flags and wear those robes, let's show Buffalo we are tough! The only thing left to say, is for Ray Whitney to give us a little wink in his cameos and LETS GO CANES!!!!!

     
  • At 5/19/2006 1:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well said Ronnie! The Canes will definitely have to bring their work effort to the rink every night. There will be no "freebies" from this aggressive Sabres team. It will be very important to play smart and move the puck swiftly and efficiently. The Sabres will feast on turnovers if they are supplied (just ask the Sens) so these MUST be kept to a minimum. Hard work will win this series.

    JE

     
  • At 5/19/2006 1:39 PM, Anonymous Puck Bard said…

    The Yankee Buffalo

    Once they roamed the Prairies, These mighty beasts that stink.
    But now the Buffalo Sabres,
    Will soon become extinct.

    Watch the Hurricanes
    chop-chop-chop,
    And cut them down to size.
    See the Sabres stop-stop-stop,
    Competing for Lord Stanley's prize.

    Saturday will be sweet-sweet-sweet As we tailgate at RBC,
    We'll drink cold beer
    and raw red meat,
    As we cheer the Canes to victory.

    So Buffalo beat Philly,
    A team of walking wounded.
    And the Sens,
    King chokers from the East,
    Since 92' when they were
    re-instituted.

    Real men beat real hockey teams, Not these powder-puff brigades.
    Watch a Hurricane take out NY,
    And cut in two your Buffalo blades.

    Your Sabre rattling can't move
    the South,
    Remember Deliverance and
    Ned Beatty?
    Cause unless I've missed my guess with this,
    I know a Buffalo that's going to squeal like a piggy!

    A Buffalo, A BUFFALO?
    Is worthy of the cup?
    Well there's a gale force
    from below,
    that'll shut you down
    and shut you up.

    And like a fart that comes into this world,
    Born without a sin,
    The "mighty" Buffalo Sabres
    Will break like the wind

     
  • At 5/19/2006 2:01 PM, Anonymous apex fan said…

    The most exciting game I was able to see in person this year was the Buffalo game which was the last game prior to the Olympic Games break.

    The Canes came out on top in a shootout in that game, but it could have gone either way. The pace of the game was unbelievable, just back-and-forth, super-fast the entire game, non-stop. Not only was it the best hockey game I've ever been to, it was one of the best sporting events, period, I've been to.

    Just imagine, this whole series will be like that, probably for 7 games. I'm certainly glad we have home ice advantage. Go Canes!

     
  • At 5/19/2006 2:24 PM, Blogger E said…

    Mr. Francis,

    Thank you, you have a better perspective on hockey than the hosers on the CBC website. We, The 'Canes, are starting to get the respect that we deserve. Don't take Barry Melrose for his every word but, see the light in the fact that he has changed his tune about Carolina. As for those Sabres fans who called there families to come to Raleigh and try to rile our fair city. Bruce Almighty is not going to help you, he is a fictious character. Cam Ward, Rod Brind'mor, Erik Staal, Cory Stillman, Justin Williams, Mark Recchi, Glen Wesley and Doug Weight are real and Miroslav Satan plays for the 'Isles, football season is only 4 months away start packing.

     
  • At 5/19/2006 3:04 PM, Anonymous janet rudderham said…

    If my emotions get tugged any more ,I'm going to be a basket case ! It's been too quiet for too long -just waiting for Edmonton to finish off San Jose ! Let the fun begin !And guess what ? Tail gate parties don't work when you're a thousand odd miles away ,and you're the only car involved !! Just kidding ! Jersey fan doesn't seem too interested (as long as Buffalo beats the Canes -I wonder what that's all about !)
    Good luck from CB !!

     
  • At 5/19/2006 10:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I can't stand the suspence until the series is over.. I'm confident whoever win's the East will take it all.. facts being facts 2 or 4 should take 6 or 8. Lets keep our piggies crossed and hope the cane's pull off a major hurricane win... in 5 or my blood preasure will go thru the roof...
    A HUGE Thank you Ronnie for making Raleigh your home.. we really do appreciate you and your family ..
    North Raleigh Fan...

     
  • At 5/20/2006 9:31 AM, Blogger Rick said…

    Thanks Ron for the perceptive insight! As I was reading your latest blog, I was thinking it would be good reading for the team! I would imagine, though, that you do visit and counsel and certainly encourage the Canes! The ol' Captain is still a force in the minds and hearts of all, especially the current team members! I agree with you, Ron, that Buffalo and Carolina are basically mirror image of each other; hence, I feel it is extremely important that the Canes play physical! I mean come out aggressively physical, putting hard bodies on every hit and finishing every check with force! I think that the Canes physicality can take Buffalo out of their game and indeed give Carolina a must needed edge! I continue to pray God's favor upon our Carolina Hurricanes!

     
  • At 5/20/2006 10:19 AM, Blogger SFC Ken said…

    The game starts in just 4 hours. My wife and Son will be leaving the house with-in the hour to head over to the RBC Center. And me, my stomach's in knots, has been all day, waiting for this game to start.

    Mr. Francis, how do the players NOT get nervous before a game????

    Caniacs back in the states, know that you have 200+ citizen soldiers over here pullin for the Canes as well. My Ron Francis Jersey is hanging up in my room, my miniture Stanley Cup on top of my TV, and surfing the net for any information I can find about this series.

    Those of you going to the game this afternoon, you need to make so much noise that the Sabres will have no clue they have fans in the building.

    LET'S GO CANES!!!!!!!

     
  • At 5/20/2006 10:20 AM, Blogger nchurricane1 said…

    Can't say a whole lot more than what you covered Ron!!!

    HOLD ON EVERYONE!!! HERE WE GO!!!!

     
  • At 5/20/2006 7:39 PM, Anonymous linda schlachter said…

    hey ron, hope you are enjoying retirement. we just came fro the game today and i was just a little disappointed in the second period the canes just didn't seem to play as well as they did in the 1st and 3rd. i think that's when the sabres won the game. we will be going on mon. night and i expect to see an altogether team. i believe the canes can really take it all the way if they stay focused on the brass ring. i sure enjoy your comments and truly miss you as one of the team members. i wish my canes well, and hope they prove to everyone they are winners!!

     

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