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(RALEIGH, N.C., MARCH 21, 2007) - When to retire from the NHL can be a delicate balance between mind, body and soul.

For Glen Wesley, the time to hang up the skates appeared right last June when the veteran defenseman realized a life-long dream of winning the Stanley Cup.

Seeing the look on Wesley's face was priceless as he finally was able to raise the prized trophy over his head after 18 NHL seasons and more than 1,300 games.

Soon after winning the Cup, Wesley headed to the North Carolina beach with his wife Barb and their three kids for some much needed R&R and time to reflect on a stellar professional career that had spanned three different decades.

But before Wesley left town, general manager Jim Rutherford asked if the defenseman would be interested in returning for a 19th season - and an opportunity to chase another championship.

"I couldn't answer him at the time because I didn't know how my body was going to heal up or how I would be mentally going through what we went through," said Wesley. "I told him I needed some time and I went away to the beach."

"Over those two weeks I really just talked to my family about coming back. I didn't just want to come back to come back. I wanted to come back for the right reasons. That's why I did it."

Anyone who has watched the Carolina Hurricanes for any period of time this season realizes Wesley isn't just a 38-year-old veteran hanging on to collect a paycheck. He's had one of his best seasons, is in the mix for team MVP and is one of the league's biggest steals at $1.2 million.

Only Mike Commodore has played in more games on an injury-riddled defensive corps than Wesley's 65, and he is second on the team to captain Rod Brind'Amour in the plus-minus rating category.

Wesley also scored a big overtime goal on Feb. 22 in a 3-2 win over Philadelphia - his first in 82 games and first game-winner since the 1998-99 season.

But Wesley's job over his last decade hasn't been offensive production. It has been stopping some of the best snipers in the league and as a mainstay on the penalty-killing unit. Wesley is a huge reason the Canes have inched their way to sixth in the league on the penalty kill.

"You feed off of those opportunities, whether it late in a game on a kill and you are up a goal or are tied," said Wesley, who is 10th all-time in games played by an NHL defenseman. "You take pride in those types of things. You always want to be out there and challenging yourself and being accountable to your teammates."

Coach Peter Laviolette started the season using Wesley for fewer minutes than he's accustomed to, but Wesley's ice-time has increased as the playoff chase has intensified.

"He's been so solid for us defensively," said Laviolette. "I don't think we would be where we are if it wasn't for some of the mainstays back there on defense like Glen. We've been dealt a lot of injuries and Wes has given us a lot of experience. The fact that anybody can make it that long in a career is amazing."

As a kid growing up, Commodore watched Wesley when he played for Boston and feels honored to be paired with him on the penalty kill, and more recently 5-on-5 with Bret Hedican sidelined with an injury.

"He's changed his game as he has gotten older and since the game has changed, and it's really a testament to him as an athlete," Commodore said. "I couldn't even imagine playing at his age and the level he's playing at. It's a treat for me to get to play with him."

Wesley is on pace to log more than 70 games again -- a stat he's reached in 14 of his 19 seasons.

"For me, it's about consistency," he said. "I've tried to be as consistent night-in and night-out as possible. Sometimes that doesn't always show on the scoreboard, but you try to contribute as many ways as possible, if it's shutting down a line or a big penalty kill and that's what my responsibility has been."

Wesley said he ultimately decided to return to the Canes for another season because he still enjoys the game and loves to compete. And for a chance to repeat as Cup champions.

"Once you get a taste of winning the Cup you want to come back and do it again," he said. "My resume was obviously missing a Stanley Cup, and to be able to top it off again would be to win it again. That's what we strive for as a player, to be able to do it again. It's the most incredible feeling you'll ever have in your playing career."

"There wasn't a doubt in my mind that I could come back and do it," added Wesley about his top-notch season. "The biggest thing is how to take care of yourself and realize when you have to push yourself and when you have to back off at this stage of your career."

Despite this year's individual success for Wesley, he said it would be premature to assume he'll return for a 20th season - a milestone few athletes in any sport attain.

"It's got to be in your mind," Wesley said. "I would say 80 percent of this game is mental. That's the biggest battle when you get into your mid-30s, is just the battle you have to prepare yourself for, that mental preparation that you put into the game. You have to contemplate that in the summer if you still want to do that."

If Wesley does retire after the season, he'll be close by. Although he's from western Canada, Wes has played his entire career on the East Coast and plans too settle down in Raleigh.

"The biggest thing we enjoy here are the people in the community," Wesley said. "And you have the ocean, the mountains, and the weather is fantastic. You still get the four seasons, but you get some great weather. It's March and it can be close to 80 degrees. You really can't beat it."

On Wesley's retirement.

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Cole leads team in hits with 202.

Per DeCock's blog:

There are three Hurricanes in the top 25 in hits in the NHL: Erik Cole (eighth, 202), Mike Commodore (10th, 193) and Craig Adams (23rd, 158).

The boys over at hockeyanalysis.com would argue that has more to do with who's counting than who's hitting.

According to their analysis, through Dec. 16, the Canes averaged 28.8 hits per game at home and 14.8 per game on the road. And as any Canes fan can tell you, it isn't like the Canes have dominated at home this season — on the contrary, they've arguably been a better road team.

When the hit statistics are normalized for home-road bias, turns out Cole might be benefitting from some home cooking. Commodre ranks 31st and Cole 37th in those stats. Food for thought, anyway.

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This is what I like to hear:

You get the sense being around the guys these two days at the RecZone that this is a team ready for the challenge of the next nine games. The Canes are not all the way healthy, but they are as healthy as they have been all year. There is an air of confidence around the team that I haven't seen in some time, that swagger that last year's team consistently displayed but has proved more elusive this season.

From Sudheim's blog, rest of it here:


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Can I just say I love Gleason. I am so happy he is a Cane. Can't wait to see him wear the sightless eye for years to come:

Gleason keeps temper in check

Tim Gleason took a knee-to-knee hit from Washington's Matt Bradley late in the second period. He skated away quietly.

Twice in the third period, Chris Clark tore off Gleason's helmet as they battled along the boards. The second time, they both received roughing minors as Gleason jawed at Clark on his way to the penalty box.

In either case, no one would have faulted Gleason if he pursued the aggressor to seek retaliation. But with the Hurricanes in a five-way chase for two playoff spots and in a one-goal game with the Capitals on Thursday, Gleason held back.

In the end, the Canes allowed the Capitals only one power play in a 4-3 win. Gleason may have run his mouth, but he didn't run anyone, avoiding any penalties.

“I don’t know if I was holding my tongue, but I was holding my physicalness or stupidness, I guess, back a little bit,†Gleason said. “Personally I wanted to rip his head off, I can say that. If you’re going to do that, let’s go — don’t talk to me. I’m not a tough guy, but I have no problem with going with someone who wants to do that all game long. But we got the win, so I could care less.â€

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Close shave for Ward

Following in the footsteps of Chuck Kaiton and Tripp Tracy, Cam Ward will go under the razor for the St. Baldrick's Foundation tonight at the Hibernian Pub & Restaurant on Kildaire Farm Road in Cary.

You'd think after missing three games when he was cut above the knee by a skate blade that Ward would have had enough of sharp edges lately.


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Confident Ladd Showing his promise:

"The more ice time you get, the more confident you get with the puck, and the more you're handling the puck, the more plays you become comfortable making," he said. "I feel a lot more confident out there now handling the puck and trying to beat guys, getting to the net and trying to overpower guys."

Full story:


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Canes' baby boom conceived in victory

Sarah Lindenfeld Hall, Staff Writer

Christy Karmanos, wife of the Carolina Hurricanes' vice president and assistant general manager, shared her news with other team wives gathered for the season's first get-together:

"I'm pregnant," she said.

Karmanos wasn't the only one with a burgeoning tummy. Nine months after the Hurricanes took home the Stanley Cup in June, the team has a bit of a baby boom.

Four other Hurricanes couples are expecting babies in the next four months. All but one, Katie Tanabe, and husband, defenseman David Tanabe, were part of the team last season. Tanabe is due in May.

Karmanos told her fellow Canes wives in September during a get-to-know-you party game. When she delivered her news, eyes widened. Mouths gaped.

"Then they were looking at me and looking at my stomach and they said, 'You are!' " remembered Karmanos, the mother of two girls. She and husband, Jason Karmanos, are expecting their third in April.

The other expecting couples:

Jennifer Daniels and husband, assistant coach Jeff, are due in June.

Anne Adams and husband, right wing Craig, expect a baby July 24. And so do Stacey and former Cane Kevyn Adams, who was traded to the Phoenix Coyotes in January.

Anne Adams, the only one expecting her first child, said she has heard the inevitable jokes about how much fun they must have had celebrating the Cup win.

"Everyone's like, 'Is there something in the water?' " she said. "Everyone was partying this summer. ... It just seemed like good timing. Craig signed a new contract. We had the greatest summer of our lives. Maybe it's now time to start trying."

Sharing it with a group of women she's already close friends with makes her experience as a first-time mom even better, Adams said. "We just have great people here."

The five were feted this week at a shower and fundraiser at the new Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary. The party was the idea of Angela Sikes Krause, owner of the children's boutique Dilly Dally in North Raleigh, and Robyn Mangrum, publisher and owner of Mangrum Publishing, which produces Premier Baby & Child and Weddings Magazine.

Almost everything was donated for the shower, which doubled as a fundraiser for children's charities.

Dilly Dally donated $1,000, part of which came from a percentage of the gifts purchased at the store for the shower, to Kids 'N Community Foundation. The team foundation helps educational and children's organizations.

The store also will give $1,000 in merchandise toward the remaking of a Durham boy's room for April's Angels, a local nonprofit group that creates fantasy bedrooms for chronically ill children. Hurricanes wives will provide the manual labor for redesigning the room of 4-year-old Brandon Noble, who has autism and an unrelated brain tumor.

Premier Baby & Child will cover the shower and new room in its magazine set for release in July.

Tuesday's party was just another gathering for the wives.

They keep in touch with monthly newsletters and more regular e-mail messages, phone calls and get-togethers. This month, a group rented a bus to travel to a Justin Timberlake concert. An Easter egg hunt is planned for their 30 or so kids, most under age 6. A rookie Hurricane, as usual, will be made to dress up as the Easter Bunny.

The women say they're linked by common experiences. They understand the highs, lows and uncertainties of professional sports.

They call themselves the "red hot mamas," after a nail polish they started wearing during the playoffs last year, said Jennifer Daniels.

Stacey Adams wasn't sure she would be included in the shower because her husband no longer plays for the team. When she heard she'd still be part of it, she cried.

"I'm really going to miss you next year," she told the group after opening presents.

"You're always going to be a red hot mama," Daniels told her.

I say Chad LaRose gets to be the Easter Bunny....LMFAO

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Article on the Blog here is what Rod had to say:

"I haven't slept yet. Hopefully I'll sleep tonight," Brind'Amour said. "You stew at night. That's the problem. You get home at night, and you know what's going on.

"We're letting down a lot of people. I think that's the problem. That's the pressure that's involved. It's not just your teammates, the fans, the management. There's a lot riding here, [and] you just don't want to let these people down, and that's what we're doing. That's the hard part, and it's not like we're not good enough.

"In years past, maybe we were shorthanded or not that talented. This is not that case. We're very capable of competing again, and that's frustrating, even more so."

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"We've got to get five or six guys to dive every time you touch them," Panthers captain Olli Jokinen said in reference to Carolina's Eric Staal hitting the ice on Allen's penalty.

"He embellished it as much as he could," said Allen. "It's embarrassing the way they play the game. They're looking for the easy way out, taking dives and looking for the cheesy call."

:roll: Yeah, this is the new NHL. Learn it or leave it.

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Article by DeCock on the Bolts game and our elimination...while it's not suprising he's down on the team, I didn't particularly care for his choice of words. You don't imply that they didn't even try just because things are down.

It's all over now for Hurricanes

The 2006 Stanley Cup champions won't get a chance to defend their crown, becoming the third team to miss the playoffs the year after winning the title

Luke DeCock, Staff Writer

TAMPA, FLA. - As time expired on the Carolina Hurricanes' season Tuesday, Ray Whitney stood with his hands resting on his knees, head down, staring at the ice. Less than nine months ago, Rod Brind'Amour was in an almost identical position as he realized the enormity of Justin Williams' empty-net goal in Game 7, assuring the Hurricanes of the Stanley Cup.

Their posture was identical, the circumstances almost too different to comprehend.

There will be no title defense. Tuesday's 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning made sure of it, the Hurricanes blowing a two-goal lead to put themselves on the brink of playoff elimination. Fifteen minutes after they left the ice, their embarrassment was assured when the Montreal Canadiens completed a 2-0 victory over the Boston Bruins.

"It's a weird feeling, a tough feeling that our year is over," Hurricanes defenseman Mike Commodore said.

"It's just really disappointing, I guess, to sum it up. It's tough to find the words right now. We had a great season last year. I guess it was the best year last year, and we kind of followed it up by the most disappointing."

A year after becoming the first champions of the post-lockout era, the Canes became the third Cup winners to miss the playoffs the next season, joining the 1970 Montreal Canadiens and 1995 New Jersey Devils. For the first time since the NHL took control of the Cup in 1927, neither finalist will return to the postseason, the Edmonton Oilers having long ago been eliminated.

In a span of eight days, the Hurricanes went from champs to chokers, losing four of five games at a time when they may have needed to win out to make the playoffs. When the puck was dropped Tuesday, the Canes still had a slim chance of catching even the Lightning. By the time the game was over, there was no hope at all, even with two games left in the season.

"It's the biggest loss of the year that we've had," forward Cory Stillman said. "Tonight was a chance to give us an opportunity to stay in the playoffs, and we let one slip away."

They let so many slip away. Injuries, inconsistent effort, a balky power play and erratic goaltending all played a part in the Hurricanes' season of shame. In the end, the Hurricanes never displayed the same pure desire and will to win that made them so dangerous last season -- a failure particularly evident Tuesday.

Up 2-0 in the second period, the Canes were outshot 12-0 over the next 22 minutes of action as the Lightning pulled within a goal going into the second intermission and needed only three minutes and change to take the lead in the third.

While the Canes were busy frittering away their lead, Saku Koivu scored both of Montreal's goals Tuesday to exact some measure of revenge for the inadvertent Justin Williams high stick that knocked him out of the Canadiens' first-round series with the Hurricanes and played no small role in their eventual defeat.

"Everyone on our team feels sick and embarrassed," Hurricanes forward Eric Staal said. "Every player wants to be in the playoffs. It's not like we didn't want to. It just didn't happen for us this year."

With the Canes up 1-0 on Tuesday, a funny bounce off the end boards during a Carolina power play left the puck sitting at the post, where only Brind'Amour spotted it and tapped it a few inches into the net to put the Canes up two with one of the easiest goals of the 407 in his career.

It was easier, perhaps, than the winner in Game 1 of last year's Stanley Cup finals, when he stole the puck from Oilers backup goalie Ty Conklin and tucked it into the empty net.

Those moments of glory have never seemed so distant as they do now. Someone else will hoist the Stanley Cup this season. That much is assured.

The saddest part is that the Canes, eliminated with two games left in the regular season, barely put up a fight.

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Barely put up a fight, I'm sorry DeCock but please give me some of what your smoking. Yeah the team throughout the year may not have played as well as they could. But I for one do not believe for a second that they didn't go down fighting. Sunday come from behind victory to tie the game and then eventually win it in OT. Can't do that without fighting. Last night they boys fought to the very end. If they didn't put up a fight, then Tampa would have scored an empty netter.

Can we please get a new writer for the Canes next year. This guy has been driving me crazy all season with his negativity. He is no better than any other of the media people. You know the people who don't write crap about the canes unless its negative.

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