Monday, June 19, 2006

Game 7

Here's the end of the long two-month journey known as the Stanley Cup playoffs:

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Going back to Raleigh...Raleigh

Back on the road again...
I'm back on the road again...
I haven't seen my apartment in two months...
I haven't seen my darling for an extended period of time in two months...
But the finals have been a good experience....
I've experienced the loudest crowds I have ever heard in my short time working hockey...
I've met and talked to some influential people in and around the NHL...
Some things baffle me though...
How Carolina hasn't been able to win its fourth game?
How do reporters come up with new stories after six games of hearing the same rhetoric?
How did the Hurricanes keep Erik Cole's return so secret?
When during my period on the road did a plate of fries become a "healthy meal?"
If the Oilers DON'T win Game 7, I'm totally abandoning my belief in momentum.
At least, I'll know for sure the Stanley Cup is going to be presented on Monday. And, hopefully, I'll be on the ice or in the dressing room, bearing witness to a little hockey history.
I'll keep you updated.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Game 5...

I was ready to jump on the ice. Oh yes, I was.
But Fernando Pisani threw a wrench in those plans, didn't he?
I mean, a short-handed overtime winner? Who would have thought...wait a minute that has happen before in this playoffs, hasn't it.
It doesn't matter than I had my bags all packed and ready for a trip home to Toronto. Now I'm convinced this series is going seven games. There's no way the Oilers can lose at home. Momentum is a huge advantage in the playoffs and Pisani's winner swung some of it in Edmonton's direction. In their mind, nobody expects them to win now so it's a matter of just playing....It's Carolina that has to win that deciding game.
The Stanley Cup was in the building, but I wasn't able to see it. I just missed it as it was being put back into its case.
So we're back to Edmonton now. We're off on the NHL charter at 7:15 a.m. tomorrow.
I'm getting real good at packing efficiently, I'll tell you that.

Monday, June 12, 2006

On the road again...

Okay, this is going to be a quick post again, folks. I have to get up tomorrow at 5:30 a.m. to catch a charter back to Raleigh.
Here's my rambling thoughts after tonight's game.
- If Carolina doesn't get caught up in all of the excitement, its going to win the Stanley Cup on Wednesday.
- The Edmonton Oilers need to find a way to score on the power play to prolong this series.
- I firmly believe the Oilers would have been in the same position even with Roloson in net. Markkanen has done an admirable job.
- Rexall Place and RBC Centre have to be two of the loudest rinks I've ever been in.
- I literally got goosebumps on the back of my neck when I heard the Oilers crowd singing the national anthem for the first time in Game 3. It's an experience I won't soon forget.
- The Staal family is bound to become hockey royalty. Jordan was at the game tonight and he looks like he has the maturity to step right in and handle the media pressure.
- My vote for Conn Smythe? Rob Brind'Amour.
- Most underrated player in the playoffs? How about Cory Stillman, who got two points last night.
- If Carolina wins the Cup, I'm going out on the ice and nothing is going to stop me from getting my picture out there.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Good ol' Edmonton

Okay, I don't know Edmonton really well. This is my first time here. But I sure wish the weather was a hell of a lot better.
For the past two days it's been rainy and windy -- quite a contrast to our experience in Raleigh where shorts and t-shirts were the norm.
Upon my first few steps into the Northlands...ahem....Rexall Place, instantly recalled my first time in Maple Leaf Gardens.
All of the new arenas have the same look and feel. They're all built in the same cookie-cutter mold with no touches of intimacy or coziness. Rexall Place, on the other hand, has history.
Television technicians don't have it easy; they had to uncoil miles of cable to make sure everything is connected and working in time for tomorrow. When I left at 5 p.m. today, they were still working hard and diligently.
I hope some people recognize their hard work.
As for the game, I'm guessing Jussi is getting the start again. I didn't get to watch Craig MacTavish's press conference today; I was busy setting up a Headliner interview.
But I did get to walk Cam Ward's sister and mother to the press conference area so they could watch him answer questions from the media. You could tell they are a very close family.
"I haven't seen that goof since February," said one of his sisters. "I want to give him a big hug."
Oh, back to the goaltender front, I really think that Ty Conklin needs another chance. Sure, he screwed up big time, but if you look at the two remaining goalies, Conklin is the better choice.
He struggled this season with injury and inconsistency, but he has performed spectacularly in the past and was a No. 1 goaltender for the Oilers in the past.
Conklin, as it has been pointed out, is accustomed to pressure on the big stage. He led the United States to the bronze medal at the 2005 world championships and was named the tournament's top goaltender.
But what do I know, really? I'm just a humble associate producer experiencing his first Stanley Cup final.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Game 2

Sorry, dedicated readers, this is going to be a short one.
It's 12:30 a.m. and I have to get to bed so I can catch the charter tomorrow. We're leaving the hotel at 6:45 a.m. for a 9 a.m. flight. It's expected to take 4 hours and 45 minutes.
So, from a television production stand point on my end, Game 1 was much like Game 2. I did a little editing, some panic runs to the truck to obtain information and exchanged good-natured barbs with the HNIC staff.
The game itself was pretty boring. I would like to see Edmonton win, I'm not going to deny that, but if anything I wanted to see either a repeat of Game 1 or at least a tight one-goal affair.
Didn't get any of that tonight. But did you know what I did get? A few pictures. When I get a chance, I'll download everything to my laptop so the Internet world and can see life behind the camera lens.
Okay, enough babbling, I've got to get to bed. Sorry. I'll make it up with my next post tomorrow.
Over and out...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Off-day...on work.

I guess some of you are reading this so-called blog. I've received a number of e-mails, especially in the last day, about this site. All I can say is thanks. I'm glad that this little experiment is paying off.
Life on the road with Hockey Night in Canada is a busy experience and I write this thing before I go to bed. Some of them have, admittedly, been written in a drunken haze. I've noticed a couple of typos in past entries, so please ignore any in this one or any future entries. I just let my thoughts pour out on my typewriter. I don't copyedit.
So, what did I do on the off-day? I returned to the rink, of course. This time, we covered practice and shot an interview with one of the Carolina Hurricanes (I'm not saying who).
For those wondering, Dwayne Roloson did talk to the media and it looks like he is in fact out for the series. He was limping pretty badly when he walked up to the podium to address the large contingent of television, newspaper and online reporters.
So is it Jussi or Ty tomorrow night? Coach Craig MacTavish didn't say, but the smart money is on Jussi.
Conklin screwed up big time yesterday, although some would say it was just as much Jason Smith's fault and Markkanen would give the Oilers a clean slate to start on.
The big problem is that neither of these goaltenders have seen ANY playing time in the last month and a half. Both are really rusty and it's hard to believe that either of them have the mental toughness to withstand the pressure of playing in the finals.
But, we will see. Some of the crew think that Edmonton will bounce back. Some think it's wishful thinking and as one reporter said, "The Oilers are done like toast."
What do I think? This year's playoffs have been so weird and wild, I think ANYTHING can happen. You can't forget that everytime a team has changed goalies in this year's post-season, it's worked for them.
It certainly worked for Carolina in the first round with Cam Ward.