Canes fans have been pretty lucky over the past 23 years.
On May 6, 1997, Peter Karmanos announced the move Connecticut to North Carolina. On Oct. 3, 1997, the Canes played their first game against the Pittsburg Penguins at the Greensboro Coliseum. On June 19, 2006, then-captain and now-coach Rod Brind’Amour lifted the Stanley Cup after the Canes 3-1 over the Edmonton Oilers. On Jan. 29 and 30, 2011, the Canes hosted the 2011 NHL All-Star Weekend. And on April 24, 2019, the Canes knocked off the then-defending champion Washington Capitals 4-3 in double-overtime.
Now, on Aug. 1, 2020, Carolina Hurricanes fans will see history again. At noon on Saturday, the Canes will kick off the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers against the New York Rangers. For Carolina (and New York, I guess), history will be made again when they play in the first ever NHL Stanley Cup Qualifier game.
Although the series will undoubtedly be nerve-racking due to Carolina’s consistent inconsistency against the Rangers—the Canes went winless in four games against them during the 2019-2020 season—it’s important to remember how fortunate Caniacs truly are.
In 23 years, the Canes have a Stanley Cup, an NHL All-Star Game, and the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifier on their resume.
The Carolina Hurricanes have won a Stanley Cup. The Buffalo Sabres, Florida Panthers, Ottawa Senators, Vancouver Canucks can’t say that, and they’ve had more opportunities than the Canes. (The San Jose Sharks, Arizona Coyotes, Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets, Minnesota Wild, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Vegas Gold Knights can’t either, but the Canes have been around longer than those teams.)
The Carolina Hurricanes have hosted an NHL All-Star Game. The Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Vegas Golden Knights, and Winnipeg Jets can’t say the same. (Again, however, they haven’t had as many opportunities as the Canes either.)
And the Carolina Hurricanes are playing in the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Qualifiers. The Detroit Red Wings, Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, and Ottawa Senators aren’t.
Stated simply, Carolina has a good NHL franchise. But that means nothing when it comes to 2020’s Canes-Rangers series.
The Rangers have quite the resume, too. But it’s been a little empty since the Canes hit the ice in ’97.
The Rangers have the bragging rights when it comes to Stanley Cups. Of course, they won three of those in the 20s, 30s, and early 40s. Their only other Cup win came in the mid-90s, before the Hurricanes even existed. They also have the bragging rights when it comes to All-Star Games. Of course, their only two all-star games were in 1973 and 1994, both before the Canes’ first game in ’97. Finally, the two teams are relatively even when it comes to qualifying for the 2020 Qualifier. Of course, had the NHL stuck with its usual eight-team-per-conference playoff structure, the Rangers would be watching at home, too.
The Rangers are one of the most storied franchises in NHL history. As an Original Six member, they certainly have a right to their reputation. But, as the saying goes: “What have you done for me lately?”