With a pair of wins this weekend against the Islanders, my Carolina Hurricanes finished up the first half of the NHL season atop the Atlantic Division where they've put 12 points between them at Alanta (and hold 3 games in hand). In the entire Eastern Conference Carolina is a mere two points behind Philadelphia and fourth overall in the NHL at the midway point.
I've always been more a fan of college athletics than pro sports, but then again, I never lived in a town that had a major professional team. When we moved to the Triangle in 2002, the 'Canes were fresh off their magical Stanley Cup run and the only place they had to go was down. It was pretty hard to get excited about the team back then. Of course, the strike in 2004 didn't help either.
But when hockey returned in 2005, I caught the bug again on the back of a fantastic Hurricanes team. I don't think I realized how much I missed hockey in its absence until it returned.
The Hurricanes are ideally suited for the new NHL. Where salary caps have leveled the playing field and a hard-working, fast skating team is rewarded by oodles of power plays, the Hurricanes have looked almost invicible this season. The thing that has impressed me the most is the resilence of this team. I cannot count how many times they have entered the third period trailing only to win or at least tie the game.
The Canes are so impressive, that OLN has picked up tomorrow night's game between Carolina and Detroit (Western Conference leaders, 1pt ahead of Carolina in league) for their national telecast.