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Hurricanes Squeak into Round 2 Written by Carl O'Linacanes - May 22nd, 2009

After a nailbiting series against New Jersey Devils, Carolina Hurricanes are now heading into round 2, where they will face Tampa Bay Lightning.

Carolina Hurricanes went into the playoffs with no controversies and everything going their way. Some would say that coach Tony Granato made a mental mistake in not properly getting the team into a playoff kind of mindset, while others point to Devils being a team hungry for an upset.

No matter the reason behind, it took Canes 7 games before they managed to put New Jersey away. "It was a hard fought series with seemingly different teams showing up in each of the 3 last games," GM AsmodeanReborn says. "When you blow your opponent out 8-0 in game 5, you better not let your heads swell... unfortunately, that's exactly what happened here. I was not happy to see the sloppy play in game 6, especially from the goalkeepers. However, I'm very pleased to see them recover and put a whooping on Devils here at home in game 7."

Added to that, Hurricanes took another blow as Steve Sullivan's antics in game five were rewarded with a 5-game suspension. Coach Granato was very livid when asked about it. "We felt that Sully was on the verge of becoming a solid contributor in the playoffs as well, and then he goes and does something like THAT! What on earth was he thinking? I probably spent an hour yelling at him afterwards! It's disgraceful, it's embarrassing to the organization. I hope he's learned his lesson, or he won't be with the team much longer. When he comes back in game 4 vs Tampa, he better show that he's motivated and will make a positive impact. He owes us that much!" Without pausing to take a breath, Granato goes on "Did you see Rolston and Sundin, though? How about those guys? Showing veteran leadership and making a difference on the scoreboard! Brian has 7 goals and Mats 6 already!"

These crafty veterans have indeed made a big difference, but can they also be blamed for not putting up enough of an effort in game 6? "We really don't want to put the blame on anybody for that debacle, except for STEVE SULLIVAN. I think the whole team was disturbed, and I'm happy it didn't cost us the series. DID YOU HEAR THAT, STEVE?"

After my interview with Granato, I went back to the ice where Sundin was still skating. Asked if he's ready for round 2, he replied "Well, we are and we aren't. This series took a lot of the mustard out of us, and Tampa's been extremely good the past few months. Given the choice, I would've rather face either of the other teams remaining, but if you want to win the Cup, you better be ready to face the best and defeat them, so that's what we will try our best to do."

I was tempted to ask him what he thought about the whole Sullivan situation, but decided that enough was enough.

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