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.

Monday, June 12, 2006

One More!

Well as I start to write this blog, the 2nd period has just ended with the Canes up 2-1 and in a real good position to take a 3-1 lead in the series. Tonights game is a lot different for the Canes compared to Game 3. In this game the Canes are skating much better than they did in the last game and have had numerous good scoring chances to take a big lead. They have been nothing short of outstanding on the PK and once again did an excellent job of killing a 5 on 3. Their PP has done a great job of moving the puck and creating good scoring chances. The PP goal immediately after Edmonton had scored was a huge turning point in the game. We talked before about the PP needing to score at important parts of the game and Stillman's goal could not have come at a more important time. The 3rd period is about to start so I'll be back to recap the outcome in a bit, but I must say I have a real good feeling about this one.
Defense! Defense! Defense! Much has been made of the Canes offense and for good reason, but the 3rd period was another great example of why defense wins championships. The Canes turned in a perfect 3rd period with the lead and honestly, I never felt the were in any trouble of losing their lead. Now the tough part. They say the 4th win is always the hardest. The Canes get to come home to Raleigh and their fans with what every hockey player dreams of from the time they are little boys, a chance to win the Stanley Cup. I have to believe that the RBC will be louder than it ever has been before. Everything you work for as a player all year long is now just 1 win away. Once again, I am getting that good feeling.

45 Comments:

  • At 6/12/2006 11:21 PM, Blogger Chris said…

    The Cup is going to be in the house on Wednesday! I can't wait. Go Canes!

     
  • At 6/12/2006 11:28 PM, Anonymous dan said…

    Tonight didn't start out the best with the large amount of penalties being (correctly) called against us, but during the first intermission someone must've spoken up in the locker room because it got really tight after that.

    Tonight I got the feeling that both teams were at their peak. Edmonton was inflicting pain, Carolina was skating away from it, and honestly the game could've gone either way. This one was decided by the goalies, and Cam once again proved his worth to the team. Game 5 should prove to be hugely entertaining- I've already set my VCR to record it! ;)

     
  • At 6/12/2006 11:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I can not agree with you more! One more game is all we need, and Wednesday night's game is going to be the loudest game the RBC has ever heard! What a game tonight, it left me jumping up and down throughout my house and more than likely waking up my neighbors..LOL

    ONE MORE GAME!!

     
  • At 6/12/2006 11:30 PM, Anonymous janet rudderham said…

    You and me ,both ,my good man ! Wow,what a game ! I really didn't want to have the series tied up at 2 apiece ! Nice for Cam's family to see him win ! And the blocks -at one point the ice looked more like a bowling alley after a strike ! I would give my eye teeth to be in Raleigh in 2 days !But ,alas ,eye teeth aren't going for much these days -so ,Ron,your "Canadian friend" will ask that you enjoy this next game enough for both of us ! And when the Cup is ours -tilt your head north-east and you might just hear a faint -'way to go,eh,guys !!' Talk to y'all then !! the Can. con.Good night ,all !

     
  • At 6/12/2006 11:40 PM, Blogger girljackets said…

    The Cane did play better in this game then they did it game 3. I do agree with you Ron. Go Canes

     
  • At 6/12/2006 11:45 PM, Anonymous Tami said…

    Thanks for your comments Mr. Francis, as usual they are right on target. As someone who watched the Whalers when I was growing up in CT, I am very excited to see the Canes doing so well and I have enjoyed the 3 games in Raleigh I have seen this year; I'm hoping that the Cup comes to Raleigh after the game on Wed or if not on Wed, do you think they could wait till game 7 - I have tickets for that one. :)

     
  • At 6/12/2006 11:48 PM, Anonymous todd said…

    Outstanding performance; the Canes took the Oil's best shot in the 1st period and brought the offensive pressure in the 2nd...while simultaneously matching the physical play of the guys in blue. And as for the 3rd period, what a thing of beauty...there was never even a real threat on net. The defenseman get a heck of a lot of credit tonight for a job well done!!

    Capt. Rod and the Red Storm are coming back to take the Cup on Wednesday. LETS GO CANES!!

     
  • At 6/12/2006 11:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    We definitely need to show the Oilers fans and the entire world how loud Caniacs can get on Wednesday at the RBC Center! Another great effort by Roddy and the boys on the PK tonight. Let's go Canes and bring home the Cup in Game 5!

     
  • At 6/12/2006 11:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The Canes have to be more disciplined, as they were later in game four's win. Edmonton's power play has been pathetic, and the Oilers don't deserve to hoist Lord Stanley this year. I continue to be impressed by Rod Brind'amor...his play has been nothing short of inspirational. Add the youthful exuberance of Eric Staal, the superb goaltending of Cam Ward, and the rest of the guys, and there is no doubt Wednesday the Canes will skate with the Cup after a 3-1 win!

     
  • At 6/13/2006 12:06 AM, Blogger canesguy said…

    Throughout the 3rd period, as the time ticked down (oh it goes so slowly when you want it to go quickly), I was on my couch more quiet than I usually am in such situations. I moaned, I groaned, I bit my hand (almost drew blood one time) but kept most of the agony bottled up. But when the final horn sounded my scream of joy was so loud it may have been heard in Edmonton.
    The boys did skate well tonight, did what we had to do and Cam and the defense were absolutely fabulous. We did what the Red Wings could not do at Rexall Place - we defended a one goal lead successfully and didn't even allow the Oilers any shots on goal near the end. A tremendous accomplishment.
    After Game 2 the question was raised as to whether a Canes final victory would lose some of its meaning with Roloson out of goal. (It wouldn't have lost any meaning for me!) The question has been totally knocked aside now thanks to Markkanen's sterling play in Games 3 & 4. He is an excellent goalie - fortunately for us Cam Ward is better. I can't wait to greet our heroes at the airport tomorrow afternoon. Canes in 5! GO CANES!

     
  • At 6/13/2006 12:21 AM, Blogger dave's wings said…

    Goal Achieved...As I said...one out of two. Not necessarily the most conventional but one out of 2. They stayed on task tonight, taking all the hits, lost the face off battle and win a 2-1 battle. Edmonton now must pull out all the stops in 3 straight. Only happened once in NHL history in Cup Finals (42 Wings). What more can you say about Stillman and Cam Ward. Stillman was the best acquisition this year and profits though the playoffs and Cam Ward should be the Conn Smythe winner (no offense Brindy Fans). This youngster has not blinked and when he has had pressure he has shown his cool. Hats off to Lavs for shaking up the lines a bit tonight and BRING IT ON HOME. If my Wings can't be there, I've rooted for the Canes any game I've been at and any game I see on TV. Would be worth the $350 to be in the building but I'd be flirting with divorce so I'll watch amongst friends at a local establishment I'm sure. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! GO CANES!!!! GAME 5. P.S Not even The Messiah (Messier) can help the Edmonton power play to date.

     
  • At 6/13/2006 1:33 AM, Blogger Stormbringer said…

    Ron Francis said:

    Once again, I am getting that good feeling.

    Thee and me, Mr. Francis, thee and me... :D

    There's only one thing that can be said in addition to everything else you put so beautifully: Cam Ward not getting the Conn Smythe will be an absolute crime if it happens.

    Ok, maybe that's a little extreme...I suppose a better way of putting it would be that if I had my druthers, ALL of the Canes would get the Conn Smythe. But unfortunately, it just doesn't work that way, dagummit.

    So, even though I will definitely love seeing the other projected Cane MVPs, Brindy or Staal, possibly get the Conn Smythe...I *really* feel like Wardo deserves it the most. Especially considering how when he came in during the Montreal series, his presence started making the Canes play like the team everyone knew they were/are. Not to mention how other than maybe one or two games, Cam has not really had a bad game throughout these playoffs. He's practically been a beast in the crease...and in quite a few instances, like Game Four of this series, thanks to a little help from his defense. :) Again, I wish the Conn Smythe could be awarded to more than one player...

    One. More. Game. I just can't stop saying that...and that's going to be a haaaaard habit to break until at least Wednesday night. :D

     
  • At 6/13/2006 7:03 AM, Blogger HurricanesAngel said…

    Great Game by all the Canes! So happy to see Staahl have a great game. Even though he didn't score, he was pivotal in the win last night. Cam was AMAZING as always. Can't wait for the game on Wednesday night! GO CANES!

     
  • At 6/13/2006 7:21 AM, Blogger Bobbert said…

    Wow! If there is any game that should make you appreciate Aaron Ward and the rest of the Canes defense, this is the one. The third period should be used as teaching material in Defender School! Congratulations to the Canes on another wonderful win. Let's finish it up on Wednesday! GO CANES!

     
  • At 6/13/2006 7:24 AM, Blogger nchurricane1 said…

    The PK was unbelievable. You almost wanted an Oilers PP once the Canes went ahead as you knew it would be at least two minutes when Edmonton couldn't score. Defense last night was just awesome.
    Staal looked more confident again last night and I just have this feeling we are going to see him back in full stride on Wednesday!! I would love to see both him and Ron score goals.

    What a great day for the Raleigh area is coming up!!! GO CANES

     
  • At 6/13/2006 8:12 AM, Blogger rmmeli said…

    A great performance. The Conn Smythe trophy should go collectively to the defensemen who did just about anything that was needed to keep the Canes in front. I like MacTavish - his use of the English language at times during the press conference had my son and I laughing. He was obviously upset at the loss but he kept his cool as best he could unlike a certain Mr Ruff.
    Was I the only one who saw Mike Commodore walk past in th ebackground naked from the showers when News 14 Carolina were interviewing Ray Whitney and his Dad?

     
  • At 6/13/2006 8:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I also grew up watching the Whalers in Hartford. Seeing the hunt for the Stanley Cup this year, makes my heart sing. While I don't want to jinx it, this just might be the year.

     
  • At 6/13/2006 8:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Woooo!

    Hats of to Peter Laviolette who continues to move players around to find the winning touch!

    To me, that's what has made the Canes great this year: the total interchangeability of the players. With the exception of Brind'Amour and Williams, who are almost always together, we've seen a wide variety of line combinations. Everyone plays well with everyone. This has made the Canes a MACHINE!

    Looking forward to Wed. night . . . GO CANES!!!

     
  • At 6/13/2006 8:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Saturday night the canes looked slow on the ice. Tonight both teams were equal playing smash mouth hockey.
    I think when all parts are equal as last night the canes are a little bit better team.
    I salute the fans of Edmonton. The singer just letting the fans do the Athem was outstanding. We think we are a great country but we don't appreciate what we have.
    CANES BRING HOME THE CUP WEDNESDAY

     
  • At 6/13/2006 9:08 AM, Anonymous PantherandCaniac said…

    Hope to see you all tailgating at the game Wednesday, even if we can't go inside! Go Canes-Redneck Hockey in da house!!!


    1more

     
  • At 6/13/2006 9:30 AM, Blogger linda schlachter said…

    HEY RONNIE, I THOUGHT THE CANES DID AN EXCELLENT JOB TONIGHT. ONCE AGAIN CAM DID AN AWESOME JOB ON NET,STOPPING EVERYTHING HE COULD. THEN WHAT CAN I SAY ABOUT COREY AND STAAL AND RECCHI. THEY WERE AWESOME. I'M SO GLAD TO SEE THE GUYS COMING HOME, AND HOISTING THE STANLEY CUP. I BELIEVE IT IS THEIR CUP, BUT THEY MUST PLAY AS GOOD OR BETTER IF POSSIBLE THAN THEY DID LAST NIGHT. I SAT ON THE EDGE OF MY SEAT AND AT TIMES HELD MY BREATHE TIL THE END OF THE THIRD PERIOD. IT WAS A GREAT GAME GUYS. THANKS RONNIE FOR YOUR INSIGHT AND I TOO HAVE A GOOD FEELING ABOUT THIS GAME AT HOME. THE FANS WILL BE ROCKING THE RBC CENTER!! GO CANES!! WE BELIEVE!!!

     
  • At 6/13/2006 9:39 AM, Blogger brindyfan said…

    Hey Ron!! You are a very giving man and you love making people smile! Wanna give me a few tickets to tomorrow's night game??? I am sure I would smile!! LOL Ok, just a little tuesday morning humor I guess... GO CANES!!!!

     
  • At 6/13/2006 9:44 AM, Anonymous BlackOrchid said…

    I have been a Rod Brind'Amour fan since he first came to Philly - totally devoted - but I really think Cam Ward should get the Smythe (regardless of series outcome, just so I'm not jinxing anything!!!!).

    (I can't believe I'm posting on Ron Francis' blog! Wow, gosh!)

     
  • At 6/13/2006 9:46 AM, Blogger That Conservative Girl at UNC said…

    I still think that Smyth's goal in Game 3 was garbage, but I'm SO glad to see my Hurricanes pull out a BEAUTIFUL win in Game 4! ONE MORE GAME!

     
  • At 6/13/2006 9:58 AM, Anonymous hockeybanker said…

    I can not believe I am lucky enough to get to witness these Hurricanes playing hockey! You got to love a team that has, from what I see, a 3 tie between Ward, Brindy and Stillman(and if Staal keeps producing like he did last night) a 4 way tie for the Conn Smythe Trophy. Ron if you read this, I would love your insight on who you feel will win the award after we win the Cup here on Wednesday.

    GO CANES!!

     
  • At 6/13/2006 10:22 AM, Blogger HurricanesAngel said…

    Cam Ward is my favorite Canes player and everyone is always talking about how outstanding of a job he has done for the team but please let's not forget Martin Gerber who was very instrumental the whole season in front of the net helping to get the Canes to the playoffs. I know it's hard to point out every player on the team but at least the defense men get the opportunity to play every night and that's not always the case for the goalies. I can't say enough about every SINGLE player on the Canes team! They are ALL AWESOME to me. Go Canes! Bring it home Wednesday night!

     
  • At 6/13/2006 11:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    No rmmeli, you were not the only one that saw the nakedness! Although it wasn't just Commodore, it was most of them in the showers!!!! I couldn't believe the cameras were shooting into the showers. It was a dream come true. Now if I can just win the lottery playing my favorite Canes number, life will be complete. :)

    GO CANES!!!!! I'll be there to cheer you on for game 5 but I am definite that I won't get to see as much of you as I did on News 14.

     
  • At 6/13/2006 11:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank you Eric and Mark.
    Now we need to win game 5 with one hand tied behind our back since #19 ref will be on the ice.

     
  • At 6/13/2006 11:23 AM, Blogger SFC Ken said…

    Does anyone have any fingernails left after last nights game? The last perios was a killer for me.

    Mr. Francis can you explain what going through the teams minds now? Especially Rod and Glen, being only one win away from the cup. Do you even let your mind think about it? How do you not dwell on it?

    Well friends, this will be my last entry for a few days. Tomorrow morning I head back to my unit. I'll have no idea how the Canes did until late Thursday or early Friday. I'm so happy that the 3 games I go to go to while I was home (game 7 of the Sabres series and the 1st 2 with the oilers).

    I know the RBC Center will be rocking Wednesday and will be even louder if the Caneswin the cup.

    Mr. Francis, thanks for blogging with us. I'll see you all next season.

     
  • At 6/13/2006 12:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Mr. Francis:

    I couldn't agree more with you. As a Red Wing fan (Florida), (and as I've said before) this Canes team reminds me a lot of the 2002 Red Wings. I say that particularly from a defensive standpoint, and goaltending standpoint.

    I only have to say one name: Cory Stillman. I said earlier in a post that I felt that he would play a key part. That pp goal to tie the game, and then with some of his heads up plays (from handing the stick to the defensemen, to some of his key passing setups). I don't understand how the Lightning let him go ...

    I've been telling everyone here that I thought Carolina would take this series in 5 games... and now coming back to Carolina .. looks like they have that chance to wrap it up.

    Big defense in the 3rd period last night - great display of how to hold onto a 1 goal lead. I'm so impressed by Cam Ward. For a 22 year old, rookie goalie .. that guy has nerves of steel!

    As a sidenote. I saw Carolina earlier in the season (in Tampa), and was really impressed then with how fast they were (even though that night they lost). With them coming home for #5 .. I see no reason why there will be a #6 game in this series.

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us hockey fans on this blog ...

    Go Canes

     
  • At 6/13/2006 12:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    As a native Albertan and long-time Oiler fan, it has been great to see 2 former World Hockey Association (WHA) teams from so-called "small markets" battling it out in the Stanley Cup finals! Hockey is not about having one large "market" playing another to boost television ratings. It is about having the 2 best teams come together after surviving one of the most gruelling playoff formats in all of professional sports! As for the Hurricanes, they play a very "honest" hardworking, exciting style of hockey ... similar in many ways to the Oilers. The quality of their "team defence" (Cam Ward, an underrated defensive corps and enthusiastically backchecking forwards) has been a surprise to many Canadian fans. So too their penalty killing has been superb. The Oilers do not have a bad powerplay ... their powerplay was 21% against Detroit! The aggressive style of the Hurricanes rushing Edmonton's point men on every occasion has completely shut down the Oilers' powerplay. Finally, Carolina fans have been very polite and gracious all through the series ... the sportsmanship exhibited by your concern for Dwayne Roloson's injuy was a highlight for many of us. I trust that Carolina fans also appreciate Alberta's goodwill, as seen by the heartfelt singing of the Star Spangled Banner by Edmonton fans prior to games 3 and 4. Political bickerings aside, the "average Canadian" very much appreciates our American friends and neighbours. Hockey is next to a religion in northern Canada ... (everyone grows up skating and playing hockey) but if the Oilers are unable to win the Cup this year, many of us are glad it is a team with the class of the Hurricanes and their fans!

     
  • At 6/13/2006 1:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'd just like to show some reciprocal appreciation for Edmonton's fans - what a nice change after dealing with those from Buffalo!

    I was glad to see all us Canes fans show proper respect for Oh Canada in Games 1 and 2, and trust that we will again for Game 5!

     
  • At 6/13/2006 1:20 PM, Anonymous hockeybanker said…

    To our friend from Alberta. We thank you and your fans too. We have had to put up with some horrible fans from other teams such as Buffalo and others. I would like to add it has been an honor to play such a historically fine hockey team like Edmonton. I knew your players had class when at the end of the skate around before game 1 I believe it was either Pronger or Smyth who picked up some pucks from their net and skated them over to one of the holes in the glass and handed them out to some of the kids sitting next to the ice wearing canes sweaters. A pure sign of class in my eyes. Thanks for a great Finals.

     
  • At 6/13/2006 2:14 PM, Blogger Mike said…

    It was great to see you at the RBC Center last night Ron..you got us that were there all fired up for the game! I'm excited for Game 5 and the possibility of seeing the Canes finally win the Cup...all they need to do is what they've been doing all series long, play smart hockey, never give up and "Do Whatever It Takes" which incidentally is something they are doing very well every game they play! One thing that I would love to see on the ice is missing from the team though....the guy who wore #10.

     
  • At 6/13/2006 2:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Let's Git-er done in 5 because I don't know how much more of Pierre McGwire (NBC's behind the glass man) that I will be able to stomach.

    Go Canes..........

     
  • At 6/13/2006 3:54 PM, Blogger 26rocks said…

    Actually, I think all the Canadian fans that came through Raleigh in '02 and '06 are great. The best were the Maple Leaf fans in the Sunday OT game in '02. 4000 drove down to go to the game and another 2000 didn't get tickets but were in the parking lot.

    It was a beautiful late spring day in Raleigh and everyone was in a party mood around the RBC center. What a great show of support, and what a great group of folks.

    But I digress. I hope we do it Wed. I would hate to have it happen in Edmonton.

     
  • At 6/13/2006 6:53 PM, Blogger Mikeyusmc said…

    OK, now the important part is winning Wednesday and having the victory party on Friday when I am off of work. That is going to be so amazing to see the guys with the cup and all the Caniacs (me included) there to celebrate and show our deep appreciation. As you can see I have no doubt of the outcome, just hope the scheduling works out right. What a great game last night. I am sure tomorrow's will be just as exciting. This has definitely been a season to remember. From being picked preseason to finish at the bottom to climbing to the peak. I am in awe of this team for thier skill and mostly chartacter. A plea to Mr. Rutherford to keep as many of these guys as humanly possible as well as Coach Laviolette. Thanks and see you all at the party. I will be the one in the Cole jersey.... LOL

     
  • At 6/13/2006 10:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank God! Can the Canes please win game 5 tomorrow and end this already?!
    Somebody (OLN, NBC, ESPN) please give the Hurricanes a glimpse of credit so we can move on to next season!
    It doesn't matter anymore how or why Carolina got here. They're about to give their captain his day after all these years not having his name on the cup. We feel for you after all of the publicity and consistent questioning.
    It's old, worn out news about who the Canes beat, who lucked out, who lost their MVP, and who's fan base is louder.
    The larger markets aren't supposed to win it every year according to recent media exchanges. This is why the NHL expanded, changed the rules, and added salary caps.
    As a hockey fan, this has been the most drama-based, dragged out (through the media), quest for the cup I've ever witnessed.
    Hand over Lord Stanley's cup to Carolina, celebrate, and let's toast to next season!
    P.S. Redneck Hockey is kinda embarrasing for a market trying to better it's image in the National hockey league. Please be considerate as we go on to represent Lord Stanley's tradition.

     
  • At 6/13/2006 10:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    wow.

    Thanks to our Canadien friends.

    There are no politics in hockey.

    And, just so you know, at least the 18,000+ at the rink - know this game and some/most of us grew up watching and playing this absolutely wonderful game.

    We kinda like the 'RedNeck' Hockey title - but most are transplants.

    IF - IF we do win this, you will hear the folks 'round here express their appreiciation for the game and for the great fans ya'll have attending the games here.

    oh yeah - thanks for this game!

    Go Canes!!!!!!

     
  • At 6/14/2006 9:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow, tonight is the night! How wonderful for the Raleigh area and for the Carolinas. This is truly historic, y'all! First opportunity to win a professional sports trophy here in the Carolinas.

    With the remnants of a tropical storm hanging around, the tail gating will suffer, but the weather is indicitive of the storm that will occur in RBC as our Hurricanes fly all over the Oilers. LET'S GO CANES!!!!! May the force be with us.

     
  • At 6/14/2006 1:33 PM, Blogger canesguy said…

    Is everybody else as nervous as I am? I'm a wreck. And this is Game 5! I want the boys to win tonight for every possible reason, not the least of which I'm not sure I could stand the strain of going back to Oilertown for Game 6. And the thought of it going to Game 7 with the chance of everything coming down to one unlucky bounce - no, no no, NO!
    Canes in 5! GO CANES!

     
  • At 6/14/2006 2:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    How ironic it is that the Carolina HURRICANES win the Stanley cup with the leftover of Hurricane Alberto in town

     
  • At 6/14/2006 2:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Roddy, I hope you see this before game 5. If the 'Canes want the roof to explode tell Pete to allow Eric Cole to skate the Pre-Game. With Eric just being on the ice for pre-game will get the RBC Rocking like never before. He doesn't have to play or sit on the bench he just needs to show the fans he is out their with his teammates.

    Go 'Canes

     
  • At 6/14/2006 5:50 PM, Blogger dave's wings said…

    THe last post is exactly right. Suit him up!!!!!
    WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    GO CANES!!!!!!!!!!!

     
  • At 6/15/2006 12:08 AM, Blogger HOOSIER FROM NC said…

    I think the 'Canes will go the same way as the Detroit Pistons.......planning the party before the victory!

     

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