Canes/Oilers: Memories Are Made Of This
Allow me to wax nostaglic here for a few moments and later on I'll post the Canes lines and D pairings as they appeared last night when Carolina played the 1996 Florida Panthers;)
I know that Mc79 is pretty charged up about this game and he thinks the Oilers will follow suit. Personally I'd rather not see the Canes all season because it brings up a lot of bad memories.
It would be much healthier to remember the good times like Winchester giving this team a huge spark in Det and Horcoff risking life and limb to block a potential game tying shot from Lidstrom. Not to mention the G6 comeback where we ended Yzerman's career. I'd suspect not a lot of people took as much pleasure out of that as I did but then again maybe not everyone was as sick as I was of watching him complain over every fucking call.
But that's for another time;)
When I see the Canes unis the very first thing I always think about is back to G1 last year when Pronger scored on the penalty shot. What could possibly go wrong at that point? The Oilers were holding the edge in the play and Big #44 had just begun to put the finishing touches on his Conn Smythe performance. Imagine the way that would've played out over the years? Stories like "Pronger was so good that season they even picked him to take a penalty shot and of course he scored and in the process made Cam Ward look like Cam Cole" would've rested right alongside "then Messier knocked out Savard and took over the series" on the less than dusty shelf that houses the tales that serve to legitimize fandom. In fact when Pronger was going back to the bench to recieve his congrats I thought about a team that looked destined to win it's ninth playoff game in it's last ten chances and I let myself just for a second wonder how Ryan Smyth would react when he lifted the Cup.
But then Jason Smith inexplicably pinched with the Oilers already up 3-0 and less than 5 min to go in a period and Laddgeron combined to bowl over Roli and Conkknanen reared it's medicore head. The next game saw a rusty Jussi accompany a dejected Oilers squad and the series was essentially over.
So no matter what happens tonight it won't make me feel one little bit better about what ultimately happened last June.
On to tonight and here's who the Canes iced in their last game:
Certainly nothing to write about him but neither was last year's Canes D corps though this one is admittedly lesser given it's without Ward, Kaberle and Wallin.
So basically two lines to match against and that means Horc and Stoll take on BA-Staal and the Oilers hope they win because of their PP or because their bottom six can chip in a goal or two though those hopes are somewhat lessened give who the Oil currently ice in ES positions 7-12.
Roli was great last time out and his rebound control was impeccible but for those who think he's past a slump that started last Tues in OT vs Ana and continued for the next two games I'd throw out this caution. The last time he slumped he had two terrible outings in a row only to shutout the Caps before falling back again for another two games.