One of Skinny's many key goals. (Photo Credit: Chris Seward via N&O)

A Caniac Ending: The Stages of Grief

Tampa Bay 6, Carolina 2

Wheels spun in the mud as caniacs tried to vacate the RBC Center Saturday evening. The steady drizzle was a somber reflection to the end of the Carolina Hurricanes’ 2010-11 season. As a human development major, I clearly remember studying Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.

Happy memories from Staalsy and Colesy (Phot Credit: Scott Andette NHLI Getty Images)

Let me be clear on one point, the Hurricanes were far from being a disappointment this year. They gave more than expected and fought with bleeding hearts and injuries in their last weeks. Everyone walked away with amazing memories from Wardo’s 2,000+ stops to the emergence of a history-making rookie. The very reason you admire your team is the same reason it hurts to see it end. You never want to see someone you respect fall.

Fans across the nation are grieving the end of their respective seasons. The journey through that grief begins with denial. By time I had made it back to my car, I had convinced myself the NHL had made some sort of mathematical error. Surely they would announce the mistake Sunday, which would put us a point ahead of the Rangers. I can already hear Mike Maniscalco laughing about the oversight on 99.9 FM the Fan. The lack of this declaration in the next 24 hours will shove me into the second stage, anger.

There’s plenty to be mad about regarding Tampa Bay’s victory. Penalty calls that never came from officials, the dreaded power play inabilities (1/7), or the general lack of puck possession are all reasons to be livid. The first period set the dreaded tone for the evening. Dominic Moore (18), Vincent Lecavalier (25), and Steven Stamkos (45) each scored in the first fourteen minutes.

Cam Ward's memorable Feb. 18th save. (Photo credit: Chris Seward via N&O)

The Hurricanes appeared to return more collected after the first intermission. Cory Stillman (12) managed an extra-man goal with the assist of Staal (43) and Skinner (32), which was a much-needed response to Tampa Bay’s fourth goal scored just a couple minutes earlier by Brett Clark (9). Joslin and McBain proved their worth as they truly played every angle with the utmost determination. I think I got whiplash from watching Derek Joslin speed skate back-and-forth over each 200 feet of the ice.

Chad LaRose(16) kept the Canes’s hope alive with a wrister from Sutter (15) and McBain (23) at 8:33 into the third. However, their fate was sealed by two empty netters from Simon Gagne (17) and Martin St. Louis (31).

So, the New York Rangers claim a playoff seat by one measly point. Yep, the anger stage is a valid second step. Perhaps a feeling that will linger a bit longer than the denial portion of the grieving process.

We’ll pick up at the ever-fun bargaining stage tomorrow. Again, our grieving does not mean fans are not appreciative of the stellar season. Much love and gratitude to the Carolina Hurricanes family!

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Tags: Cam Ward Canes Carolina Hurricanes Chad LaRose Cory Stillman Dominic Moore Eric Staal Erik Cole Five Stages Of Grief Jeff Skinner Martin St. Louis New York Rangers NHL Simon Gagne Tampa Bay Lightning

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