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Ohio Steeler
06-19-2006, 01:16 PM
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes staggered home Sunday, trying to figure out how it has gone so wrong, so quickly.

A few of them stopped by the locker room, where they could have been sipping champagne from the Stanley Cup a few days ago. Now, their equipment was being sorted out for one more game, one more chance to avoid a mammoth collapse.

"I think we're all embarrassed by the way we played," defenseman Glen Wesley said.

One timely goal away from capturing the cup in Game 5, the Hurricanes find themselves very much on the defensive heading to Game 7 against the resurgent Edmonton Oilers, who suddenly seem much fresher, a step or two quicker and a lot more determined.

"I know we've been the underdog in most people's minds," Oilers center Shawn Horcoff said. "But we really believe we can get this thing done."

Only one team has squandered a 3-1 lead in the finals. Sixty-four years ago, Detroit actually won the first three games against Toronto, only to lose the next four.

The 1942 Red Wings also are one of three teams that jumped out to a 2-0 lead and didn't win the cup.

The Hurricanes put themselves in position to join those infamous teams with a 4-3 overtime loss at home -- on a short-handed goal, no less -- and a dismal 4-0 defeat at Edmonton in Game 6 on Saturday night.

Now, it's on to the winner-take-all finale. Game 7 is Monday night in Raleigh.

The Hurricanes have history on their side, if not as much bounce in their skates. When the finals go to Game 7, the home team is 11-2. The 1971 Montreal Canadiens were the last road team to capture the cup in a decisive game.

Just as the Oilers fed off the enthusiasm of their fans Saturday night in Alberta, Carolina is counting on its crowd to be a major factor on Tobacco Road.

"They've been a huge boost to us all year," said rookie goalie Cam Ward, one of the few Hurricanes who's played well throughout the series. "We've got to use that to our advantage."

Edmonton looked right on the mark when it claimed to be wearing down a Carolina lineup filled with key 30-something players such as Wesley (37), Rod Brind'Amour (35), Bret Hedican (35) and Ray Whitney (34).

Led by feisty, hit-anything-in-red Raffi Torres, the younger Oilers are much like a boxer who just wants to get an aging fighter into the later rounds, then finish him off.

"We feel like we've got them to the point where we can push them over the edge," Edmonton left wing Ethan Moreau said.

Carolina coach Peter Laviolette even seemed to concede as much, at least for one night. He wondered why his team appeared so slow and out of sync in Game 6.

"We were pretty lousy in all aspects," he said. "We didn't have energy in our legs, in our skating, all the things that have been trademark for us all season long."

Maybe they're just saving up for that final game.

"We're not running out of gas. We didn't waste any," Whitney said in a sarcastic dig at his own team's Game 6 effort. "We should have plenty of energy for Monday night."

If not for several big saves by Ward -- including an extraordinary glove stop on Radek Dvorek at the end of a three-on-one -- the Hurricanes would have been beaten much, much worse. In the second period, they didn't force Oilers goalie Jussi Markkanen to block the puck for more than 14 minutes. Edmonton had 21 of the first 24 shots and finished with a commanding 34-16 edge.

Borrowing a page from the Hurricanes' defensive playbook earlier in the series, Markkanen's teammates actually blocked more shots (20) than he did in helping the former third-string goalie to his first playoff shutout.

In fact, this series seems to have flipped around totally. Edmonton, which converted only one of 25 power plays in the first two games, scored three of its four goals Saturday with the man advantage.

Carolina, which had been doing such a good job killing penalties and capitalizing on them, went 0-for-6 on the power play in Game 6.

"We know the power play is going to play a tremendous role in the next game," Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said. "Whoever wins the special teams is going to have a huge advantage."

The Hurricanes pulled a major surprise in the last game, putting 30-goal scorer Erik Cole back in the lineup when it was thought he was done for the season after breaking a vertebra in his neck in early March.

When center Doug Weight went out with an injured right shoulder in Game 5, Cole asked if he could fill the spot. Carolina hurriedly arranged for him to have a CT scan in Denver on Friday, then flew in the Duke University doctor who was overseeing the player's recovery to discuss the results face-to-face before Saturday's game.

Cole conceded that he's at greater risk for a more serious injury, but he's willing to take that chance -- especially with the Stanley Cup on the line.

"This is my life," he said. "I've always wanted to be a hockey player."

Cole played 18? minutes, took Weight's place on the power play, got a couple of shots on goal, doled out three hits and survived a big blow from Moreau on the very first shift. But it wasn't nearly enough to spark the listless Hurricanes.

"We're a resilient team," Wesley said. "We've been in these situations before. We've had our backs against the wall. I see no reason we won't come up with our best performance."

http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/playoffs2006/news/story?id=2489935

83-Steelers-43
06-19-2006, 01:35 PM
I give the Oilers credit, they are taking over this series. Once Rolo went down I thought for sure (along with the majority of NHL fans) that the Oilers were done. While I don't like MacTavish (killed a person while driving drunk), I give him credit for rallying that team. Carolina better get their act together.

83-Steelers-43
06-19-2006, 08:26 PM
Wow.......Canes come out and score not even two minutes into the game.

SteelCityMan786
06-19-2006, 08:57 PM
alright how about the CANES!!!!! LET'S GO CANES!

83-Steelers-43
06-19-2006, 09:27 PM
2-0 Carolina in the second.

83-Steelers-43
06-19-2006, 10:19 PM
2-1 in the third. Edmonton comes out in the third and scores quick. Excellent hockey.

83-Steelers-43
06-19-2006, 10:51 PM
And the Carolina Hurricanes are your Stanley Cup Champions.

BlackNGold203
06-19-2006, 11:11 PM
congrats Canes....(although I was rooting for the Oilers)...LOL

Petesburgh66
06-20-2006, 12:05 AM
The MVP should go to Ladd for running over Rollie. This changed the series from the get go.

I am sick of this recent trend of watching false hockey markets winning the cup. The Stanley Cup was an after thought in Tampa Bay and the same will happen in Carolina.

83-Steelers-43
06-20-2006, 01:28 AM
While I would rather have seen a different American-based team win the cup, Carolina will do. I would rather see an American-based team than a Canadian. Also, I like Peter Laviolette (American Born).

Hopefully hockey picks up down there.

Congratulations to the Carolina Hurricanes on a well earned Stanley Cup Championship.

Ohio Steeler
06-20-2006, 05:00 AM
And the Carolina Hurricanes are your Stanley Cup Champions.


Damn ,Damn, Damn, thats all I can say about that

83-Steelers-43
06-24-2006, 04:30 AM
In other NHL news.......

NHL Notebook: Florida lands Bertuzzi in trade for Luongo
Saturday, June 24, 2006

From local and wire dispatches


Florida and Vancouver struck the first major deal of the NHL's draft weekend, as the Canucks sent winger Todd Bertuzzi, defenseman Bryan Allen and goalie Alexander Auld to the Panthers for goalie Roberto Luongo, defenseman Lukas Krajicek and a sixth-round draft choice.

Luongo, a restricted free agent, failed in his effort to work out a long-term contract with Florida.

He had a 2.97 goals-against average and .914 save percentage in 2005-06.

Bertuzzi scored 25 goals and collected 46 assists in 82 games this past season.

In a statement posted on the Panthers' Web site, Florida general manager Mike Keenan said, "We've added an experienced and talented forward, a skilled goaltender and a strong defenceman that we expect to help our team immediately."

83-Steelers-43
06-24-2006, 04:34 AM
Also good article on American players in this upcoming draft.........

An American accent for the NHL draft
By The Associated Press
Saturday, June 24, 2006


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Erik Johnson was 4 years old when he found an old hockey stick in his parents' garage and an empty baby carriage to shoot at.
Fourteen years later, the big defenseman from Bloomington, Minn., is widely expected to be the first pick when the St. Louis Blues open the NHL entry draft Saturday at GM Place.

"That's how it all started: I just started shooting in that cradle and that's how it developed," Johnson said Friday. "It was my sister's baby cradle. I was always pretty jealous of her."

A lot of promising players might be jealous of Johnson on Saturday. He could become just the fifth U.S.-born player drafted first overall, joining Brian Lawton (1983), Mike Modano (1988), Bryan Berard (1995) and Rick Dipietro (2000).





But Johnson is hardly the only American expected to go early. Twelve U.S. players are ranked as potential first-round picks - the record is eight last year. Two players this time - Phil Kessel and Peter Mueller - most likely will be among the top six.

"It's a testament to see how far American hockey has come the past couple of years to be one of the elite hockey nations," Johnson said. "This will be a good year for Americans and there will be a lot more in the future."

Kessel, the top-ranked prospect until this season, could go second (Pittsburgh) or third (Chicago), marking just the third time since 1983 two U.S. players were chosen in the top three. It also happened last year, when Anaheim selected Bobby Ryan second and Carolina followed with Jack Johnson.

"You can tell U.S. hockey is improving and is going to be a great organization for years to come now," said Kessel.

Kessel, who is from Wisconsin, spent last year at the University of Minnesota. Mueller played junior hockey in the Canadian Hockey League. Along with Johnson, they share a link to the National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Mueller never played with Johnson in the development program, but knows him well from their years in Minnesota youth hockey and summer leagues. He marveled Friday at how far the 6-foot-4, 222-pound Johnson has come since they first played together as 10-year-olds.

"Now you look at him and it s like, `Holy smokes, the kid is like Chris Pronger,'" Mueller said, referring to the Edmonton Oilers defenseman.

The Pronger comparisons don t end with Mueller. A great skater with a rugged body and soft hands, Johnson is known for making both big hits and big plays offensively.

Johnson is to attend the University of Minnesota next season, but could instead be playing in St. Louis, where the Blues are still looking to replace Pronger after trading the all-star to Edmonton following the 2004-05 NHL lockout. After the World Junior Hockey Championships in Vancouver in January, many believe Johnson is ready for the NHL.

"I'm not ruling that option out," Johnson said.

For now, though, he is looking toward 2010 when Vancouver will host the Winter Olympics.

"Everything is kind of working out well in Vancouver," he said. "If everything goes well, hopefully I'll be here in 2010. I think a lot of (NTDP) graduates will step up and make that team. It's a great program, it's had a lot of success and I think it will have a lot more in the future."