(It's common place to beat up on the smaller and "non-traditional" hockey markets by painting by numbers. However, all you need to do is look back to the Hurricanes Stanley Cup run to see that pucks, blood and high-level talent translate even in the rarest places. I'm sad to say that I hadn't heard of The Life and Times of a Caniac until I started doing Canes-research, but Ashley's been rockin' the pillow lips since 2006. This blog wasn't even a twinkle in my eyes when she was posting about Rod the Bod's squad. Follow TLaToaC for all your Hurricanes needs. Also, don't allow me to write acronyms anymore. Srsly. Thanks, Ashley!)
Yeah, you. With the face. You want to be a hockey fan, eh? Awesome. You want to be a fan of the best team evah!? Excellent. That means you're a Carolina Hurricanes fan. We're called Caniacs. Welcome to the club.
What, you want reasons to be a Canes fan? Well, fine. Be that way. In list form, the reasons why YOU should be a Hurricanes fan:
You're not doing anything for a few hours before the game, right? Then arrive early and participate in the ultimate Caniac tradition - tailgating. Started by the Caniacs, this is the best way to put oneself in the hockey mindset. Just bring some food, chairs, a grill and some friends (Don't have any? Southern hospitality makes it easy to make some.) and hang out for a few hours. And if making friends while getting a suntan (did I mention the weather? It's excellently warm in the South) doesn't appeal to you, think of this - cooking your own hotdog is certainly better than paying $4 for one inside the building.
2) Tuomo Ruutu - Eric Staal - Erik Cole
Best line on the face of the planet. There's Eric Staal, our superstar goal-scoring center, Erik Cole, the best forward evah! who can speed past any defenseman, and Tuomo Ruutu who will hit anything in his way (and score a few goals as well). Alone they are merely good - place them on the same line and you have pure awesomeness!
3) The Loudest House in the NHL
You might scoff at this moniker, but until you experience a Canes game in person, you have no idea how loud it can get at the RBC Center. This is ear-bleeding/ringing-ears/can't-hear-anything-for-days-afterwards loud. Seriously, the decibel level has been measured over 130 in this place. Add this to the trademark Caniac Wooooooooooo-ing after a goal is scored, and you have one rockin' house to play hockey at.
4) Chad LaRose
The epitome of hard work, Chad LaRose is the guy everyone loves to cheer on. No matter what position he's at, or how much ice time he's been getting, he always gives 110% every shift every game. Not to mention, despite his rather small stature (supposedly he's 5'10", but I highly doubt that number) he's never afraid to go at it with someone.
Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? Well, it's not. But, just so that I'm not accused of giving a biased opinion (Me, biased towards the Canes? Never!), here's what's not so great about the best team evah!.
Our mascot is a pig. Seriously. If you want to stop pulling for us because of this, I wouldn't blame you. As a Caniac, I'm pretty ashamed of it myself. Apparently it's supposed to represent the importance of NC agricultural blah blah blah whatever. In reality, it's the only pig that is exempt from a barbeque sandwich in the entire state. Every other mascot looks cool and/or makes sense. Ours is a pig.
Essentially, April and March 2009 excluded, this team is the definition of hot and cold. We'll beat down a conference leader 5-1 in one game, then lose to the worst team 4-0. Most times we can barely string together more than four wins. But then again, we never lose too many in a row either. It makes it really tough when the playoffs are coming - one week you're on a slide out of the playoffs and the next you're playing well enough to get in. Have fun predicting what's going to happen next!
3) Paul Maurice
So, earlier in the season our beloved GM Jim Rutherford fired Peter Laviolette to re-hire the guy Lavi was hired to replace. Doesn't make sense? It didn't to anyone following the team at the time. Granted, Maurice has gotten the team to the playoffs, but he employs a lame dump-and-chase offense that grates against anyone used to the faced-paced offense that Laviolette used to run. Plus, Maurice is a Toronto Maple Leafs cast-off - and that ought to say a lot right there.
There you go - do you need any more persuasion to be a fan? Well, just keep in mind - these Canes are proud winners of the 2006 Stanley Cup. There's a lot of teams that have never got one of those, and are certainly in no place to win one this year. So hop on the bandwagon, new Caniac, and I can assure you that you'll never want to get off!