For all Carolina’s complaining the Rangers won’t be distracted
Since news broke that two teams voted no to the Return to Play format, both the Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes gave their reasons why. For Tampa, the concern was being at a disadvantage in the opening round of the 16 team playoffs. Their concern was legitimate. While they and three others would play a best of three for seeding in the East, 8 teams would be playing do or die hockey in a best of five to get in.
Enter Crying Carolina
Even before the vote, Hurricanes player rep Jordan Martinook voiced his concern about “fairness”. He became a hockey puritan when he said that the Stanley Cup playoffs is for 16 teams only. On a Zoom call he he told the press, “I feel like if you’re doing the 24-team thing, it basically gives a team a chance that had no chance of making it, which if you play 82 there’s maybe 6, 8% chance that the team in 12th place (in the conference) makes it,”
Let’s face it, Martinook’s Hurricanes weren’t going to face the 12th place Canadiens. The format would have them facing a team they could not beat for the life of them this season. “Nobody’s ever seen this before,” Martinook continued, “but at the end of the day, the Stanley Cup Playoffs are 16 teams, seven games a series.” Well, now it’s 5 games against the Rangers.
“What Did We Grind For?“
Yesterday, Carolina’s head coach Rod Brind’Amour told the hosts of ESPN on Ice that he would’ve rather they played some regular season games till all teams were even. From there he feels it would be fairer and points decide who gets in. “What did we grind for? The bulk of the season was completed,” Brind’Amour cried, “and they just threw that out, and I think that’s how we felt,”
At this point, this is becoming downright laughable around the league. Listening to NHL Radio and some journalists, they are all reading in between the lines that the Canes wanted nothing to do against the Rangers. A team that went 4-0 against them this season and 10-2 over the last three years.
Rangers Won’t be Fooled
For all the whining and crying, the Rangers know this is going to be a challenge. They have already thrown the regular season out the window. When it comes to the Hurricanes they view them as deep and talented. So when the puck drops in game one, they will be ready.
When it comes to the starting goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist has incredible numbers against Carolina in his career and went 3-0 against them. However, Igor Shesterkin was dubbed the Rangers starter and you can expect him to get first crack. There are no mind games here, just the Rangers waiting to get going.