Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Hurricanes 3 Oilers 1

In a truly entertaining end to a truly entertaining series, the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-1 to bring the Stanley Cup to Raleigh, NC for the first time ever. Both teams played great; both teams played their hearts out. To the Hurricanes and the Caniacs, congratulations! To the Oilers and their fans, keep your heads up and congratulations on a great season as well.

First, from the Carolina side, the Acid Queen is in disbelief. Yes, AQ, the 'Canes did win. And truly deserved.

I've been fighting for this team for so long, defending their right to exist and defending the fanbase (and taking the Hammer to a few of the faithful that get outta line), that now that the 'Canes have won and effectively cemented their niche in the Triangle I find myself wondering what my purpose in life is


All these years, I've been soaking up the tales from the team's history like a sponge. I've been learning about the history of the Hurricanes from their days in the WHA to 1997 to now, and I've been posting about much of it here.

Somebody's gotta remember where this team came from. Somebody's gotta remind people of where we've been so that they can appreciate where the Hurricanes are now and where they're headed.

Might as well be me.

I know I'm not making a lot of sense--blame the mead. I'm sitting here watching the game on the DVR and crying for joy because in some strange way it's all just sort of coming together finally.

I raise my glass to the Oilers fans. Your team didn't give up, and they put fear into my heart. They're tenacious, MacT's a pretty good coach, and I think the Oilers will do well next season.
And AQ, James Mirtle was on your side all season long. Consider this post from the beginning of the season:

A few years back, Laviolette took a dismal NY Islanders club that no one thought could be saved to the playoffs two-straight years.

Prepare for the encore.

Sophomore Eric Staal has certainly arrived as he sits 3rd in NHL scoring with 12 points in seven games. 35-year-old Rod Brind'Amour looks the best he has in years, playing more than 24 minutes a night...

Of course, the real story has been in goal — the very place Carolina's critics said would hold them back. My guess is they hadn't seen Cam Ward tend goal for Red Deer from 2001-04.
More from James over here.

Stormbringer thought it was fitting the 'Canes won the Cup in the same season they retired the jersey of Carolina's face of the franchise:

I cannot AND probably will NEVER get over how the Canes did this on the very season that my Ronnie Francis, the player AND his traditional number, retired. When they showed the very man beholding the game with ten minutes remaining, I didn't want to say anything until it was official, but I KNEW the Canes were going to do it.
And speaking of Ron Francis, he was happy to be a part of the experience:

I was extremely disappointed when we didn't win in 2002 for 2 reasons. One, I really wanted the Cup to come to Raleigh and its great fans. And, two, I never got to tailgate with any of you outside the rink. Well, I am happy to say that after tonight, I got to spend some time in the parking lot with y'all and also watch the Cup come to Raleigh. What a great night! Great for the Hurricane organization. Great for city of Raleigh. Great for all the players and staff to be able to accomplish a dream. Great for all of you to experience what I think is the greatest trophy presentation in professional sports.
The greatest trophy presentation and the hardest to win. Consider that it took veterans Rod Brind'amour, Doug Weight, Ray Whitney, Bret Hedican and Glen Wesley a combined 78 seasons to win the Cup for the first time in their careers.

Cason Blog recalls an encounter with the well-respected 'Canes veteran, Glen Wesley, two years ago:

I sensed that Glen felt that he let us (not me or my wife-Hurricane fans in general) down that night-that season. That told me a lot about Glen Wesley as a professional athlete and as a man.

Well, hang your head no more Wes. Your name is forever engraved on Lord Stanley's cup. I only hope that more men like you hoist the Cup as Carolina Hurricanes. I look forward to watching a banner bearing the number 2 join the ring of honor next fall.
And finally, if you want to relive the final seconds of the game, red and black hockey was at the game and has some footage. For a video clip of the presentation of the Stanley Cup, click here (video opens in new window).

From the Oilers side, let me start with a rather poignant post from Loxy, the Vancouver-based, Edmonton fan:
Truth is, I said that I believed in the Oilers, but I never thought they'd get this far. And I'm so proud of a team that no one in the mainstream media believed in. They have been the consummate professionals and an inspiration to me. It's hard to think we got this far just to lose but that's not it at all. Who thought we'd get this far? If you did, you're a liar. But I love you nonetheless.
Chris from Covered In Oil is hurt, but has much of the same sentiments:

Today, it hurts, but it should be a day to look back at all the ridiculous joy we've felt over the past two months and remember why we cared so much in the first place. Today is a day to revel in our near-ludicrous string of firsts and absurd accomplishments, to scoff in amazement at the emotional rollercoaster we've just endured, to marvel at the distance of our fall. How high, Edmonton. How high we here.

Thanks, Oilers, for the unbelievable season. Hopefully the next has a happier ending.
Lowetide couldn't bear to watch the end of the game, but offers a Van Morrison quote:

When all the dark clouds roll away
And the sun begins to shineI see my freedom from across the way
And it comes right in on time
Well it shines so bright and it gives so much light
And it comes from the sky above
Makes me feel so free makes me feel like me
And lights my life with love
And it seems like and it feels like
And it seems like yes it feels like
A brand new day
And last, but not the least, over at The Battle of Alberta, Matt, being a Calgary Flames fan, is a bit relieved, but also sympathizes with the Oil fans. After all, the Tampa Bay experience was only a couple of years ago.

It was pretty fun listening to Calgary radio this morning. Mood watch: roughly 50% elation, 50% relief. I'm positive that if it had been Oilers in '04 and Flames in '06, all this would have been exactly reversed, but I found it simply amazing how many hosts/callers/etc. felt exactly the same way I did. That is: I don't begrudge the playoff success the Oil had at all. It's just so much bloody fun to go through, I don't see how any essentially nice person who is a Flames fan could. BUT--the Cup would have been too much to take.

Now that it's over, and the result was what it was, there's a strange common bond between Oilers and Flames fans. You can argue as you like about which team was more legit, but we now have a shared experience. Hell, even most of the details are identical. Next season is going to be interesting: unless one of our teams really falls apart, we've entered a second Golden Age of NHL hockey in Alberta.
And perhaps, more simply, a golden age of NHL hockey.

I'll post more later.

Comments/Questions: Feel free to post in the comments section or email me at gocanucksgo10 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

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posted by J.J. Guerrero, 11:08 AM


At July 20, 2006 9:35 AM, Blogger $@/\/\ said...

Whats the difference between the Candy 'Canes and a bra????



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