Ten Years Later, a Buncha Jerks Reintroduce Themselves to the Stanley Cup Playoffs
The last time Carolina extended their season past closing time, they were still referring to their current coach as the ultra-cut Rod the Bod.
That's because Rod Brind'Amour was still in game shape, playing in the 19th of his 20-season NHL career.
Even now, no one would blink an eye if dude dressed for a game, which he threatened to do at least once this season.
However, his Hurricanes stepped it up down the stretch and secured an Eastern Conference wild card spot on the next-to-last day of the season.
Carolina topped the New Jersey Devils, 3-1, to eliminate the Montréal Canadiens and revive memories of past glories.
Believe it or not, the 'Canes actually do have past glories.
Dudes hoisted the hardware in 2006 ...
... and then promptly returned to their recurring role as point-fodder for the league's more visible contenders.
Fans who remember the unlamented Peter Puck will probably also recall this was the franchise who:
- called a rink in a shopping mall home,
- wore long pants until the league decided it didn't like the look,
- moved to Raleigh because then-owner Peter Karmanos figured hi-tech cities were loaded with geeks from hockey markets, and
- finally got to dress a team to resemble the Detroit Red Wings after failing time and again to buy his hometown Hockeytown club.
And the Hartford Whalers' logo remains one of the coolest in sports history:
The Hurricanes started to receive a bitta novelty notice this season when they decided to adopt a choreographed team celebration popularized years ago by Stjärnan FC, an Icelandic soccer team that began staging mini-skits after goals.
Dudes gained a measure of notoriety -- not to mention a bitta criticism -- with their post-victory productions.
Think of this as Golden Knights lite.
Or as a whole-team version of NFL TD celebrations.
Whatever, the Jerks' displays only happen after victories -- mostly at home -- the other team's left the ice, and their fans are into it.
Las Vegas is definitely a so-called non-traditional hockey area. Raleigh's hosted NHL hockey for a minute, now, but they're usually at or near the bottom of the list in terms of attendance rankings.
This game against the Devils -- who don't really feature as a destination draw -- looked rather well-attended. The Jerk Surge might be part of the reason why.
Of course, they like winning even more.
Now, the 'Canes have got a shot at delivering more of it.