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, June 04, 2006

Edmonton vs. Carolina

Are you Ready? I must admit, I have not seen a lot of the Edmonton Oilers so I had to call a few buddies who were former players to help get everything in perspective for this series. The goaltending seems to be fairly even according to my sources,but for me, the Oilers seem to give up a lot of shots. We will have to wait and see if those shots are coming from the outside or if they are quality scoring chances. If there the latter, the Canes will be in good shape. The defense is again pretty even, with perhaps a slight edge going to the Oilers because of Chris Pronger. Ironic that he was once a part of the Hurricane franchise when it was in Hartford and is now probably the biggest obstacle standing between them and the Cup. Up front I think the Canes have an edge. They have a lot more depth and experience, and this is where I think the Canes need to be better than the Oilers if they want to win. A couple of suprising comments I heard from friends were that the Oilers will be the quickest team the Canes have faced so far in the playoffs and that the Oilers are an extremely physical team. Here is a little point of interest for you. Every team who has had an extended break between series, has lost the next series in 5 games or less( ie. Colorado against Anaheim, Anaheim against Edmonton, and New Jersey against Carolina). Edmonton has had 9 days since their last series. The other thing to look for in this series will be, once again, the special teams. Carolina comes into the finals with the #1 power play in the playoffs, and Edmonton comes in with the #1 penalty killing unit. It's to easy to say who ever wins the special teams battle will win the series, but I do beleive it will play a big part in who ultimately wins the Cup. The last series was great, but with the stakes a lot higher and the prize a lot closer, this series looks to be even better. You've had your rest, now it's time to get back at it!!!

16 Comments:

  • At 6/05/2006 7:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I read your postings a couple times Mr Francis because you have consistently delivered pearls of insight. Many power play goals finish in the net because of the passes before the shot is taken. Passes which are too quick and accurate to detect the first time. Only after reviewing the tape can one fully appreciate the play that set up the goal. You were a master of these passes as well as the finishes, and I am impressed that you have chosen to use this blog to pass along your perspective of the playoffs as you see them. As a hockey fan who loves the game you mastered, I want to thank you for all that you have given us.
    I saw pieces of games the Oilers played to make it to Raleigh. It seemed like they used their physical play effectively and were able to dilute the strengths that their opponents brought to the ice. This can only work if they maintain an effective PK to neutralize the increased risk of a man advantage for the opponent. I will not be surprised if they choose to see how effective this will be against the Hurricanes tonight. As many have pointed out, without any competition between these two teams this year, the game tonight could be full of surprises. I think it is safe to say The Hurricanes, and The Hurricane fans are ready!
    GO CANES!
    Sammy Markov 55

     
  • At 6/05/2006 8:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thanks again, Ron, for helping us with the game analysis. You're such an asset to our community and I am thrilled you've stuck around. I look forward to seeing and hearing more from you in the next weeks as well as in the years to come.

    I got squeezed out of this round due to budgetary considerations so you guys who go to the game tonight and Wednesday, please make some extra noise for me! Rock the RBC and help inspire our Canes on to convincing victories.

    Gosh, I'd love to see Edmonton have to pull their goalie tonight in the closing minute. Make it so!!

     
  • At 6/05/2006 9:06 AM, Blogger Chris Rivers said…

    Hm... it seems to me that throughout the playoffs I've watched the Oilers consistently let their goalie face as much vulcanized rubber as he can handle, however it's the fact that most of the shots are perimeter that leads me to believe he's doing well. On the other side, goalie roulette with Ward and Gerber can only keep firing aces for so long. Ergo, barring injury, I think the Oil are tops in the twine.

    For me the real edge to the Oilers goes to Mike Peca. He's gritty and bitter. Should match up nicely against Rod Brind'amour.

    Loved you when you were a Leaf, Mr. Francis. Keep on bloggin'.

    Rivers

     
  • At 6/05/2006 10:30 AM, Blogger DavesWINGS said…

    Wont be easy....

    I have been watching a lot of late night hockey this post-season with Edmonton and Anaheim being in the playoffs late rounds. Edmonton should not be taken lightly. Chris Pronger is a missle from the point and key players like Fernando Pisani, Ryan Smith and Michael Peca can make this a very tough series for Carolina. I still feel that the acquisition of Cory Stillman and late pick ups of Veterans Doug Weight and Mark Recchi will be a big key in the Carolina locker room. Coach Lavs has done an incredible job with this team as I expected 2 years ago when they picked him up. In the end Rollie the Goalie will find more rubber behind him than in the 3 previous series and the Canes will lift the Cup for all the Caniacs..WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Being a Wings fan, I have to respect the Oilers run...but it will end right here in Raleigh. Only wish it could have been the same as in 2002. That's why they play the games. GO CANES!!!!!!

     
  • At 6/05/2006 10:39 AM, Anonymous janet rudderham said…

    How's she goin',eh ? The wait for opening face-off is sooo long ! Every hockey analyst from St John's to Vancouver has put in his/her 2 cents worth (and sometimes it ain't worth that much )It really is a whole new experience -I remember reading that Stevie Y ,on the #1 team ,believed there wasn't a whole lot of difference in the calibre of play between the Oilers and the Wings -and that was before the opening round even started ! But that was the Wings series . Ancient history !The Canes came so close in '02 -they can probably feed off that ! Cam Ward (I just love him !) has something to prove ,going back home ,-let his cool head prevail .I love all the little side stories that are going to add to the flavor of this series! Good luck tonight ,Canes -and Caniacs -raise the roof !!! Wish I could be there ! Til tomorrow -the Cdn.con.
    Yeah, Ron ,I'm ready !!

     
  • At 6/05/2006 11:02 AM, Blogger Stormbringer said…

    I know a lot of people are not going to like the following comparison, but here it goes: It's rather eerie how this season's Canes are like the Red Wings of 2002 AND the Oilers are like the Canes of the said year, right down to the heavily defensive style of play they prefer. That said, the Canes better not be like this season's Wings and underestimate the Oil. As I have said elsewhere AND probably have said here before, this year's playoffs have proven that seed numbers mean diddly-squat. Just because Edmonton is a "lowly" #8 seed certainly AND obviously does not mean they are "lowly".

    Tonight's game will be incredibly interesting...especially given how this will be the two teams' absolute first meeting of the entire season. It will most definitely be good watchin'...LET'S GO CANES!!

     
  • At 6/05/2006 11:05 AM, Blogger brindyfan said…

    I can hardly wait for tonight! I am so excited to see the series begin and end with a cup placed in RALEIGH! Go Canes!! Uhh and I get to see Brindamour and my favorite Coach (no I am talking about Jeff Daniels) tonight too! What a great night! :-)

     
  • At 6/05/2006 11:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    RON, You are the man!!! Go Canes!!!

     
  • At 6/05/2006 11:14 AM, Anonymous apex fan said…

    Couldn't wait to get your assessment on this one, Ron. I started watching Edmonton early in the playoffs, against Detroit, because I was hopeful that they would pull the upset. Roloson was unbelievable in that series, and it was a pleasure to watch them take out the Red Wings.

    Having seen San Jose quite a few times during the regular season, I really thought they'd beat Edmonton and come out of the West. However, the Oilers demonstrated that they were the quicker and better-conditioned team. They just wore out San Jose and beat them up. Roloson was still very hot during that series as well.

    The Anaheim series was pretty much over before it started, as the Ducks just couldn't shake off the rust against a hot team. I kept thinking during that series that Edmonton would not be able to trap the Canes the way they were the Ducks because the Canes have too many fast-skating lines. Also, the Ducks seemed to figure out toward the end of the series that the best way to get to Roloson was to throw a lot of snow at him and keep guys in his face. He didn't seem to handle that as well as other goalies do.

    Edmonton has been playing a very physical game. I wonder if they will come out tonight and try to turn this series into a bit of a brawl. Hopefully the referees will make the interference calls and give the Canes some penalty plays if Edmonton starts the headhunting.

    And hopefully this will be yet another series where the Canes turn the opposing goaling into a unhappy camper! Go Canes, all the way now!!!

     
  • At 6/05/2006 12:37 PM, Blogger Penguin1961 said…

    Hey Ron,

    Great comments about the series, and I agree, Chris Pronger will be one of the bigger challenges for the Canes. But I think, as you do, the experience up front will set the Canes up for success. I did get to see Edmonton's last series, and noticed Roloson can be rattled, something the Carolina forwards have to take advantage of. As for the Oilers, the Canes really have to key on Horcoff. I think he is ready to burst out, even more so than he has, and give the "D" some headaches. That's about all, execept I want to say thanks Ron for all the years of great play you gave us, especially to me for your exceptional play in Pittsburgh, giving them two cups(yes, I'm a Pens fan as well). I look forward to reading more of your comments as the Canes roll to the Cup!

     
  • At 6/05/2006 1:04 PM, Blogger HurricanesAngel said…

    I feel like a kid on Christmas morning waiting for the Stanley Cup finals to begin. I know in my heart it's going to be a hard fought battle but the Hurricanes shall prevail. Forget about March Madness... Carolina Hurricanes Rule!

     
  • At 6/05/2006 2:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ron, Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for the Canes and hockey! My stepson and I were lucky enough to shake your hand after your interview last Thursday, before we all shook the foundation of the RBC Center! Here's hoping that luck continues tonight. Then again, hard work makes good luck, so the boys should be just fine tonight!

    NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP! - Winston Churchill

    Let's Go Canes! - Me

     
  • At 6/05/2006 3:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ron,

    First of all, thanks for all the great hockey you gave us over the years.

    As a Red Wings fan, I also have noticed a similarity to this years Cane's & the Wings of 2002. However, the one thing that really stands out is how fast the Cane's are. The quickness, skill and hunger of this current Cane's team is going to give a big surprise to the Oilers (who should not be underestimated).

    I also hope that with your eyes, and pull .. that Roloson & the Oilers won't be given any more freebies in the way of goalie interference (I don't think I've ever seen so many one-sided interference calls). Here's hoping that the the ref's are not biased in any way in these SCF's, and that the Cane's are able to hoist the cup.

    I think Cory Stillman may be the greatest addition to the Canes in this run.

    Go Canes (Wings fan who lives in Florida).

     
  • At 6/06/2006 11:09 AM, Blogger Laura said…

    I know everyone says the 'Canes didn't have their legs in the first (and most of the second) periods, but it looked to me like they simply didn't know how the read the Oilers. I know they've watched hours of tapes, but I think we will see a more composed, prepared 'Canes team on Wednesday. It's one thing to watch guys play other teams, but it's another to face them on the ice. However, now that Roloson's gone, the Oilers will have to step up the "D" and I think that means a much more physical game.

    No matter how much it helps the 'Canes, I hate to see Roloson go out this way. Do you think they'll bring Whitney's Dad in goal? Not possible, but would be a great thing to see.

    Mr. Francis, you are my favorite Hurricane. Thanks so much for all you've done to bring hockey to Raleigh. I have been wearing my #10 shirt to the games. You are missed.

     
  • At 6/19/2006 4:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "men like to fight,they always have and they always will. men like to fight,and if they don't they're not real men. if you don't like to fight, i don't want you around. that's all and good luck" general george patton

     
  • At 6/20/2006 12:28 AM, Blogger DebFoulkes said…

    In early May 1973 my husband remembers when Howdy Baldwin challenged the Montreal Canadiens to a match...right after we won the Avco Trophy...9-6 over the Jets...tonight was a miracle and long over due...we still bleed green and now red...Dino, Ronnie, and Wes... and we remember Chaisson (wish his girls could see the win)...and thank you all for being stand up guys...we have now validated the franchise....and know that our young talent will carry us to more exciting wins in
    the future...

     

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