How does it feel to not make the playoffs? Disappointing, of course. But I attended three games at the RBC Center this year, and the Canes won all three, showing some of the brilliance they displayed during their run to the Stanley Cup, so I have hope for the future. Game 82 was especially gratifying, coming backdown 4-1 in the third period and winning in overtime, with the captain scoing the game-winning goal with 24 seconds left in OT. Indescribably delicious. The Canes fans showed their loyalty too, that night. Never booing, always cheering and third place was especially raucous. It is a wonder the roof did not come off the RBC Center when the winning goal was scored.
As far as the "What Ifs" of the 2006 ECF, the only thing that matters is the names that are enscribed on the cup. Seventy five or so years from now (if my calculations are correct), when the new ring is retired to the HOF, nobody will remember the injuries or anything else, the only thing people will rememeber is the "2005-2006 CAROLINA HURRICANES" and the names inscribed on the THE CUP.
As far as animosity between the Sabres and Canes fans, after attending 2 of the games of the 2006 ECF, the Sabers fans deserve much of the responsibility for this. I pulled into the RBS Center parking and the traffic lane was blocked by Sabers fans in various states of intoxication. These Buffalo fans were pouring beer on Canes' fans cars, blocking traffic lanes, shouting various obsceneties and left the RBC Center parking lot a garbage dump. I say support your team, and support it enthusiastically, but just because you are away from home is no excuse to behave boorishly and uncivilized. It is largely this experience that makes me a ABB (Anybody But Buffalo).