It is not too early, nor too late to get on the Hurricanes bandwagon. Carolina, a motley crew without a true star that shocked the world with a 99-point season (and underlying numbers that said they should been significantly better than even that) and a trip to the conference final, are back with more seasoning, proven chemistry, and a chip on their shoulders to prove that last year was no fluke. You could do much, much worse than adopting them as your second (or first) team. After all, who else would you want to see coming out of the Metro? The Devils? Psh.
The Canes got off to a good start with a 4-3 shootout win over the potentially frisky Canadiens, with defenseman Dougie Hamilton leading off and scoring the shootout’s only goal.
You think, going first, Hamilton had a plan to score on Carey Price? He did not.
“I wasn’t really sure what to do going against the best goalie in the world,” said Hamilton, who also had two assists in the opener. “Just do whatever and I was happy to see it go in. My brain just shuts off and that’s what happens.”
Ah, but the game in the balance was only the second-biggest question of the night. The real drama was: If the Hurricanes won, would they bring back the Storm Surge, their choreographed and increasingly-intricate victory celebrations that so charmed fans and annoyed Don Cherry last year? Complicating things further was the absence of Justin Williams, team captain and originator of the Storm Surge, who is not with the Canes as he decides whether he wants to play hockey anymore.
Can you even have a Storm Surge without Williams? Or would it be even more appropriate to keep rolling with what he started? The Canes knew, they just weren’t telling. Until showtime.
Dougie Hamilton led the clap, and then Carolina took things back to basics—the leap into the glass mirrored the very first Storm Surge last October, before it mutated into some incredible and beautiful forms. It’s only going to get weirder and better from here, folks; now you’re in on the ground floor.