All Things Hockey In The Carolinas

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Holy crap a;lkhqpiohqgh;ad

I totally hurt my knee last night jumping up and down after Joki's game-winner last night.

lawdahmercy I'll check back with whatever loyal few of you remain here on Thursday!

(image via Russo's Rants the Wild beat-writer, 'preciateyanow)

Friday, April 17, 2009

It was just one game, yo - Canes vs. Devils playoffs 2009

All I have to say about it right now is this:

I sat in the RBC Center both Game One and Game Two of Round One in 2006. I watched the Hurricanes not show up for game one and lose 6-1 or 5-1, (or something, I don't do stats. Sue me.) to the Habs. What happened after that?

Anything can happen.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Da preview: Playoffs Round One - Hurricanes vs. Devils 2009 Edition

For this round of playoff preview fun, we bring together two bloggers from each respective fanbase. Yours truly will cover the Hurricanes while some other dude named Greg Wyshynski reminisces about his boring-ass favorite hockey team. Enjoy.

The month was April. The year of our Lord was 2001. The scene was set in Barry's favorite town, Newark, NJ.

Wyshynski: The New Jersey Devils were defending Stanley Cup champions, and the Carolina Hurricanes were the annoying jerkweed eight seed trying to ruin their fun.

During the regular season, it was easy to be intimidated by the Canes ... what with former Hobey Baker winner Scott Pellerin and the unstoppable Rob DiMaio on the roster. And Carolina also had Arturs Irbe between the pipes, which might have fucking mattered if the Devils were the Red Wings.

The Devils won the first three games of the series, as Bobby Holik scored two game-winning goals. It's performances like that which eventually earned him a $97 million contract from the Rangers to be their checking center.

Then things got annoying, as the Hurricanes won two in a row and made a series out of things. Then the Devils ended it in Game 6, as human rag doll Sergei Brylin had the game-winner and Marty Brodeur huffed and puffed his way to a 5-1 win.

Of course, the series is most memorable for Scott Stevens forever altering the career of Shane Willis with a clean and completely legal hit, and then sending Ron Francis somewhere near Pluto with a check later in the series. Sure, Stevens would later get a karmic kick in the ass when he himself suffered a career-ending concussion. But no one remembers when the wrecking ball stopped working; just how it wrecked'um.

Suddenly, you are whisked away on a magical flying cheeseburger that lands at the RBC Center grounds in Raleigh. The April month was the same but 2006 'twas the year.

McBrayer: The Devils came into the playoffs on some kind of ridonkulous winning streak which continued with a 4-0 sweep over the NY Rangers. Marty Brodeur was busy being Marty Brodeur and the Devils were resilient on playing trappy hockey despite "The New NHL" and it's wide open, supposedly exciting fresh style. The Devils fans were happy and were busy doing fun things like arguing over which turnpike exit is cooler errr going to the beach errrrr driving to New York City? I'm clueless.

Meanwhile, the folks down in Carolina were busy tailgating their asses off and celebrating their come from behind win over the Habs and Cristofail Huet in the first round. The weather in NC is outstanding this time of year and if/when the Canes make the playoffs, the bandwagon overflows in Raleigh. Visiting teams' fans generally love coming to the RBC Center for the post-season just to see/experience the massive tailgate party that is a Hurricanes pre-game tailgate. You can also expect your NCSU Wolfpack football fans who laid the groundwork for the RBC Center/Carter-Findley grounds to show up and appreciate the festivities.

So as the Hurricanes held home ice with the #2 seed, the first game was in Raleigh. As Carolina seemed to barely sneak by the Canadiens, the common conception was that #30 and the Devils would continue their steam-rolling buzzsaw.

Not so fast.

Eric Staal, Cory Stillman and what seemed like 1/2 the team all scored easily against Marty in a 6-0 game one victory. Game Two was one for the ages. It was an evenly played and equally checked game that ended with Scott Gomez scoring a fluky deflection with half a minute left. But Eric Staal and his oh-face managed to score a garbage goal with one second left in regulation to send it to overtime. Niclas Wallin (AKA the 3rd pairing defenseman who's slightly overpaid but sometimes is awesome) snuck in on a breakway from a Rod Brind'amour pass and slid the puck under Brodeur for one hell of a finish to one hell of game.

The series seemed to weigh in the Hurricanes' favor after that game as they went onto a confidence building 4-1 series victory before the seven game, Eastern Conference semifinal series with Buffalo.

Pictured: a young Martin Brodeur searches for inspiration among his peers.

The magical flying cheeseburger quickly absorbs you (and your ugly ass playoff beard) to present day, April of 2009.

Wyshynski: as a Devils fan, my first thought on the series is that the Hurricanes are not from New York or Philadelphia or Pittsburgh, so I wonder what the attendance will be for the first two home games ...

My second thought is this: The Devils are, without question, a team built for the postseason. They've got more ugly veterans with their minds on the money than the worst strip club in town. One assumes they'll answer the bell.

Did I like the way they finished? Nope. They played inconsistent, downright awful hockey at times, and Marty looked like what we all figured Scott Clemmensen would look like when he replaced Marty. I'll say that losing Patrik Elias for a few games through things into chaos, because for all the good numbers the team put up its offense is about as deep as the psychological underpinnings of "High School Musical." The third one.

The Devils will win the series if they can solve Cam Ward, which no one's really been able to in the second half, and if they're special teams outplay the Carolina Hurricanes in four of the seven games -- and that's a tall order.

I'm optimistic as a fan that the Devils will look like the team that chewed bubble gum and kicked ass earlier this season, and that Brodeur's rust will be gone and his rest will pay off.

I'm pessimistic as an individual with free thought.

Wyshynski's Prediction: Canes in 6.

McBrayer: Historically speaking, when the Hurricanes decide that they want to be in the postseason - they're going to rip shit up. Since 2002, the Hurricanes have only been to the big dance twice but both times skirted all the way to the SC Finals. When they're in - hold onto your nips.

Between the Hurricanes/Old Fatasses, the four games played during this regular season were all rather impressive for the Canes, not including the final game last Saturday that saw backup goalie Michael Leighton have a few "D'oh!" moments. Yes, the 3rd game featured Kevin Weekes in goal for Jersey and a team that was probably hungover as hell from the previous evening. But Carolina matches up fairly even statistically speaking with Jersey's finest.

I'm sure that it's really intimidating on opposing teams at The Rock but Coach Brent Sutter and his gang had better be glad that they hold home-ice advantage in the series. Because three games of ear-splitting, building-shaking and decibel-record-setting raucous at the RBC Center are easier than four games.

Many pundits have the Canes listed among teams on the Upset Watch for this year's playoffs. While I don't think it would be an upset - the Hurricanes should win this series based on team play alone over the past two-ish months. With the likes of Joni Pitkanen / Anton Babchuk / Jose Corvo patrolling the blue line and creating offense, Carolina has too much fire power on all lines for Brodeur and the Devils to overcome. Cam Ward is somehow playing even better than he was during his rookie year Conn Smythe run if that is even possible.

I'm biased but I'm right.
McBrayer's Prediction: Canes in 6

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Anton Babchuk is your Daddy

Random Thoughts - Pre Playoffs Edition

Wow, what a difference a month makes. Who in God's green earth would have thought that the Canes would be fighting for home ice in the postseason, much less clinching a playoff birth with several games remaining in the reggie season? What a ride it has been for this team and the fans. Together, they've been through a river of doodie and came out somehow smelling like roses.

- I've been to the majority of the home games over this stretch and it has been some of the most fun I've ever had. The Rangers game from Thursday 4/2 during the third period in particular was an extremely memorable occasion. The 3rd period as Brindy and LaRose scored seconds apart was extreme elation and it gave me the shivers as the entire building was shaking from crowd response alone. My ears were ringing all night after the game and a little still the following morning. It would have been interesting to see the 'ol decibel meter during that ruckus. That's what its all about, dude.

- Months ago, I was at a game - maybe it was the Maple Leafs, can't really remember. But I was wearing one of my Brind'amour jerseys as he was still in his sucktastic slump. Some fans of the visiting team who were enjoying their adult beverages perhaps a bit too much were having fun yelling at me that it's time for Rod to hang up the skates and retire. I just laughed it off, did the 'ol cheers to them and carried on. I had the same thoughts of course and others probably shared the sentiment. But all along, I kept saying this:

"I don't care if he does have the worst +/- in the NHL, if your team is in the playoffs - you want a Rod Brind'amour on the team, warts and all."

Halle-lu-jah that he turned it around as he couldn't have picked a better time. As soon as he kicked his game back in gear, the team followed suit and every team they played - they ripped them a new one. Welcome back Roddy. Glad you're along for the ride and knowing your style - you'll sign a contract extension to play well into your late 40's.

- Chad LaRose is all that is man. Loved his "Day In The Life" that aired on the NHL Network too. He could have his own reality show and it would blow American Idol and Dancing With the Stars ratings away. Because many of you already know this, but when Chad LaRose is on a breakaway - he doesn't have to deke, the ice just shifts accordingly out of fear alone. Oh yeah, and he's about to get PAID this summer, son.

- OK - time to stop blowing sunshine up your butts for a minute. Lost amidst all the happy winning good times here lately - Sergei Samsonov has been stinking it up. We know enough based on his history that he's going to have hot and cold spells. He's only got two points in his past five games with an even +/- when the majority of the team has benefited from the beatdowns of other teams. Beyond the stats - if you just watch him he appears to have no confidence, turns the puck over and looks real loose trying to connect on passes. At what point do we worry about this? I know he can be as flaky as all hell, but damn. When Cullen returns to the line-up - do you keep Sammy in the line-up?

- Back to the sunshiney thoughts. I have no problem with admitting when I'm wrong about something. Though I never really came out and said that the Paul Maurice hiring was a terrible idea, a certain other writer for this blog did in more ways than one. I was certainly skeptical of Mo - but he has earned a new contract and proved many of the doubters wrong. East of Here - got anything to say in response?

- In regards to playoffs tickets, I'm thrilled that they are selling out so quickly. I decided in March to re-up for next year's season ticket package (and "iced my price" for the following two seasons). With that happening, the budget isn't ready to allow playoff ticket purchases. While I shall do my best to attend one game in the 1st round, I have no problem with enjoying the games on the home TV with good friends and good beverages.

- For those who may have missed it: I had the pleasure of interviewing the lovely Carrie Milbank over at Barry Melrose Rocks. Do check it out please.

I leave you today with a NSFW, yet side-splittingly funny Billy Mays "KABOOM!" re-dub. I've already shown it to many of my friends but I just can't get enough of it. Enjoy:

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Yep. Clinched. We are going to the playoffs.

Little E says "BRING IT!!!"

Playoffs baby.