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storm-rider

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  1. Vanek's situation is totally unique and even the agents know this. Edmonton was desperate and looked bad for letting Nylander slip away and the Sabres absolutely were forced into matching an absurdly over-valued contract. With his injury history and style of play that leads to nagging injuries there is no way a GM will pay $6-7 million/year for Cole, even on the open market. Cole is a tradeable asset for Carolina but the earlier contentions that he is tough to sign is off-base. In the old system, RFA's had almost no real rights and the Canes squeezed Cole every year, signing him to one-year, under-value deals. He was only making around $1 million/year going into the Cup year. He sought a one-year deal to take him to UFA so he could possible test the market and get fairer value. The Canes didn't want him to hit UFA so they finally paid up, and actually overpaid him, on his current 3-year deal. Cole gave up years of free agency in the process. I'm not the biggest Cole fan in the world and at his current level he really is more of $3+ million/year player. He is not old but given the injury problems he is a risk and nobody will throw big money his way nor trade a young top flight player for him. People forget that he got his 3-year deal after his neck injury and was a big show of faith in him by management. It wouldn't surprise me if Cole would let JR know he'd stay for less in exchange for an extension as Brindy did a few years back.
  2. No, they typically rotate coaches and Lavi had a recent stint along with the Olympic heading coaching slot. He wasn't in the mix this time.
  3. True but the constant Mr. Rutherford comments from Maniscalco were ridiculous. Very amateurish, akin to something an intern would do. The guy knows his stuff but JR isn't a head of state for crying out loud.
  4. No, that isn't true. They needed to get younger and faster in the top 6/9 and Eaves had been a coveted player by the Canes. The Sens didn't want to give him up but when Ottawa decided they wanted both Commodore and Stillman, they had to include Eaves - hardly a throw-in.
  5. The system is what is it is and helped the Canes in 2002. But I think the point was about equity and didn't imply the Caps shouldn't have made. You made an incredible run and earned it. If it were me and I'd focus on that and not being ungracious to other fan bases who felt the disappointment.
  6. Bad example with Brodeur, who started every game since early Jan., about 40 or so in a row. Ward put up some of his best numbers ever so he's capable of doing so and the Canes had a very favorable schedule during that stretch - many home games and several long idle periods. With their heavy early schedule starting Ward for 20 games wasn't an issue. Had they won vs. Florida this wouldn't even be a topic. Looking at Ward's key numbers over the last 3 seasons, he is progressing in that his GAA and Save % have all improved each year. He is young and prone to inconsistency but he is on the right track and a set of 20 consecutive key starts isn't an issue. He will need a break at times during the season-long grind but he gets himself ready for important games as the Stanley Cup winning postseason showed.
  7. The comment about physicality misses the point. Those guys saw very few minutes and at home would have been matched against the other team's 4th line. Where you need a physical presence is against the other team's top players to take away their will not by pounding fringe players. What was lacking in the physical game was the responsibility of the front-line guys like Cole, Ruutu, Walker and Gleason. Putting returning players on the 4th line to ease them back and contribute primarily on the PP was a sound move and not the reason the Canes came up short. A decision like that though was more a committee decision, hardly unusual, and certainly had nothing to be what Whitney or anyone else made in salary. Your payroll is the same regardless of who is scratched.
  8. That's a selectively used argument. Nobody had a problem with the current system when it helped the Canes qualify for the playoffs in 2002 and make it to the SC finals. That year if you used regulations wins the Canes would have been around 10th and even the Caps, who finished second in the SE, had more wins. Everyone played by the same points rules and it's not really worth arguing unless you've always been against it.
  9. That's a bit simplistic. While nobody wants to make excuses by pointing to injuries you can't ignore the key guys out and the number of man-games missed. They did the best they could but it is a major stretch to think of any of the guys called up as anything more than fringe NHL players. Hardly talent and depth. Every coach has room to be criticized but I don't see how given everything that happened you could call into question "inability to utilize this talent and win games."
  10. Ward had the best stretch of regular season play in his entire career during that time. He had something like 14 wins and overtime loss and though he saved one of his worst ones at the worst possible time, it worked pretty well. It's the hand you're dealt, he played it well. Williams back injury had nothing to do with the knee and there was no style switch, other than trying to ease returning guys back in with "easy" 4th line minutes where he could control to line match-ups at home. As much as they did, the Canes were hanging on with the Rats in the line-up and it was depleted compared to the opposition. You can fault Lavi for being too loyal and expecting too much from returning guys but almost every coach would do that so I'm not sure it's unique to him.
  11. As professionals with nothing to play for but pride and being a spoiler, they aren't going being thinking about option 2. Their fans may be but the players aren't going to consider a loss as any type of win. The other twist is that the Panthers might like to be able to say "well the Canes only got in thanks to us after we beat them when they had everything on the line." I'll go with that line of reasoning.
  12. When you look at the vast majority of the injuries though, very few have had to do with headhunting hits from other players b/c they felt the Canes didn't have a deterrent. The Orr-Cullen hit was a prime example though and personnel changes resulted. What really bad decisions are you referring to, the absence of Conboy and Brookbank?
  13. I'd trust one who has won both a Calder and Stanley Cup championship, but that's just me. At the risk of repetition, there was never a prohibition on fighting but rather restrictions on unnecessary fighting. Every coach is criticized for making bad decisions so I'm not sure what the point is on that? Literally every fan was chomping at the bit to get Williams, Cullen and Whitney back and when the Canes lost, the 20/20 hindsight amped up. Your front-line players have to be physical in playoff style games not the Conboys and Brookbanks who get limited shifts and play out of position as forwards.
  14. Young goaltenders struggle and breakaways have clearly been his Achilles Heel. However, to pin it all on him is just silly. You can fill in the blanks with limitless one more somethings, and the Canes would be in the playoffs. But look at it this way, no Ward means no Cup in 2006. He'll be fine.
  15. Current disappointment aside, you have to sometimes to look big picture. Over ten years ago, nobody would have even considered an NHL team here. The naysayers, wannabes, and haters will say the Cup was a fluke but who cares? Those of us who supported the team before during and after know better. There will be hockey in Raleigh again next year - that's the big positive. Heartbreak comes with the territory of being a fan, entitlement doesn't. It's silly to start the blame game that some just love to play b/c they feel the playoffs were their birthright and their fun journey derailed. In the end they couldn't get it done but unlike last year the positive reaction to repeated adversity is what I'll remember. There's always next year.
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