Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 04/11/10 at 02:09 PM ET
On Saturday afternoon, the Hurricanes season ended pretty much the way it started: ugly. In a 4-2 loss to the Bruins, the Hurricanes surrendered THREE shorthanded goals during the same power play. All in a span of 62 seconds, which has set a new NHL record. I once saw Carolina score two shorties in a single power play, and I’ve seen teams score three in a game, but I’m sure that I’ll never see this again.
Take those 62 seconds away, and the Hurricanes played a pretty good game. That, however, is emblematic of the entire season. There were only a couple of games in which they played poorly for the entire game. Almost every one of the 14 games in the winless streak through November was characterized by breakdowns that lasted three or five minutes. Unfortunately, those breakdowns parlayed into very low confidence levels, and this sort of made the team beat themselves.
They still managed to scrape back into the game, pulling to within one goal late in the second. They nearly tied it on what would have been a 160-foot empty net own goal when Tukka Rask left his net during a delayed penalty sequence. A Bruins pass went horribly awry, went off the boards at center ice and was destined for the back of the empty net. Luckily for Bruins fans, Patrice Bergeron hustled down the ice to get there just in time. Two more inches and it would have been in. If Chad LaRose had nudged Bergeron just a tiny bit as they both raced down the ice, it might have made enough of a difference. Replays clearly showed that Bergeron got his stick there just in the nick of time.
Eric Staal did not score a goal, so he finished the season with 29 goals and his streak of consecutive 30+ goal seasons has been stopped. There are now just the four players who have done that in each of the last five seasons.
It’s quite possible that Rod Brind’Amour has played his last game. He sat out with a lower body thing for this game. He still has one season on his contract, but there’s a little bit of writing on the wall which suggests that he’s going to hang them up. More on this later.
Carolina fought hard in the second half of the season, compiling the second-best record, but the hole they dug for themselves was just too big. This final game was a little bit of a disappointment because if they’d have won, they would have finished the season at an even .500.
Next season looks bright already. With the group of young kids who have already gained experience, the AHL team moving to Charlotte, the Helsinki games and the NHL All-Star game, there’s a lot to look forward to in the fall. Is it too early to start counting down the days?
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About Red and Black Hockey
David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.