The Veterans' Missing Link.
Rod Brind’amour, Glen Wesley, Bret Hedican, Doug Weight, Ray Whitney all have been solid to great NHL’ers for many years. While they have all had personal success it is the ultimate team success they yearn for, the glory and awe that is the Stanley Cup.
Something can be said for wanting what you’ve never had and the fact that you will do anything to get it. Ask Cory Stillman who went through this very same process with Dave Andreychuk and the Tampa Bay Lightning 2 years ago. Stillman along with the rest of the Hurricanes have the opportunity to add some much deserved NHL veteran’s names to Lord Stanley’s mug with only 4 more victories against the Edmonton Oilers.
No one knows more about Stanley Cup disappointment than Rod Brind’amour, who was part of a Philadelphia Flyer team that was swept in the Final against the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and a member of the Hurricanes who were picked apart once again at the hands of the Red Wings in 2002. Needless to say Brind’amour is probably not too fond of the Detroit Red Wings. This season Brind’amour has the opportunity to remove that God awful taste from his mouth once and for all. Brind’amour has got to be hoping third time is a charm for that ring.
For Glen Wesley it has been 18 years and counting, much like his former counter part Ray Borque of the Boston Bruins’ days, the Stanley Cup has eluded him through out his entire career. Of course we all know how that story ended one night in Colorado for Ray Borque, I’m sure Wesley is hoping for the same outcome this year. Wesley, unluckily, was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs at the 2002-2003 season trade deadline and unfortunately missed out on an opportunity to get to the finals with Brind’amour and the Canes that season. Ironically the Hurricanes defeated the Leafs in 6 games of that very conference final that propelled the Canes to the Finals.
For Bret Hedican, he is also a 2 time loser, his first attempt at the cup was a game 7 loss to Mark Messier and the New York Rangers in 1994 as a member of the Vancouver Canucks. His second offense was in 02 with the Canes and their loss to Detroit. Hedican is hoping for more success and euphoria this year.
For Ray Whitney this will be his first attempt at Lord Stanley’s mug. A noble soldier for many years in the NHL, starting in San Jose for 6 seasons, a season in Edmonton, some hard time in Florida and Columbus all the way to a cup of coffee that was spilt on his lap by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, Whitney finally gets the opportunity with the Canes. Whitney has been a journeyman NHL’er for 15 years and finally gets the opportunity to sip from the mug.
To Doug Weight this will be a special Stanley Cup Final, it will be his first appearance and it comes against his long time and former club the Edmonton Oilers. Weight, a 9 year Oiler, was essentially traded to the St. Louis Blues due to contract disputes with management. The disputes stemmed mainly from the team not being able to pay him fair market value at the time. Weight never wanted to leave but had to if he wanted his proper compensation.
Weight admits he still has many friends on the Oilers that he keeps in contact with and is looking forward to this opportunity. Weight is trying to end a 15 year drought with a Stanley Cup hoist, and probably would love nothing more than to do it on Edmonton ice. After all the chance does now, more than ever, exist that Weight could return to St. Louis or the Mighty Edmonton Oilers, wouldn’t a cup ring look nice on his finger in a possible return?
For all these players, years of frustration and disappointment can come to an end one night in June with the stars aligning nicely and the Gods smiling down on them for the first time in their long careers. To bad it may have to come at the expense of a team that is representing Canada in the Edmonton Oilers for it to happen. But that’s a story for another time.