The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/26/12 at 03:14 PM ET
Updated with afternoon tidbits at 2:07 PM: The Raleigh News and Observer’s Chip Alexander and Luke DeCock have penned a series of articles recalling the Carolina Hurricanes’ 2002 Stanley Cup run, discussing the team’s cementing of its status as a locally-adopted team, pondering the “curse” of the Prince of Wales trophy, offering status updates as to what the Canes’ alums are doing at present, and, of course, DeCock recalling the Red Wings’ Triple Overtime win in Game 3 from a Carolina perspective:
“I remember talking with Brett Hull a few years later,” said Ron Francis, the Hurricanes’ captain that night. “I didn’t even want to hear about it, but he said. ‘Game 3, if you guys had won ...’ I mean, they felt it too.”
For years, I believed that if the Hurricanes had won Game 3, they wouldn’t necessarily have won the series, but it would have gone seven games, and anything could have happened. As time has passed, though, and I’ve had the chance to speak with more people on the Detroit side of things, I’ve come to the conclusion that the series was in fact hanging in the balance that night.
Perhaps not at the end of regulation, when the Hurricanes were clinging to that one-goal lead, but more and more as overtime piled on top of overtime. With every minute the clock ticked, with every shift and every shot and every save, the Red Wings got a little older, a little creakier, a little less equipped to recover from that kind of effort if they lost.
“I think it would have turned things around,” Red Wings forward Sergei Fedorov would say, long after. “It would have been tougher on us to play the later matches. Those kind of games, when you lose, it’s a tough blow for any team. It could have been a seven-game series. You never know.”
Larionov’s goal was like the Fountain of Youth for the Red Wings. Of the 20 players they used in Game 3, eight were 35 or older. A full dozen were in their 30s. Larionov himself, the oldest player in the NHL at 41, went to bed at 5 a.m. and got up at 8:15 to watch Russia play Japan in the World Cup. How heavy would those old legs have been with a loss?
“Age, right now, means nothing,” 37-year-old Detroit captain Steve Yzerman said the day the game ended, a day after it began.
If the Hurricanes had won, it might have meant everything.
Update: Also of Red Wings-related note this afternoon: NHL.com’s Michael Langr provides English translations of the Czech-language Hasek news over the last 24 hours;
• Kitchener, ON’s 570 News reports that Gordie Howe will be signing autographs in town on Sunday;
• And Yahoo Sports’ Neate Sager penned a Saint John Sea Dogs post-mortem given that Tomas Jurco and his teammates were eliminated from the Memorial Cup tournament last night.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.