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.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Road to Stanley Continues!

I'm not sure why y'all bought seats to the game tonight, after all, nobody sat in them!! What a great game! What a great series! First the Sabres. They had no business playing in a game seven based on the injuries to their team. Yet, not only did they play in it, they led after 40 minutes of it. Truely a gutsy effort! What about the Canes? They too played a great series, and tonight, I thought they played a great game. I must admit I was a little nervous when they had the 1-0 lead in the 2nd period and were doing everything right except score that 2nd goal. The 2 goals scored by the Sabres to take the lead at the end of the period could have rattled the Canes, but instead they came out with a great 3rd period. The tying goal early gave them the extra jump they needed, and when they got the opportunity they were looking for on the PP, they took full advantage of it. Another huge goal by Roddy and this game was over. The Sabres had nothing left at that point. As hard as they played all series, I think they realized when that goal went in that their fate had been sealed. Rarely in sports does a match up live up to all the hype, but this one certainly did. Both teams gave everything they had, both teams never quit, and as a result we were all treated to a fantastic display of hockey. I can also tell you the players appreciated the loudness of the building tonight. That is always a big help in such emotional games. Great job. Now for the really good news. We get a couple days rest before climbing back on that emotional roller coaster ride yet again. The road to Stanley continues!!!


  • At 6/01/2006 11:54 PM, Blogger Chris said…

    What an amazing series. Hats off to the Sabres for playing a great one. Bring on the Oil! Go Canes!

  • At 6/01/2006 11:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    After the game Rod BrindAmour told it like it is, nothing more and nothing less. The players deserve all of the credit, they played the game. The Hurricanes deserve the Glory because they Won, fair and square. Tonight they were supposed to win, the pressure was there at the start of the third Period, and guess what, they did not falter, they did not stumble, they just kept coming, band after band like Hurricanes do. Anyone who has been through one knows what I am talking about.

    I am so proud of this Team.
    I will not forget this night.
    I will never forget this series.
    Sammy Markov 55

  • At 6/02/2006 12:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Whoo Hoo!!!

    Saw a sign at the game tonight that was funny but insightful:

    "Redneck Hockey"

    The Canes may have just entrenched themselves in Raleigh for good with the exciting, come from behind, win tonight!

    -Brad (from Houston, TX)

  • At 6/02/2006 12:11 AM, Blogger Bear said…

    I must admit I was more than a little concerned at the end of the second when the Sabres had the lead. This entire series the second period was key and the team who won the period won the game. Granted the Canes won the period with their play, but the Sabers won the period with their scoring. True to form the Cames had a great third period. Even when they had the lead in the third I was waiting for the Sabers to tie it up. This was not to be, as the couldn't because the Canes kept up the pressure.

    The Canes also played the third very differently than the second(from what I could see). In the second they seemed to be trying for a "perfect" goal. They seemed to pass way to much before taking a shot. In the third, they just kept shooting. That and the already tired defense of the Sabers was all the Canes needed.

    I am so looking forward to the finals, congrats to the Canes on a very hard earned series win.

  • At 6/02/2006 12:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This was truly an awesome game! I loved every minute of it and after the Canes scored the first goal I had no doubts! I knew with the fans being behind them it would definately give them the mojo they needed, and it worked.

    Have no fear, and leave no doubts!!!

    Let's Go Canes, Bring Lord Stanley to our HOUSE!!!!!

    All of the guys put in a good solid effort of play. Congrats to everyone on the team and to us the fans for shutting down the Sabres fans tonight!!

  • At 6/02/2006 12:22 AM, Blogger canesguy said…

    Thank you Canes for fulfilling my prediction that you would make Caniac nation proud and joyous. Like Ron I was very nervous when we could not get that 2nd goal in either the 1st or 2nd period. When the Sabres got 2, boom boom, to go ahead with less than 4 seconds left in the 2nd I truly felt sick to my stomach. But I quickly reminded myself what the Canes have accomplished in the 3rd period all season long and boy did they ever come through tonight. The 3rd was a thing of beauty and a joy forever. How big was Dougie Weight's goal to quickly tie things up and reenergize the crowd which remained at fever pitch for the rest of the game. And then for the Captain to punch in the winning goal - nothing could be more appropriate.
    I do think the fans were particularly outstanding tonight, helped by the fact that happily there seemed to be far fewer Buffalo fans tonight. The Caniacs did a fabulous job of keeping the boys energized throughout the 3rd period.
    Bring on the Oilers. GO CANES!

  • At 6/02/2006 12:26 AM, Blogger linda schlachter said…


  • At 6/02/2006 12:42 AM, Anonymous Todd said…

    It is true that the Sabres were scrappy and fought hard... but it is also a little ridiculous for most of their fans and many sport-wire writers to already be discounting the CANES victory due to the depletion of their defensemen.

    Their chosen defensive style in earlier series (and this one) to pinch hard and block pucks with their the very reason their defensmen were depleted. Choices...consequences...welcome to the real world.

    Jim Rutherford gets credit for building a skilled, deep team here -- with just the right blend of young and veteran talent. The CANES deserve credit for closing this out when the chips were down.

    The Sabres deserve credit for a playing with alot of heart and lasting past game 6.

    Now bring on the Oilers!!

  • At 6/02/2006 1:25 AM, Anonymous K said…

    Ronnie, Your awesome. I grew up in Rochester NY going to all the Amerks games. My mom worked at a bank were they banked in the city and she got free tickets all the time. I remember that team treating me well because they knew my mom. I got hockey sticks,pucks,you name it. Here I am 37 years later cheering on my Canes team. I have been here for 7 years and Love this team. My family is in Brockport NY and my brother went to Buffalo State. I feel bad in a way for them but for us its tremendous. Our team has so much heart. Buffalo played a great series but now its our time to move on and prove who we really are and take the Cup. Kevin Conte

  • At 6/02/2006 1:29 AM, Blogger Stormbringer said…

    (does her best Ben Stein) Wow.

    I am nowhere near Raleigh, and I feel like I have had a bowl of Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs covered in a whole sugar-bowl of sugar AND soaked in Starbucks Doubleshot, with a chaser cocktail consisting of Jolt, Mountain Dew, and Red Bull.

    If I was still living in Raleigh, I highly suspect the servings of all I described would be doubled or even tripled. O_O

    And if that's how I feel, I cannot imagine the adrenaline rush the Canes are feeling...words cannot describe how proud I am for the boys.

    Again, the Sabres deserve some credit's not a bad team who seemingly had the Canes on their toes at the end of the second period. Like you Mr. Francis and quite a few of our Caniac brethren, I couldn't help but feel a wittle worried meself throughout the second intermission. BUT, when Dougie got that goal in the first five minutes of the third, I just had a feeling that everything was going to be a-ok...and just like dancing on the ceiling, oh what a feeling... :D

    Well, time to get me hands on some new threads...the Eastern Conference Champs gear looks rather nifty this year. Though, I just realized that the hats are the exact same design, save the colors, as what the 2005-06 Steelers got to wear at their AFC and Super Bowl champs parties. Oh well...that just makes the hats *that much more* nifty. :D

  • At 6/02/2006 1:45 AM, Blogger iBm said…

    Well I know one thing for sure Ron - we didn't seat in our seats long.... what a great game and like you I was a bit nervous too (not to mention our whole section) when they had 1 point on us. But oddly enough we just knew it was our night - you could just feel it in the air.

    Both teams played hard and the Sabres did a great job including their rooky goal tender. It's a shame their coach doesn't have the same class as his team.

    It was a great game to be a part of and I couldn't be happier for our guys! They are a super group of men who mean a lot to the community. They do wonderful things and they create good karma. "Way to go Canes" - We will be behind you all the way to the road of the Stanley Cup!!!

  • At 6/02/2006 2:17 AM, Blogger girljackets said…

    It was a game. The canes play a great game tonight.

  • At 6/02/2006 2:19 AM, Blogger girljackets said…

    The game was great tonight. The Canes play a great game. I would like to said hats off the the Sabres for playing at great series with the canes

  • At 6/02/2006 6:13 AM, Blogger Mikeyusmc said…

    Wow, what a great game and series. The biggest thing I took from last night's game was what a smart player Rod is. The way he stayed out of the fray in front of the net and pounced as soon as he saw the puck laying there. It was like someone lit a fuse as soon as he saw it there. Let's keep this kind of smart and tough play going for 4 more wins. Go Canes!!!!

  • At 6/02/2006 6:14 AM, Blogger garybdiver said…

    I agree with Ronnie, after the chnaces we had and not scoring with the open nets that was a little scary. But great teams find a way to win and this team has done that all year long. No matter what happens this next series I will always be proud with our guys have done this year. Go CANES!!!!

  • At 6/02/2006 7:15 AM, Anonymous janet rudderham said…

    Yes!! What a game ,series ,the whole shebang ! But you have to salute the Sabres -what an effort with so many set-backs -as disappointed as they must be ,they have to be proud ! But ,enough about them!! Has it ever happened before that 2 teams meet for the Cup who didn't play each other once in the season ? Talk about uncharted waters .
    Well,Jersey fan wasn't rooting for Buffalo -he didn't care as long as the Canes didn't win ! Huh?! And to my great surprise (not really), my main man watched the 2nd & 3rd period ,being pretty good about keeping his comments to a minimum -only laughing occasionally as my foot would shoot out to block a shot -and then having the nerve to say it's only a game !! Imagine !!
    I am so glad the Canes are one of the last 2 standing ! I hope you'll indulge us with a little insight into the match-up facing us. Yes,Ron, you have to put up with us for another 4 games at least ! We've gone from a who cares series in Canada (sorry ,but that's the way of it) to a final against a 'Canadian ' team ! This is going to be fun !
    Ron,if you're coaching 3 teams now ,maybe your load would be lighter if you just coached one team -say an NHL team ! Think about it !! Til later ! The Cdn.Con.

  • At 6/02/2006 7:51 AM, Blogger SFC Ken said…


    What a game to to go to for my 1st game of the season. In 2002 I went to 2 playoff games ( I wasn't a season ticket holder then), a Toronto game that we won, and the 2nd detroit game that we lost. Niether time was the ESA/RBC Center as loud as it was last night.

    Our seats are in section 126, behind the goal where we shoot twice, row K, so we're fairly close to the ice. For the life of me, I don't know how the Sabres 2nd gola got in. It looked as if Cams pads were against the pipes. Then suddenly we see the puck squirt into the net. Like everyone else, I got nervous. Thanks God it didn't last long.

    Dougs goal in the 3rd is another mystery to me. The light didn't go on, the horn kind of stuttered, and on the replays that they showed on the jumbotron, I still didn't see the puck go in. Thank goodness it's no required for me to see it, huh.

    I'll be around to see the 1st two games then I have to head back. I'm hoping I'll get back to my unit in time to see thew Canes lift Lord Stanleys Cup.

    Mr. Francis, thanks again for the blog

  • At 6/02/2006 7:53 AM, Blogger rmmeli said…

    A great game and a truly great series. Both the Canes and the Sabres are excellent hockey clubs. I don't think there was much, if anything to choose between the two teams but it was great to be there and see the Canes come through. Rod Brind'Amour is truly a great player and a leader by example. I think his unwillingness not to give up finally drove the Canes on in the third period. Also I think Doug Weight finally cemented his position in this team. He was more of a leader in this game than in any of the games previous. There were some obnoxious Sabres fans but there were some nice ones - a number of them came up and wished our team the best in the finals.
    It is nice to see the back of Lindy Ruff (good riddance as we Brits would say). Thank goodness we have a much better coach who didn't want to indulge in a moronic battle of words.

  • At 6/02/2006 8:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Holy Moly! The ups, the downs, the Canes being the Canes they've been all season. What a great win.

    Did anyone else see the guy walking around in an Oilers jersey asking, "Who hates Buffalo?!" It was too funny.

    I hope the players get some rest. The fans need rest, too!

    Let's Go Canes -- all the way to the BIG trophy!!!!!

  • At 6/02/2006 8:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    GO Canes!!!

    What an amazing year, and it isn't over yet. The Finals -- with a capital F. Again! (party like it's 2002...)

    If there was ever a reminder of the value of the regular season, last night was it. Playing Game 7 on home ice was worth every hit, every goal, every point they earned in 82 games -- especially the 2 points that we finished ahead of Buffalo.

    We're still healthy, we have two first-class goalies, and we have the momentum. Yes I believe!

    There's no looking back now. Buffalo gave us a dream series, and all hats off to their team (but not so much their fans <g>). But now it's Edmonton we face, and one more roller coaster to ride. And, with a team we haven't played in 3 years the crystal ball gets a little cloudier.

    Finally -- Ronnie, the vision of your OT goal in Game 1 at the Joe is still with me. With all due respect to that magic night, here's hoping that the next two weeks will give us some new memories to treasure.

    -Born in Edmonton, now a Caniac

  • At 6/02/2006 9:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Congratulations to the Hurricanes! I must say the Redneck Hockey sign was kind of embarassing though... However, the players played a great game. Hopefully, Raleigh will be the next Hockeytown! Go Canes!

  • At 6/02/2006 9:48 AM, Blogger judgesmales said…

    Ronald, Gambling is illegal at Bushwood and I never slice but I'm betting on the Canes in the finals. I'm also keeping my Titleist clubs in the garage and I advise you to do the same. I'm also thankful we don't have to listen to Lindsay Rough opening his piehole any longer!

  • At 6/02/2006 9:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Much like current US Foreign Policy, it's now all about the Oil.

    Great series and an incredibly entertaining game last night. I can't wait for Monday!!!

    Justin in Raleigh

  • At 6/02/2006 9:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What a heart-stopping, nerve racking series! Didn't ya just love it!? Ron, not only were the fans at the arena standing, but us folks at home were too! With each season, we grow to love our Canes more and more, they are truly a team to be proud of. I've been with this team since the Whaler days and it means so much to me to be a part of this fan base. GO CANES! WE LUV YA!

  • At 6/02/2006 10:12 AM, Blogger Andy Beal said…

    Not sure if this has been suggested before but, we should fly in Rick Flair for the Stanley Cup home games. Imagine having him there live for the "Wooo, WooWoooo", that would be awesome.

    Let's Go Canes!

  • At 6/02/2006 10:23 AM, Blogger E said…

    Ron, everybody, don't let the disgruntled losers from Buffalo bad mouth us to the Oilers. At least the Oilers are a more respectful fanbase than the Sabres, Losers, Bills, can't win a Superbowl or Stanley Cup bad losers that they will be. i am saying this because I went to the Oilers blogs and that is all you'll see is Sabres fans whining over the fact that thug hockey doesn't work and only leaves your team busted, dusted and rusted. To the Oilers fans, welcome, you'll be better mannered than the wishful thinking and arrogant Ba Bye Buffalo fans.
    Be proud Caniacs, we deserve to be in the Finals more and have fought harder to get there.

  • At 6/02/2006 11:38 AM, Blogger nchurricane1 said…

    A unbelievable least I have the weekend to let my heatbeat get back to normal. While I'm a Canes fan, my hats off to the Sabres for a terrific series of games. We can only hope the Oilers put up the same type of show... with the same outcome of course.

  • At 6/02/2006 3:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The Canes rocked last night and really pulled it off. I'm glad they didn't touch the trophy - b/c the real prize - the Stanley Cup - is the road ahead.

    This team is awesome, but it wouldn't be the excellent one it is today without your leadership in previous years, Mr. Francis!

  • At 6/02/2006 3:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Best game of the series and probably best game of the whole playoffs!!! Glad I was there. I'm predicting a short series with the Oilers and the Canes as Stanley Cup Champions. The Oilers just won't be able to compete with us like the Sabres. LET'S GO CANES!!!

  • At 6/02/2006 3:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well it looks like Stanley won't just be a name for tools or a Carpet Cleaner in the south anymore! Won't it be great if a "small market" "redneck" made a few canucks turn over in their graves?

    GO CANES!!!!

  • At 6/02/2006 5:58 PM, Blogger brindyfan said…

    I am so excited! What a team and what a captain we have now! He sure did have huge steps to follow in but wow is he doing it in a heart felt and classy (and good looking) way! Although NO one can take your place Ron! I could not sleep last night so hopefully tonight I can get some shut eye and get ready for Monday!!! Go Canes!!! You ROCK!

  • At 6/02/2006 7:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Has anyone noticed the irony that yesterday was the beginning of Hurricane Season. I remember a Sabre sign from a prior game suggesting that it wasn't Hurricane season yet. Perhaps prophetic. I am new to watching hockey and am glad to see there is more emphasis on speed, skill and teamwork and less of the storied bully behavior. Go are a credit to our community.

  • At 6/02/2006 7:40 PM, Anonymous Puck Bard said…

    Finally the finals

    Oh Canada, my home and native land
    But now we'll see exactly where I stand.

    Edmonton's looked good, but rather streaky
    with one week's rest those Oiler bones are creaky

    In the Oilers Canada's pitched there last ditch hopes
    To say "we'll win in seven" is a dead man's dope

    The Canes will win, and doubt? I haven't any
    The question is the games, and just how many?

    The Canes in seven? Peca won't last that long
    And Pronger's out of gas, his tank is gone.

    The Canes in six? That's nice but it's been taken
    Old Rollie's legs are shakin' and a quakin'

    The Canes in five? Maybe? but I'll go for more
    And so instead I'll say THE CANES IN FOUR!

  • At 6/02/2006 7:42 PM, Anonymous P Bard said…

    I'd also like to add that Rod laid blame where it was due...

    If Lindy had kept his big mouth shut and allowed the focus to be on the team, the outcome might have been different.

  • At 6/02/2006 8:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Is it not a fact that only one team has played in more than one Stanley Cup Final between 2002 and 2006? Am I wrong or is that team the CAROLINA HURRICANES? GO CANES!!!!!

  • At 6/02/2006 9:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Incredible series. Pure adrenaline rush of game 7! Here we are again at the 10 plays that defined the game. My wife and I noticed: 1. Defenseman Jay McKee out for game 7 2. Barry Melrose referring to Canes' first goal as great karma (shot bouncing off 2 Sabres players) 3. Jillison getting pancaked behind the goal and Jillison's 2 puckhandling miscues resulting in a Canes goal 4. Andrew Ladd's wicked pancake on Daniel Biere 5. Ray Whitney's stunning direction reversal sitting up Doug Weight's goal 6. Any save by Cam Ward in the third period 7. Brind'mour's blazing top shelf goal amongst a collapsing Sabres' defense 8. Mike Grier's physical presence in every game 9. Brilliant penalty kill late in the third period 10. Canes learning a valuable lesson. NEVER, EVER touch the Prince of Wales trophy. Without a doubt, it's been the best series of the 2006 Stanley Cup playoffs. Go CANES Go!

  • At 6/02/2006 10:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I agree what a great game 7. But Canes hockey is just not the same without one of the NHL's best ever skating for the Canes. Ronnie Canes fans will forever appreciate your greatness. You were the best ever saw in the Red sweater!!!!!!

    Go Canes!

  • At 6/02/2006 11:33 PM, Blogger lak said…

    What a rush it was to sit in those stands and watch those guys play their butts off. I am still on a high from the game. There is no doubt that they deserve to be in the Stanley Cup Finals. I have to admit at the end of the 2nd period I was sitting on pins and needles. I thought I was going to have a heart attack! But in the end as they always do, they were the better team (as if I had a doubt). There is so much that can be said about this team. Just look at their character. They are a first class group of guys. I have said it before and I will say it again Roddy is an unbeleiveable leader. He always seems to set the mood of the game. They should be very proud of theirselves because they are right where they deserve to be. Congratulations guys!!!! We will be right there with you on Monday night cheering you on. GO CANES!!!!!

  • At 6/03/2006 12:23 AM, Anonymous Cathy said…

    Hi! I'm an avid Canes fan, as is my whole family! One thing I don't understand is - why do the Canes not attempt more shots from the side as soon as they come from behind the net? They always seem to want to get a perfect shot set up way out in front of the goal. I've seen other teams take many side shots and shots often go in just because of the activity created around the goal. I love 'em but want to see them shoot more from all angles.
    GO CANES!!! They are the most "community-friendly" team I have ever seen - we love em!

  • At 6/03/2006 1:30 PM, Anonymous janet rudderham said…

    Headline in Halifax sports section - "Canes vs Canada " ! Told ya so ,didn't I ? This is going to be fun !!And you thought the Sabre fans were bad !! There are few things that unite this 5000 km.wide country - and the Cup is one of them ! I thought I was lonely before ! Keep the faith !
    Til later !! the cdn.con.

  • At 6/04/2006 6:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The 'Canes were confidently loose before game 7. When a team has confidence they have fun playing. Stay confident, continue to have fun, and continue to win. It takes excellent play, coaching, and that elusive element of luck to win championships. The ‘Canes are creating their own luck due to their hard work. Stay focused one game at a time. The game 7 win should propel the 'Canes through the championship series. It has all the makings of a great series so stay loose, be confident, and have fun ‘Canes and Caniacs!


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