Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Hurricanes End Season

Winning their first Stanley Cup in their brief 27 year history, the Carolina Hurricanes became the fourteenth team to win in a seven game Stanley Cup finals. It is the second straight year that the Cup was decided in seven games. In the 2003-04 season,the last one prior to the lockout, Tampa Bay beat Calgary in seven games. Edmonton attempted to become only the second team to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win the Cup. The Toronto Maple Leafs are the first and only team to come back from being down 3-1 and win the Stanley Cup. That was in 1942 when Toronto beat the Detroit Red Wings.

Of course the most famous of all seven games in the finals was the 1950 series. The Rangers lost to the Red Wings in the seventh game 4-3 in double overtime. That was the game that Don 'Bones" Raleigh clanged one off the crossbar in the 2nd OT and watched in disbelief as the Red Wings came down ice and Pete Babando put a stake in the Rangers heart by scoring the game and series winning goal. This was the infamous series that saw the Rangers play all seven games on the road, with two 'home' games in Toronto. Ringling Brothers Circus shut the Rangers out of their home ice. Later on the Rangers would have many circuses to contend with, most of them in Ranger management suits.

This was a real feel good win for a few veterans who have toiled long and hard in the NHL without ever winning the big prize. The Captain, Rod Brind'Amour, thirty six years old and nineteen years in the NHL. Glen Wesley, thirty nine years old, nineteen in the NHL and twelve with the Hurricanes/Whalers. Bret Hedican, thirty six years old, seventeen in the NHL and Doug Weight, a late season acquisition, thirty five years old and sixteen years in the NHL. But it was a rookie goaltender named Cam Ward, twenty two years old, who took the Canes to the promise land and won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs. Where have we heard that one before. And a babe shall lead them.

The series and the entire playoffs were very good and exciting. Too bad very few people saw them on TV. Larry Brooks has an excellent article in Hockey News on the very low ratings on OLN and also on NBC. Read it if you get a chance.

The 2005-06 season overall was quite successful. We now move on to the draft and then the ever exciting free agency which kicks in July 1st. Do we, the Rangers, go after some high priced, high visible targets or do we stay with the rebuilding? Stay tuned, more to come from the Pundit.

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