God I love this game.
How much can one person love a team?
I had no idea how much I missed hockey (and, specifically, the Hurricanes) until last night at about 6:45 PM when they started the pregame festivities. I saw the Hurricanes’ new TV ad (“We are the Caniac Nation”), and broke down crying because goddamn I missed the ‘Canes so much. It just….words can’t even begin to describe how I felt. It was amazing, and the electricity in the building was so intense. Everybody was so ready for hockey, I was so ready for hockey, and everyone left smiling (even if the ‘Canes did slack off in the second and third periods—shame on them for doing that after a fuckin’ great first period).
Highlights of the night included:
Mario being put on his ass by Aaron Ward.
Mario looking quite spry at age 40.
Josef Melichar’s nice assist on Eric Staal’s goal.
Cory Stillman hopping out of the box and scoring a very nice goal on Sebastien Caron.
Mario getting stoned not once, not twice, but three times by Cam Ward.
The Hyped One getting stoned repeatedly by Cam Ward (especially in the shootout).
Jesse Boulerice’s fight in the second period, which reminded me of a fight between ex-Whalercane Stu Grimson and then-Ranger Darren Langdon during the last year at the Mall in Hartford—where Stu pulled Langer’s jersey up over his head, held the neck hole shut, and gave him a few punches before the refs stepped in. Very entertaining tilt—and yes, I do like a good scrap every now and then.
Random comments on the game:
Matt Cullen needs to get a new shootout move. The little shoulder-dip fake is pretty easy to read, and every goalie in the league is going to be wise to it by next week if they’re not already.
Cory Stillman played a good game last night.
Andrew Hutchinson needs more ice time—I think he’ll get it once he gets over the rookie jitters. The boy needs to settle down a bit, and he’ll be fine.
I hate shootouts. I feel I can say that without being labeled a sore loser, since my team won their first shootout of the season last night. So I say again:
I. HATE. SHOOTOUTS.
They’re bush league. They’re nothing more than a talent competition that automatically puts “lesser” teams at a disadvantage to teams that are front-loaded with sniperage, and that makes them out of place in a league that’s supposed to be all about the parity.
I HATE THEM I HATE THEM I HATE THEM.
And then we have the Ward/Gerber debate. After ONE GAME, half the Caniac Nation (est. 1997) wants to kick Martin Gerber to the curb and anoint Cam Ward “our franchise goalie”.
I’m sorry, what? Am I the only one with any perspective on this? Gerber’s not being given a fair shake, IMO, and I don’t like it. And the arguments people are using against him are some of the stupidest loads of crap that I’ve ever seen (these are actual quotes):
“Gerber was only a backup, that should tell you all you need to know about him.”
“Gerber sucked in preseason, he sucks now, we need to get rid of him.”
“Cam Ward needs to be the number one. He’s our franchise goaltender, not Gerber.”
“I just dont see any heart in Gerber” (I told you, it’s an exact quote)
Excuse me? Perhaps you’ve heard of a guy by the name of Tomas Vokoun? He was “only a backup” at the time that Mike “The Dude” Dunham was traded to the NY Rangers—and look at him now. Being a backup does not automatically mean that a goalie is no good. Dominik Hasek backed up Billionaire Eddie Belfour in Chicago—does that mean he’s no good? One bad preseason outing and one bad regular-season game is enough to tell you that a goalie is no good and has no heart? What? I wish people would frickin’ think before opening their yaps.