Paul Maurice had a thought provoking interview yesterday with the press before the team left for Boston. He touched a little bit on several subjects, including the past series with Jersey and the future series with Boston. He even reminisced about the old days and compared those times to the present.
The coach was asked about the first round playoff series with Boston 10 years ago, and he mentioned how Marty Gelinas missed a wide open net during a crucial situation with the game on the line. The teams played on until double overtime and Anson Carter ended up winning it for the Bruins. Boston went on to win the series in six games but Maurice still believes to this day that the Canes would have won it if Ron Francis didn't get hurt.
Regardless, Maurice said that the team's expectations were much different back then than they are now. If a team does not "expect to win", they probably will not. There are a lot of Stanley Cup winners in this group now that expect to win and their positive mindsets are contagious.
Chad LaRose confirmed this during an interview on 850 The Buzz Thursday morning. When asked if he started to think, "oh no, looks like we are going to lose" when the clock got down to a couple of minutes left in game seven at New Jersey, he replied that the thought never entered his mind.
"We were chattering on the bench, saying ok boys, all it takes is one. Who is going to get it boys?"
Those are the expectations of winning that the coach was alluding to and that the Hurricanes have right now. Do not underestimate the affect that this type of attitude can have on a team. Many of these players have won it all and it's still fresh in their memories. They know what it takes, they know the mindset that it requires, and they don't care if they are underdogs in this series or not.
Maurice was also asked about the fanbase and how much that had changed over the years.
When we first got down here there was some of "who are these guys?" and we were a little bit of outsiders, and people wondered how does this fit with what else is going on here? And the opposite is true now. This is their team. This is the fans' team. The fact of the matter is, it's going to be here for a long time. Coaches are going to pass through, players are going to pass through, and I think it's stopped being we are the Carolina Hurricanes, to being their team, and we are just passing through......
Hopefully, some of us are going to be around a long time and several players live here now, but it's stopped from being something that we brought down, to being their team now. We're just caretakers.
Speaking of fanbases, once again Caniacs are taking it on the chin as the media circus ramps up for this series. If you listen to some of the pundits, media outlets, and "comedians" from the Northeast, hockey fans are few and far between down here. Everyone loves NASCAR and basketball, and of course there is a plethora of insults and negative perspectives in general about the South being thrown around, even on NHL.com.
Been there and done that, right fans?
We might ask our friends to the North to stick to the topic of hockey, but they don't want to do that. Wonder why? Because even though they are an Original 6 team with a storied past, they really don't have much recent success to talk about.
While the Hurricanes have been to the Stanley Cup Finals twice in the past seven years, and won the Cup just three years ago, the only playoff series that the Bruins have been able to win during the same time frame was the most recent one last week against the Habs. And you wonder why they prefer to talk trash?
The last time the Bruins won the Cup was in 1972. The last time they were in the finals was back in 1990. (They lost to the Oilers). Before beating up on the lowly Habs last week, they hadn't won a playoff series in a decade.
- 2008 Lost to Montreal first round
- 2004 Lost to Montreal first round
- 2003 Lost to New Jersey first round
- 2002 Lost to Montreal first round
In 2002, they had finished at the top of the Eastern Conference, only to get bounced by the number eight seed, Habs. Before this year, the last time they advanced to the second round was in 1999, when they defeated the Canes, (who lost their best player to injury). But they ended up losing to the Sabres in the very next round.
Not very impressive.
The Hurricanes have a bunch of Cup winners and a Conn Smythe winner on their side, while, with the exception of Mark Recchi and Aaron Ward, (who both had their most recent success in Carolina), and Stephane Yelle and Shawn Thornton, the current Bruins have yet to accomplish anything. nada
As well as the Bruins have played this year, and they have been awesome for the most part, they have yet to prove that they can win consistently in the playoffs.
We will see what happens this series.
I will have the game one preview up around lunchtime.