From Granny to Manny, it seems like the Hurricanes and their fans have figured out how to be happy.
Looking around the hockey blogosphere today, reading up on other NHL franchises who are arriving all-too-quickly at the end of their seasons and, like us, hold only the most remote chance of a playoff berth, one thing struck me. Maybe it's the inspiration that comes with the arrival of springtime in Carolina, but here in the Caniac Nation, somehow we sure like to see the glass half-full. Case in point: take a look at these upbeat stories from local media in the last couple days:
Canes stop Caps on LaRose's goal - NewsObserver.com The Canes haven't had the season they wanted, but they sure have been able to beat the Caps.
Disciplined Sutter Having Unique Season - Tracking the Storm Blog - No one could accuse Brandon Sutter of being a dirty player. Still his squeaky-clean record is very surprising,
Rodney strikes for first NHL goal - NewsObserver.com It took a moment, but reality set in on Carolina defenseman Bryan Rodney after he scored the first goal of his NHL career in the first period of the Hurricanes' 3-2 shootout win over the Washington Capitals at the RBC Center on Thursday.
Even this post from CanesNow this afternoon, which highlights a scary-ugly moment in last night's game vs the Capitals, still seems to carry a bit of humor. Canes Now - Ovechkin hit blindsides Legace Manny Legace said he didn't expect Ovechkin to be suspended or fined for the hit. "I didn't get hurt. If I had gotten knocked out and rolled around, maybe," he said, smiling.
Despite the miniscule chances of our favorite Carolina Hurricanes playing beyond the remaining 8 regular season games, further compounded by the litany of debilitating injuries to key contributors and fan favorites we endured all season (and continued with Tuomo Ruutu's surgery yesterday) it seems you just can't keep a Carolina puckhead down for long. Why are we so happy? Who knew it was this much fun to be a spoiler and plan great things for next year and beyond?
After the jump, links to too many teams uncertain about their immediate future, and are succumbing to doubt, predicting doom and pretty much giving up.
In the East
Starting with tomorrow night's opponent at the RBC, the Atlanta Thrashers' Coach John Anderson reacts here to the teams' overtime loss to the basement-dwelling Maple Leafs last night :
Today, Coach Anderson called the players in for a "closed door meeting" , which got a lot of attention:
Thrashers hold closed-door meeting | Atlanta Thrashers When I asked if the team received his message, Coach John Anderson said "I hope so. I guess we’ll find out tomorrow," referring to Saturday’s game in Carolina.
Thrashers hold 'closed-door meeting' - ProHockeyTalk - NBC Sports Call it lack of talent, bad coaching or just plain inexperience, but it hurt to see Atlanta sleep walk through their biggest game of the season against Boston, then lost in overtime against Toronto.
Or the Philadelphia Flyers: Video: Brian Boucher, What Are You Doing? - SB Nation Brian Boucher let a soft goal beat him in overtime against the Minnesota Wild. So now back-up (x3) Goalie Johan Backlund will start vs the Caps Saturday. But, let's not forget, they still have a 92.8% chance of making the playoffs.
Or even this from the Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins who, despite apparently having a lock on the playoffs, sound like they need someone to talk them down from the ledge. Many stories focus on their weaknesses and woes. Here's just one: Penguins skating on thin ice The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ron Cook, following the SO loss to the Capitals Wednesday night: "I'm going half-empty on you this morning."
and the West,
these comments from George Johnson of the Calgary Herald linked at KuklasKorner capture the mood in the dressing room after the Flames lost to the NY Islanders in Nassau last night. Behold the dire straits:
By their body language. In the tone of their voices. Given the time the dressing room door stayed silently shut, like the lid of a coffin.
Finally, our SBN colleagues spotlighted a few teams (the Stars, Lightning and Isles) who are on the Outside Looking In: A Glance At The Non-Playoff Teams - SB Nation Taking a look at the NHL teams who aren't fortunate enough to have playoff invitations.
A lot of half-empty glasses out there, my friends.
Meanwhile, I managed to find a few teams and players enjoying their success (or a little luck) around the NHL:
Miller going in search of a different kind of silver - NHL.com - Ryan Miller is transitioning from national Olympic hero to a key player in Buffalo's Stanley Cup quest. And James Mirtle tweets: Honestly, if I had to put money on it today, Ryan Miller would win the Hart. A lot of love for him this year.
Stamkos Ties Ovechkin, Crosby In Goal Race; Can He Win? -- NHL FanHouse The Tampa Bay Lightning are going to miss the playoffs for a third consecutive year, but there's been at least one positive development to come with some interesting tables looking at the numbers.
Habs' Moen knows he got lucky after gruesome injury Travis Moen never saw it coming Monday night, the skate of Ottawa's Matt Cullen carving into his face (or just see the image below from Twitpic - click on the link for more detail, if you dare)
Not exactly NHL, but this is great stuff! Straight from victory at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, enjoy this opportunity to learn about Team USA's run to a Gold Medal (for the hockey team that took the ice after all those NHL players went home.)
Last, a couple links that put our familiar cozy world of hockey up on the ubiquitous presence of the small screen:
Preview: Breaking down the NCAA hockey tournament - Puck Daddy Team-by-team analysis and more importantly the TV broadcast schedule (on ESPNU). The Canes prospects Brian Dumoulin, (2nd round pick, 2009, freshman D at Boston College) and Justin Krueger (7th round pick 2006, senior D at Cornell University) are among the 16 teams participating in the NCAA men's hockey playoffs, leading to the Frozen Four in Detroit
next weekend the weekend of April 8th (Semi's) and April 10th (Final).
Don Cherry nervous about upcoming biopic - The Globe and Mail Host of 'Hockey Night in Canada's' 'Coach's Corner' admits he's nervous about the story of his private life being exposed in the upcoming two-part biopic [Hockeymom asks: Will I find this available on the NHL Network this summer?]
And if you're a diehard "Simpsons" fan (or even if you aren't), you'll enjoy this play on the most exciting name to arrive in Raleigh in weeks, Jamie McBain: Carolina's Simpsons-tastic Opportunity - From The Rink A recent Carolina Hurricane call-up shares the name of a famous Simpsons character. Imagine the marketing opportunities.