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Ryan Craig

Canes candid about meaning of win over Lightning

Posted November 17, 2008

It’s not often that you hear players admit issues with confidence or place a tremendous amount of meaning in beating a team in second to last place that just fired its head coach.

It’s even rarer that you hear these things from a team that is over .500 and just one and a half months into a more than five-month long season.

But Sunday evening at the RBC Center was one of those times, and it was clear in talking to the Hurricanes after their shootout win over Tampa Bay, that those two points meant quite a lot to a franchise that had just lost three in a row and four of five.

Just listen to what some of the players were saying in the locker room after the game.

“It’s nice to come into the dressing room and see smiles on the guys’ faces after a game,” Cam Ward said.

Now, this would have been a perfect time for Ward to talk about how the season is a marathon and not a sprint, just like we’re used to hearing from players most times, but instead he opted for the more truthful, insightful response.

And now Rod Brind’Amour on his feelings about how the team played in the third period, one in which the Canes mustered only one shot on goal:

“Well I think we were a little tentative…you can tell we were lacking a little bit of confidence out there.”

When was the last time you’ve heard a team captain talk about confidence issues? I'm not saying for a second that it was a bad thing for number 17 to mention, it’s just that you hardly ever hear that kind of honesty from professional athletes – the admission of vulnerability.

It’s not like these guys said anything earth-shattering, but hearing them speak the way they did about this win was equal parts refreshing and telling – the Canes absolutely had to win this game.

It took the Hurricanes until April 4th last year to realize they finished one game out of the playoffs, but anybody that followed the team knows the season was lost in the period between mid-November and mid-January.

The Canes woke up on Nov. 14, 2007 with an 11-5-3 record – by the time the contest against Ottawa was over on the night of January 17, 2008, Carolina had fallen to a mark of 22-23-4.

I can’t help but think that some of the players were looking at this three-game losing streak and experiencing a mild case of déjà vu. The thought of another holiday 11-18-1 stretch had to be playing on their minds.

Sure the two points came against the Lightning, but when you’re struggling with not only the rigors of playing eight games in 17 days, but with the demons from last year’s struggles, each win means a little more.

Now the Canes head into Tuesday’s game with Montreal looking to start a streak of a different kind – the winning kind.

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