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.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Where Do I Start?

I really struggled with where to start tonight. What were the turning points of the game? What were the keys? Certainly the Canes killing the 5 on 3 in the first period was huge. I thought the Oilers decision to sit back and trap when they got the 3 goal lead in the 2nd period was big also. I felt it let the Canes start to find their legs a little since it gave them more room to skate out of their end.

I thought Whitney's goal early in the 3rd gave the home crowd and the Canes the spark they had been missing for the first 40 minutes. Once again the PP scored a big goal at a big time in the hockey game. Anytime you score a short-handed goal it is a huge momentum swing, and Williams goal did just that.

Let's not forget the save Ward made on Horcroft when Horcroft had a wide open net in the 3rd period( like you were going to forget that save), and the save at the end of the game again on Horcroft. Certainly the miscue by Conklin and Smith that resulted in the game winning goal by Roddy was also a huge part of this game.

But, having thought about all the above, the biggest turning point in this game and most likely the series was when Ladd was knocked into Roloson, and from all indications so far, that has knocked Roloson out of this series. That leaves a huge hole for Edmonton to fill. Conklin has to be a little shaky after how the game ended, so I would not be surprised to see Markkanen be the starter for game 2.

Either way, Edmonton will have a tough time being the same team they were throughout the playoffs without Roloson in the pipes. I must give the Oilers credit. They were faster than I thought they were and played a lot better than I thought they would coming off a 9-day break. I really thought they played well enough to win the game but the Canes once again, found a way to win(a good sign).

The Oilers fired 38 shots at Ward and a lot of those shots were not easy saves. Cam Ward should have been a star tonight! In game 2 I expect the Canes to be better. They need to skate for 60 minutes like they did the last 20 minutes.

In game 2, however all the questions will be with the Oilers and whether or not they will be able to overcome the loss of Roloson. The last thing a team wants in the Cup finals is a question mark surrounding their goaltending, and right now, that is exactly what the Oilers have.


  • At 6/06/2006 12:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It's Horcoff, not Horcroft.

  • At 6/06/2006 12:46 AM, Anonymous Tony said…

    An outstanding game. I agree with you, Ron -- the Oilers played very well and it is a great sign that the Canes were able to overcome that.

    I feel bad for Roloson, but at least it wasn't Ladd's fault. We will see what effect that injury has on the rest of the games.

  • At 6/06/2006 1:24 AM, Anonymous John from Raleigh said…

    Thank you Cam!!!

  • At 6/06/2006 1:43 AM, Blogger Stormbringer said…

    I gaped at the TV screen for a solid minute when the Bergeron haymaker that KOed Roloson happened. I understand getting in the hit on your opponent and all...but does Bergeron understand the concept of letting up when one of his own teammates might get the brunt of the hit?! Yikes... o_O

    All that said, I wish Roloson all the best in a good recovery. I *really* hate seeing a goalie like him go on an awesome run, and have it end in a horrible injury. :(

    As for the game...the first two periods were probably some of the worst hockey the Canes have played in possibly the entire season. Good thing they turned around and played some of the best hockey of the season...'cause man, this series could have easily been 1-0, Oil. AND more than likely would have been if the Canes kept up the aforementioned lacklustre play.

    If the Canes can keep up the outstanding (and quite possibly season-best) play of Game One's third period in the next three or so games, the world will be a better place.

    So I don't take credit away from the Oilers AND you Mr. Francis, you were right on about how well Edmonton played tonight. Once again goes to show that just because the Oil are a #8 seed doesn't mean they are to be taken lightly. I picked this series to last five games, but I can see it lasting at least six, even with the Oilers' goaltender woes. Markkanen may not be Roloson, but he certainly is not that shabby a goalie...

  • At 6/06/2006 2:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I too felt bad for Roloson, but all teams, especially in the grueling playoffs have to deal with adversity...Cole...Games 1 & 2 of Montreal series. That being said, I believe that the 'Canes have already beat the best goalies of the NHL, especially Huet, who is extremely underrated. And while this will put the 'Canes in command, I think that they were in that postion regardless. Like Tony said, I am very glad that it wasn't Ladds fault. The 'Canes have that aura of destiny, but we'll see what happens. All in all the Oilers looked stronger that I imagined, and the 'Canes need to work on puck control, their passes have been off and on the last few games. But how interesting would it be that the first pro championship comes to NC via Raleigh instead of Charlotte!!

  • At 6/06/2006 4:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What a game! To survive a 5 on 3, a penalty shot and a 3 goal deficit and come out on top. The Canes do have Whatever It Takes!!!

  • At 6/06/2006 7:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I was at the Game and it appeared to me the 'Canes had a let down after a hard fought Eastern Final. They found their second wind and came on strong from the 15 minute mark of the second period to the end. The really bad part about Roloson, besides he has been outstanding for the oilers, is when the 'Canes win their will be some to say we were lucky and didn't deserve the Cup because of the injuries our opponets received during the series. But, we know this team has worked hard all year and deserves the Cup.

  • At 6/06/2006 7:25 AM, Blogger Rick said…

    No, anonymous, it's not Horcroft, nor Horcoff, but WARD, CAM WARD!!!

  • At 6/06/2006 7:35 AM, Blogger Rick said…

    Praise God! The Canes are awesome! Street Hockey at it's best, so to speak! Fightin' Hockey! Finding a way or as the coin that all the Canes carry says, Whatever It Takes! As disjointed as the Canes were after 20 mins, I still had faith because the Oilers had played their best and were still on up 1 goal. That had to give some, slight edge to the Canes. Even the TV announcers made note that in spite of all the opportunities for the Oilers, they were only ahead by 1. Obviously, 99% of that is due to a young 22 yr old named Cam Ward! God bless him! Talk about being in a zone. Even in the TV slow-mo replays it was amazing to see him move and contort his body to make those game-saving saves. Notice the "s" on saves: Cam Ward definitely saved the game for the Canes, without question. His saves kept the faith, the hope and even the realistic possibility of tying and winning the game. Thank you, Cam. I do agree with you Ron that the Oilers losing their goalie is perhaps the turning point, if not for the game last night, certainly for the series. Quite ironic that another Oiler in an uncalled penalty caused the injury to his own goalie! I definitely think the Canes are now in the driver's seat and as such I would pray and hope that they mash the gas pedal and go!!! God bless the Canes!

  • At 6/06/2006 7:47 AM, Anonymous janet rudderham said…

    Well,if my boys have to really shine during one period ,I'm glad it's the third !Roloson is out for the series ,but there's no blame being thrown about -that would just make it ugly ! Cam was amazing ! The only drawback for lil ol' me is that I have to watch this series on CBC ! They are so one -sided (and it ain't our side) ! But even they couldn't deny the spectacular saves and that sweet ,sneaky Brindy goal at the end !!Whitney was great -oh,I'm just purring here! Now ,guys ,be kind to your fans ,and try turning it on a bit earlier -like 40 minutes !!And no more penalty shots ! OK ? Unless we're taking them ,of course !
    Later ,y'all ,eh !! We could start a whole new dialect ,Ron ! What do you think ?
    the Cdn. con

  • At 6/06/2006 7:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Now the hard part is trying to decide who's name to get on my Hurricanes Jersey!

    Cam Ward, Rod Brind'Amour or Williams

  • At 6/06/2006 7:50 AM, Blogger linda schlachter said…


  • At 6/06/2006 7:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Very well said by all. I find it awe inspiring that we won despite the referring. For example, Brindy getting chopped at and of course Ladd being crashed into roloson. The canes did not play their best. but now the boys can settle down and get to work. A side note: the staff at Profiles-Upper Deck on whitaker mill rd were terrific last night

  • At 6/06/2006 7:56 AM, Blogger nchurricane1 said…

    We just need to play Period 3 all the time and the Cup will be in Raleigh!! When the Canes went down 3-0, people around me were moaning. All I kept telling them is that was a not a bad thing for this team and actually wakes them up. When I saw Roddy's interview between the 2nd & 3rd period, you could just tell he was not a happy person and some words would be said in the locker room... sure enough, out came the Canes we have all grown to love in the 3rd. Cam was outstanding last night. His reaction time is unbelievable and we are so lucky that he's only a rookie with many years ahead of him. I can't wait to watch Wednesday nights game!! And hey!!! where are all the street vendors selling Canes and Cup gear??

  • At 6/06/2006 8:06 AM, Blogger rmmeli said…

    Cam Ward onviously was the #1 star of this game. Just go back and look at the replays and see the saves he made. Some were totally incrdible, some reminiscent of the one Weekes made against the Devils in 2002 except Ward made a number of them. The Canes need to play better because Ward wont be able to do that every game. I also think the injury to Roloson and the consequent mishap and open goal will prove to be the defining moment of this series.

  • At 6/06/2006 8:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I do want to credit the Edmonton fans. They are a classy bunch, unlike some we have seen here in past weeks.

    The Canes found a way!, Consistently "Relentless." That's a plug for all fans to get their "Relentless" wrist band by donating to the fight against Leukemia.

    We WERE the loudest house last night. My ears are still ringing and my throat hoarse. WOW!

    Let's go Canes!

  • At 6/06/2006 8:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Without a doubt - the best single sporting event I have ever attended! Caniacs - thank yoiu for making my ears hurt today! Place was rockin'!

    Cam - you are THE MAN! What a fantastic game he played, and even the Edmonton fans (very good fans unlike Buffalo) even commented on how good he is and is going to be.

    Hate to see Roloson get hurt. Glad he won't be in goal, but I hate to see it happen this way. Never want to see anybody get hurt - especially in this envoirnment.

    Canes need to play better - we stole this game. But I knew we'ld win once I saw Coach Sidney Lowe on the jumbotron cheering on the Canes!

    Parking at RBC: $7
    Burger and beverage: $10
    Ticket to game 1: $120 (x2)
    Canes coming from behind to win: PRICELESS!

    Go Canes!

    and the initial anyonymous - lay off Ronnie. You forget the man is a sure fire Hall of Famer!

  • At 6/06/2006 8:53 AM, Blogger Ron Francis said…

    I'm old. I was up late, and I had a brain cramp. Thanks for correcting me.

  • At 6/06/2006 8:56 AM, Blogger brindyfan said…

    Thanks Ron for your thoughts again! Love to see your view point and look forward to it after every game!! Maybe wral can keep you around for just thoughts of the day after we bring home the cup. You can just write about how shiny the cup is in Raleigh and how good the names of the Carolina Hurricanes appear on the cup and so on! Give us hockey fans something to look forward to on the news every day!! :-)

    On another note I have to be excited that my man did it again. He is so clam and smart on the ice! Good looks, Great talent, and level headed! What a man! LOL

    Thanks again! and Go Canes!!

  • At 6/06/2006 9:10 AM, Blogger lak said…

    Well said Rick. CAM WARD is right. He has been the man and he has been so awesome during these playoffs. I think he has greatly improved since the regular season and he only continues to get better. I feel bad for the Oilers goalie, but thank goodness Ladd didn't get the blame for it. He really tried to pull back and not hit him, but didn't have a choice when he was pushed into him. I would like to see the Canes come out stronger than they did last night for Wednesday's game. Maybe they just had first game gitters and started to shake them off going into the 3rd. This is going to be a great series. I look for the Canes to prevail as they have done all season. They truely are a remarkable team on the ice and off. Go Canes!!

  • At 6/06/2006 9:35 AM, Blogger dave's wings said…

    All I know is for two games in a row with a deficit in the third period I have gone around the house to find my red T-shirt with the Ten Daddy Rules on it. Worked both times but i'm not supersticious. THis team is beyond resilient.

    As I expected Pissani and Pronger make big plays but the biggest has to be Cam Ward. How many big saves can a rookie goalie make. EArly in the season many questioned if this kid had the metal to make this league and now he is 3 wins away from being compared to Patrick Roy (who by the way is an arrogant you know what). Game 2 has to be a better performance and cannot get caught up in the back-up goalie trap. All these guys are professional.

    Last but not least, wish that Ronnie Franchise could be in on this fanfare on the ice. Would have been nice for one last hurrah for the man. Hey, Stevie Y wont hang them up.....GO CANES!!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

  • At 6/06/2006 9:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    I think I smell a Stanley Cup.

  • At 6/06/2006 10:06 AM, Blogger E said…

    Cam Ward for the Conn Smyth! Enough said. Ronnie don't worry we forgive you and wish you were there with the team to enjoy such a victory. I feel bad for Roli, the fact that it happened because of his own teammate was even worse. Now it is time for the 'Canes to churn the ocean to swell this Oil slick into nothing.

  • At 6/06/2006 10:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    All I can say is "Oh my God!" If that is not a way to start off a Stanley Cup Finals, I don't know what is. Yes we started out rough and couldn't find our game till late in the 2nd, but when we did watch out. Nobody puts baby in a corner! And especially don't do it to our Canes!

    I have to say I think we can place a little blame on our 1st period performance on Mr. McGeough(sp?) everytime we got some momentum going some sort of penalty was called. Now I am not saying that we are a penalty free team, but when I can look at my friend at the beginning of the game and say it is going to be a long game because he is one of the refs and to be proven right! I don't know about anyone else, but I am noticing that when the puck is being fought for in front of the net the refs are quick to blow the play dead while the puck is still loose, but when it is in front of ours the play continues which last night lead to a NHL Finals first!

    None the less our canes did what they always do, they fought they skated and the they came from behind to prove that there is nothing that is going to keep us from our Cup!

    Go Canes!

  • At 6/06/2006 10:34 AM, Anonymous janet rudderham said…

    Brain cramp ? Nah -call it what it is -a senior moment !! Just funnin' with ya !!

  • At 6/06/2006 10:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Incredible game to watch from an entertainment standpoint but a terrible game from how you want to play and win a hockey game. The Oilers completely owned the Hurricanes in the first 2 periods. We couldn't get an inside shot, we couldn't complete a pass and in general we looked like 5 little kids that were the "monkey in the middle" when Edmonton had the puck.

    I think the injury to Roloson may cause the Oilers to rethink the rush where they bring the defense forward. Roloson was solid and could be counted on in a breakaway but I'm not so sure about Conklin.

    Can somebody get Glen Wesley some bigger pads? In the first period he was blocking everything that came near him. He deserves the 4th star for the first period alone.

    Lets hope we play better in Game 2 because if we keep that up we are going to have problems.

  • At 6/06/2006 10:47 AM, Blogger SFC Ken said…

    To all our friends from Edmonton, we feel you pain in losing you #1 goalie. We felt the same way when we lost Cole. I think your loss is even worse because it happened during the finals. We hope his injury isn't career ending and that he'll be back for training in the summer.

    For those that say that we're being handed the cup now.....remember, we were down 0-3 and tied it up to 4-4 before Roloson got hurt.

    I get to see one more game at the RBC Center before I have to head back on the 14th. I usre would like to see a sweep because I'll be traveling all day on the 14th and am not going to see any of game 5 if it goes that far.

    Cam and Rod, these two guys are at the top of their game. Remember Week's big save against NJ in '02? Ward's save was just as spectacular.

    Mr. Francis, don't worry about typos that you may make, we're here for your insight not to do a spell check on you, keep up the good work. (are you going to the games or watching from home?)

    Can anyone tell me why Cory Stillman is wearing an "A" on his jersey? I noticed that last night.

    GO CANES!!!!

  • At 6/06/2006 12:02 PM, Blogger Stormbringer said…

    Ron Francis said:

    I'm old. I was up late, and I had a brain cramp. Thanks for correcting me.


    If you're not careful, people will get on you about ANYTHING on the Internet. As a matter of fact, last night, I had people jumping on me about, of all things, the "Silly little fairy." car ad (which, along with the KFC Bowl, is shown too darned much during the playoff games, but that's another post).

    I can understand a player's name...but what "Tinkerbelle" transforms a man into AND what he's wearing after the said transformation? Great googily-moogily... o_O

  • At 6/06/2006 12:18 PM, Blogger GnJ_CanesFans said…

    What a game! They played like crap the first 2 periods, and they admitted to that fact. Officiating didn't help! Thanks Mr. Magoo! Although, I never got nervous in this game like I did during the Buffalo games! :-)
    Sad to see Roli go down, you never want to see that happen.
    Before the first game I said we will win this in 5 games, all 3 wins at home with on lose on the road. Win the cup at home- how sweet!

    •CAM is the man- did you see those saves... my goodness!!
    •ROD is a big freakin horse- keep it up and you will raise the cup!
    •MIKEY C- goofy, but loveable! Big hair or small hair, a defenseman you can count on- hit ‘em on the boards Mikey (Ronnie McDonnie)!
    •WHITNEY- you gotta watch out for the 'wee' one!!

    Recchi, Weight- Whitney and Stillman- THE 'WEE' LINE-- look for great things from these guys!

  • At 6/06/2006 12:19 PM, Blogger GnJ_CanesFans said…

    What a game! They played like crap the first 2 periods, and they admitted to that fact. Officiating didn't help! Thanks Mr. Magoo! Although, I never got nervous in this game like I did during the Buffalo games! :-)
    Sad to see Roli go down, you never want to see that happen.
    Before the first game I said we will win this in 5 games, all 3 wins at home with on lose on the road. Win the cup at home- how sweet!

    •CAM is the man- did you see those saves... my goodness!!
    •ROD is a big freakin horse- keep it up and you will raise the cup!
    •MIKEY C- goofy, but loveable! Big hair or small hair, a defenseman you can count on- hit ‘em on the boards Mikey (Ronnie McDonnie)!
    •WHITNEY- you gotta watch out for the 'wee' one!!

    Recchi, Weight- Whitney and Stillman- THE 'WEE' LINE-- look for great things from these guys!

  • At 6/06/2006 12:40 PM, Blogger Forever10 said…

    No Ronnie - you're not old. You'll always be the best, and we're extremely fortunate to have you here in Raleigh.


  • At 6/06/2006 1:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Don't worry Ron...anytime anybody calls me out on my spelling I remind them that Albert Einstein was a terrible speller....usually shuts them up pretty quick!

    Feel bad for the Oiler's Goalie...nevertheless what a game!

    Bring the cup to Raleigh boys!

    -Brad (from Houston, TX)

  • At 6/06/2006 1:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Awesome game. Must admit was a bit nervous after first 25 minutes, but as soon as Roddie scored, I rememeber saying, this is far from over. Have seen the Canes come from behind too many times. Can this team stand prosperity? Would like to see them put away a team early, but realize that rarely happens in the playoffs. Have said all along that Ray Whitney and Cory Stillman are two of most underrated players in the NHL. Ray began to show that in Game 1 and if not enough heroics already in previous series, I predict that Cory will be a man possessed in Games 2 and 3. He knows what it takes to win the Cup and I sense that he can really smell it now and will turn it on! Of course, Cam will be solid as usual, and if lines 3 and 4 produce up to their capabilities, the series is the Cane's to lose. Congrats to all the Canes, but especially to Coach. Turning point of the series? Coach not pulling Cam after goal # 3!

  • At 6/06/2006 1:52 PM, Anonymous grace said…

    Wow. Let's at least keep it real, people. One game does not a series make. If you watched any Oilers hockey this year, and I think until last night you didn't, you'd know the Oilers always bounce back. They fought hard to be #8 on questionable goaltending throughout the regular season. The Oilers I know and love will show up tomorrow. Celebrate tonight, but if history teaches you anything, don't celebrate too hard. Don't discredit the likes of Smyth, Pronger, et al. They fought too hard against everything thrown at them to just curl up and die and hand Stanley over. Be prepared to fight for the Cup. It's not going to be given to you. This is Oilers hockey.

    Go Oilers Go!!!

  • At 6/06/2006 3:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It was the single best hockey game I have seen in years. This team can leave us in the pits of dispair only to bring us to the heights of glory. They are such a pleasure to watch and cheer for! I can't say the same about the officiating. How is it that Ref #19 can be congratulating and slapping the heiney of Markkanen when he came out to replace Roloson? Doesn't he have to at least pretend to be fair and impartial?

    Anyhow, can't wait for Wednesday night! Although I hope the Canes can manage to stay out of overtime this series, between ticket prices, food, beverages and the cost of a babysitter for three kids, Overtime can be killer!

  • At 6/06/2006 3:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ron...don't know if you saw Roddy on a face off in the offensive zone, turned his hand over at the very last second and shot the puck towards the net instead of bringing it back to the had twice the velocity since their center was bringing it one expected it. Brind'amour...carrying the team on his shoulders..unbelievable! All around best player in the league!

  • At 6/06/2006 3:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    No problem, Grace. Recent history (2002)certainly reminds us that this series is far from other. Nonetheless- it was a heck of a comeback done by a team that was certainly not playing its best. Let's Go Canes!

  • At 6/06/2006 3:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Mick Mcgeough ( Mr. MaGoo ) has to be the worst freakin' ref. His bias against the Canes is legendary. As much as I hate when refs try to hand the game to an opponent. I love it even more, when the 'Canes still come out on top. This is not to take anything away from the Oilers. They played great but McGeough has no business in the finals, let alone the NHL.

  • At 6/06/2006 3:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Brind'amour...carrying the team on his shoulders..unbelievable!

    He is exactly what I think about when I hear that commercial.

  • At 6/06/2006 4:29 PM, Blogger rmmeli said…

    When we all heard Mick Mcgeough was going to referee game 1 we knew we were in fr a long night. Like the other people, he showed in previous games that he has a bas against the Canes (maybe he does not believe it but we have all seen it) and he continued that trend last night. I can't understand either how he can be one of the best refs in the me he ranks with the great Tim Peel.....and we all remember him!

  • At 6/06/2006 4:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    From a rabid Canes fan, last night was tremendous!

    However, Roloston's injury put a dampe on the series. But let's not how we all felt in March when Cole was slammed from behind and we first heard of his prognosis.

    In hockey, it's a reality. It happens.

    Let's not keep that from joyously celebrating a sensational first game last night! Our sympathies and best wishes to Roloston! Let's not forget, we are southern and most of us are well mannered and extemely polite. (albeit it was very hard during the Buffalo series.)

    Go Canes!

  • At 6/06/2006 5:13 PM, Anonymous Derek from Raleigh said…

    Game One was a poorly played game by the Canes for the better part of two periods. If they continue to play that way throughout this series, the Cup may go live in Edmonton, even if Rolosson is out. I do not want that.

    Grace has a point folks, this was only one game. Heck, even if we win tomorrow night, remember these guys came back against San Jose after going down 0-2 and the Canes came back this year against Montreal after being down 0-2. The Canes need to play a full 60 minutes for as many more games as it takes. NO more of this turning on the light switch when we get down by a goal or three. One of these days, it may not work and/or Cam may have a bad night. If not for Cam last night it would have been the Oilers naming the score. Lets hope the Canes come to play the whole game Wednesday, Saturday and Monday, if they do we'll bring the cup home to Raleigh a week from Wednesday and win it in Game 5 here. Go Canes

  • At 6/06/2006 6:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Completely agree with Derek and Grace. You can bet the Canes aren't looking past Game 2, and we shouldn't be either. This is still a series.

    Yes there were at least a dozen outstanding moments last night and at least that many stars of the game, but over the entire 60 minutes that was possibly our worst-played game since Montreal game 1. Hopefully the 3rd-period wakeup call will carry over into game 2 and beyond.

    Speaking of bad moments, nobody has yet brought up the debris-throwing incident right before the penalty shot. I wanted to crawl under my seat when I saw that. Total lack of class on national TV, Raleigh .. way to go.

    Go Canes!!

  • At 6/06/2006 6:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    First of all, for all of you saying that the hit that took out Roloson should've been a penalty, what penalty would you have called? Ladd had the puck, the hit was shoulder to shoulder, what are you going to call on that? Just because someone falls down doesn't mean it's a penalty. It was a big, legal hit.

    That said, last night seemed like a mix of Games 5 and 7 in the Buffalo series. We played like crap for 70% of the game and came up winning thanks to Cam. You can't count on coming back every third period.

    Edmonton has showed that they're able to score goals. Carolina hasn't exactly shut them down- yeah, there was a fluke goal in there, but the 4th goal was especially telling. Edmonton may be hurting on defense, but their offensive is still very potent, and our success still hinges greatly on shutting that down.

  • At 6/06/2006 8:14 PM, Blogger canesguy said…

    I tried to leave a comment Monday afternoon before the game, but my computer went down just as I was ready to publish it. The gist of my remarks was that I really wanted the Canes to take it to the Oilers early and get some quick goals before they had a chance to settle in from their long layoff and for the Canes to play a full 60 minutes of good hockey. Gee, it didn't quite work out that way! The good part, of course, is that we won and that it takes a really good team to come roaring back after playing like dog poop for almost two full periods. The bad part is that we can't count on always being able to do that.
    That said, the Canes were truly magnificent in the 3rd period. Just like Thursday night against Buffalo we got a crucial goal only 1&1/2 minutes into the period and once again Dougie Weight played a central role. That man is an incredible passer. I think most Caniacs had been waiting throughout the playoffs for Justin Williams to break loose for a shorty. What a time Willi picked for his first one! The Captain was his usual amazing self and Cam - what adjectives can possibly do Wardo justice. Without him we would have been down 3 or 4 goals(or more) in the 1st but he definitely saved the most spectacular saves of all for the 3rd concluding with his game saving stop with 3.8 seconds left. He is The Man!
    I know I am totally prejudiced but it seems as though we may indeed have a true team of destiny on our hands.
    A note to the players: Guys, we'll take a Game 2 victory in any form, but a few goals early on sure would be nice for a change.

  • At 6/06/2006 8:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Counterproductive at this point to talk about the officiating. Officiating has been questionable on both sides of the puck since the Montreal series.Definetely have noticed a bias against the Canes, but in reality, the NHL probably didn't want a series such as Edmonton vs. Carolina. In their infinite wisdom they likely figured the ratings and viewership stataistics with two small market teams wouldn't be in the league's best interests.I am not a conspiracy theorist or anything of the sort, but it is fact, Carolina will not get the respect due them unless and until they win the Stanley Cup.As for league officials,just a word of consolation,anybody who watched the Buffalo Series saw some of the best hockey played in the NHL in many years. They need to stay tuned to this series, as it is starting out the same way, and these two teams are already building on an untapped fan base, people who previously only had a passing interest in hockey.The league should be very thankful that two high energy,fast paced teams of this caliber are competing for the Cup.

  • At 6/06/2006 8:29 PM, Blogger Michael said…

    Dear Mr. Francis and crew,

    Do you or any of the WRAL staff have access to find out what the ratings looked like for Game 1 on OLN? Did the Canadian Networks do well?

    I have a theory that here in the states, OLN did pretty well or I'm sure the other "four-letter networks" will have made a big deal if the Neilson overnights were poor.

    Good job, Mr. Francis. Thank you for all you've done for us here in Pittsburgh.

  • At 6/06/2006 8:45 PM, Blogger Stormbringer said…

    Annony said:

    "Speaking of bad moments, nobody has yet brought up the debris-throwing incident right before the penalty shot. I wanted to crawl under my seat when I saw that. Total lack of class on national TV, Raleigh .. way to go."

    I somehow missed that, but have read about the debris throwing incident in a couple of places, including here. Just reading about it makes me quite disappointed with my Caniac brethren...I thought a lot of them were better than that. I'll never forget one of the games at Atlanta way back in the 2003-04 season...right after the Canes got the GWG (if memory serves me right, it was in OT, with one second to spare), the Thrasher fans made their feelings quite well known through their cups, cans, wrappers, and whatever else they could throw. Totally appalled me then (not to mention how I hoped to not read about any Cane or Thrasher players and/or staff suffering any minor head wounds/injuries that evening or the following morning) AND still appalls me now whenever I think about it.

    So much for Southern hospitality at certain times... *sighs*

    While I'm at it, I also agree with Grace and Derek...many have this series lasting at least five or six games for a reason. As much help as Roloson has been, he also had an outstanding defense, a scary good offense, AND a rather crafty coach in MacTavish helping him out. If all three of those *really step up* in the next game and more, and I fully expect them to, I may wish that I had predicted six or even seven games being the length instead of five.

  • At 6/07/2006 8:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I saw the debris throwing incident as well. There was a great father/son from Toronto sitting in front of us, and a couple of Emonton fans behind me. I apolgoized to each of them on behalf of Raleigh.

    They took it in stride, but not a shining moment for our city. Even though they each spoke very highly of their visit to Raleigh.

    Ron - you get a pass for typos! You've earned it sir! Just wish you could put on that #10 and have a chance to skate around out there with those guys. You are still a part of this team, and we are very lucky to still have you call Raleigh your home!

    Let's go out and get game 2! Edmonton will not roll over, and we're gonna have to bring our A game tonight. Hopefully Wesley won't have to play human blocker again. That man - wow! Amazing effort on his part - you think he wants that cup?

    I love this TEAM!

  • At 6/07/2006 11:22 AM, Anonymous PantherandCaniac said…

    It is good that NC may get a championship (via Raleigh), but lose the attitude towards Charlotte. The Queen City started it all and the Canes wouldn't be here were it not for Charlotte and the success of the Hornets and the Panthers, not to mention NASCAR.

    The fans of NC need to be together, not against each other, supportive so we can get away from the Redneck Hockey image and towards a real hockey fan identity. By the way, I love the term "Redneck Hockey" and happen to be a redneck, I just think the guys (organization) would appreciate a following across the entire state and into other states, not just from round here and these rednecks-lol!

    I am from Charlotte and live in Raleigh-wood now, but we need to unite as a state fan base and get Charlotte on the Caniac Bullet!!

    Go Canes!!

  • At 6/07/2006 12:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I waited patiently for that first goal in game 1. Somehow I knew that the 'Canes would be OK once the first goal was scored. On reflection my hunch was right but it took longer than I expected. Once the 'Canes got rolling, boy did they get rolling.

    I think there was a lot of hype surrounding Roloson that may have contributed to how long it took to score the goal. I am like any true fan of the sport: I don't like to see anyone injured. I wish Rolo a speedy and full recovery.

    I said it before, the 'Canes are creating their own luck with their hard work. The hit that forced Rolo out of the game was caused by the speed and pressure the 'Canes were generating.

    And what can you say about Cam Ward? A rookie goalie in his first Stanley Cup series who just had the first ever penalty goal scored on and to come up so BIG in the 3rd period. WOW!

    The Oilers aren't out of it by any means and I'm glad that the 'Canes realize that. I agree with Ron's analysis. The Oilers are quicker than I thought. Perhaps they play to the level of their opponent. If that's true then it says something about the 'Canes.

    Stay loose, stay confident, have fun, and continue to win. Teams win and you are some kind of team. Let's go Hurricanes!

  • At 6/07/2006 12:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Kudos to the anonymous fan who apologized for the Carolina fans behavior at the penalty shot - that's a class act from a true hockey fan. Sadly, the 'debris throwing' incident happens in other NHL arena's too, but it confirms all of the blogs from the competitiors fans throughout this playoff season - the Hurricanes fan base is just as obnoxious, if not moreso, at times too. Try and remember how great the game is and absorb this opportunity to help better the NHL's view of the Hurricanes and it's fan base.

    Mr. Francis, your comments about each game is enjoyable and appreciated. You are a forever admired spirit among hockey greats. As a long, long time hockey fan, I read your postings and I am brought back to the true integrity of this game, and the nastiness among fans fades for those few moments.

    As a Northerner (okay please no rude comments from the Southern fans) who has grown up watching and playing hockey (and yes, girls play too), I am appalled at some of the fans attitudes in Carolina. I understand that all teams have their sore spot in the fan base, but if one wants to change the attitude of broadcasters and viewers towards the Hurricanes and their 'talent vs. luck', look at your own comments and opinions as the fans. In professional sports, fans must rise above the gutters and respect the greatness of this sport and its players. Concentrate on the steak instead of the peas. It does no good to complain about officiating, and I disagree with most thoughts about it being one-sided. Winning teams don't make excuses, they simply play their game and make the most out of all opportunities (good or bad calls).

    Welcome to the NHL - welcome to professional sports.

    It will be tough on Edmonton with having lost their goalie and perhaps we will see some new found strength from them. Injuries are no stranger to any hockey team and if the Hurricanes can play strong and smart, they could win it all. And, unlike popular opinion, if the Hurricanes do succeed, it won't only be due to 'luck' or bad breaks for the opposing team. This is what happens in hockey and you just have to suck it up and do your best. It happens to every team at one time or another. You shouldn't necessarily rule out the Oilers because of injury either. This is hockey afterall.

    As some people commented, this is a long series and as we've seen in the Eastern and the Western conferences this year, the tides can turn quickly.
    Nonetheless, this proves to be a great series and as it should be for the greatest, most coveted trophy ever.

    As an outsider, I am impressed with the Hurricanes and think Staal and Cam Ward are two boys we will see joining the ranks of hockey's great legends. Ward is a young Martin Brodeur and Staal is just raw talent at it's best (especially with that wrap around shot).

    Canes fans need to enjoy this run for the cup and concentrate on the players and their determination for their biggest glory in hockey, and ease up on the hostility towards the opponents fans, the officials, and even the broadcasters. Show your passion by redirecting some of that nastiness and supporting the players themselves with a positive, hockey-loving attitude.

    Remember, this is only the second game tonight. Anything can happen in hockey when Lord Stanley's Cup is within view -

    an Upstate New Yorker

  • At 6/07/2006 1:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm still wound up from Monday's game and ready to use that energy for tonight's game!

    I think everyone can agree we played pretty bad those first two periods and the Oilers looked pretty confident and in control out there however I think about the gentleman sitting beside me Monday night who was calm as a cucumber everytime the Oilers scored or a penalty was called against the Canes. He saw me look at him a few times between my bouts of frustration and he simply said, "little lady, don't worry, wait until the 3rd period." That says it all about our Canes.

    I hate that Roli was injured. It will be just another excuse for the hockey critics to downplay any win we get. As mentioned earlier, we were tied 4-4 before the injury.

    Ronnie, "old", not you!! You're just a young'n compared to some of us. Miss you out on the ice and I yell with excitment everytime I see you doing your part
    in the "Lets go Canes" song on the jumbotron!



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