A Compelling Reason to Root for the Hurricanes:
Back in the spring of 2001, Ray Bourque, former longtime captain of the Boston Bruins was in his second campaign with the Colorado Avalanche, making what would almost certainly be his final run at a Stanley Cup championship after an amazing 20+ year career. He had led to the Bruins to the finals twice, in 1988 and 1990 but ran into the Edmonton Oilers both times, who were wrapping up their dynasty as the decade came to a close.
But this time it was Bourque's year, and his quest was embraced not only by fans in Colorado, but also in Boston and Bourque's native Quebec, where the Nordiques (the team that would move to Colorado and become the Avalanche) had once played. When he finally raised the cup, three cities, and all true fans of the game cheered Ray Bourque.
Which brings me to the story of the Carolina Hurricanes, who back in Bourque’s Bruin glory days were known as the “forever .500” Hartford Whalers. Back in those days, they were well known for being better than, well- pretty much only the Quebec Nordiques, who skipped town in 1995 to become the Avalanche, an idea that nobody found stupid because they immediately won the Stanley Cup. The Whale, figuring there was success to be found in a new city with a team named after a natural disaster, followed suit two years later and the Carolina Hurricanes were born.
Back to the present.
The ‘Canes are currently trailing the Montreal Canadiens 2 games to 1 in the first round of the playoffs. The story of the series so far has been the serious eye injury to Saku Koivu, and the dramatic return I am predicting he will make for game 5 if the series is tied tonight, which I also predict it will be.
But does anyone outside of Raleigh care about the Hurricanes?
I know, Eric Staal is fun to watch, they're fast and stuff, and they won a lot of games- but the only people who are really excited about that are 'Canes fans, which I suppose they have every right to be.
All eight of them.
Well, I'll tell you who ELSE should be excited about this team.
Every single fan of Ray Bourque's efforts on his runs to the cup finals with Boston, and every single heartbroken Hartford Whalers fan that saw their favorite, forever-.500's pack up their things and move down to North Carolina after the 1997 season should be full throated Cane-iacs right now.
There is only one active player left in the NHL who went to the Stanley Cup finals with Ray Bourque in both 1988 and 1990.
There is also only one active player left on the roster of the Carolina Hurricanes who was a member of the Whalers when they moved to out of Hartford.
That player is Glen Wesley.
So far, he's an unimpressive minus two, with two penalty minutes and three shots on goal. But he's never won a cup, these Hurricanes are a damn good squad, and he knows that this could be his last shot. I'll tell you one thing, he's definately going to be leaving it all out on the ice.
So if you ever rooted for the great Bruin teams that featured Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, Andy Moog and Reggie Lemelin; or if you ever wept for your Hartford Whalers on the day they moved away, Glen Wesley is YOUR last shot as well.
Go Glen, go Bruins, go Whalers, and go Hurricanes.
Oh wait- I almost forgot.
A Compelling Reason Not To Root for the Hurricanes:
Stormy the Ice Hog.