If you are checking in mid-tourney, games in the first round of the first two regionals are already completed.
In the ‘Founding Fathers’ regional:
–Kevin Weekes defeated Jeff Daniels to earn a second round matchup with #1 seed Ron Francis.
–Kevin Dineen barely edged out Sean Hill for the right to a second round matchup with Gary Roberts who upside Keith Primeau (guess people are still holding a grudge about his holdout and not giving any brownie points for him being traded for Brind’Amour).
–Josef Vasicek beat line mate Martin Gelinas for the right to face #3 seed Arturs Irbe who had a first round bye.
–Finally, Sami Kapanen defeated Bates Battaglia to earn a second round matchup against #2 seed Jeff O’Neill who is waiting with a first-round bye.
In the ‘Unsung Heroes’ regional which just ended Wednesday:
–Peter Laviolette bested Paul Maurice in a first round coaches’ matchup and will face #1 seed Glen Wesley in the second round.
–Bret Hedican defeated Craig Adams for the right to face Jesse Boulerice who won the ‘enforcer’ battle royale that included Kevin Westgarth, Stu Grimson and Darren Langdon.
–Kevyn Adams edged Jiri Tlusty and will take on #3 seed Aaron Ward who had a first round bye.
–Finally, John Forslund defeated Chuck Kaiton in a broadcasters’ matchup and will line up against #2 seed Ray Whitney in the second round after Whitney’s first round bye.
First the matchups and seedings with links to the player write ups:
Rod Brind’Amour (1) (Coming 2nd round)
Justin Williams (3) (Coming in 2nd round)
Erik Cole (2) (Coming in 2nd round)
And with that we move on to the bracket that is heavy in the greatest time in Canes history which is of course the Stanley Cup win in 2006. Voting will go live for the ‘Cup Core’ regional around lunchtime on Friday, and links to player bios will be added here within the next few days.
All 13 players featured in the ‘Cup Core’ regional were part of the team that won it all on June 19, 2006. (Seven other members of that team were already featured in the first two regionals, and one other will appear in the final regional.) As would be expected from such a rich time in Canes history, this regional is arguably the strongest in terms of Canes greats.
As with the other brackets, we will eventually (hopefully no later than Monday while voting is still ongoing) post individual bios for each of the ten players playing in first round games, so please check back later.
The three first-round byes for the regional are:
#1 seed Rod Brind’Amour is obviously an all-time Hurricanes great who was one of only three players to play in the Canes three deep playoff runs in 2002, 2006 and 2009.
#2 seed Erik Cole also played on all three of the successful Canes playoff teams and despite leaving for awhile was always right in the middle of things when the Canes were playing their best hockey.
#3 seed Justin Williams scored the famous empty-netter to put the Canes up 3-1 in game 7 versus Edmonton, trigger Chuck Kaiton’s famous call and send the RBC Center into Cup-winning euphoria.
Vying to meet the three region heavyweights and competing in first round matchups are:
–Mark Recchi (8) versus Doug Weight (9) in a wildcard matchup featuring two key late additions for the 2006 playoff run.
–First-line ignition switch for Eric Staal and Erik Cole in Cory Stillman (4) versus Mike Commodore (13) who was a top 4 defenseman and part of the underrated 2005-06 blue line.
–Versatile Matt Cullen (5) versus Martin Gerber (12) who was in net for much of the regular season success that set the stage for the playoffs.
–Clutch playoff goal scorer from 2002 in Niclas Wallin (6) and another member of the defensive top 4 in Frantisek Kaberle (11).
–Overachiever, energy spark and fan favorite Chad LaRose (7) up against Andrew Ladd (10) who played next to Brind’Amour some during the regular season and had a key role in wild game 1 turnaround in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Check back at lunchtime on Friday to vote and help decide who advances to the second round.