Leave it to the Independent to piss on the parade. Perhaps only a true hockey fan can comprehend the magnitude of the Canes’ story, not just within NHL history but in sports history.

Never mind that, the ratings be damned, this was perhaps the best NHL playoff season since the Rangers won the Cup in 1994. Forget the Oilers: Yeah, they came from behind and were a gritty team, but they’ve got half a dozen cups and they had all of Canada rooting for them (even their sworn enemies, Calgary, wished them well). The Canes have been a no-respect team for years, even after going to the finals in 2002, and were expected to falter even as they built a model club for the new post-lockout era. The local coverage was totally appropriate: When you have tens of thousands of local
people involved and gripped by an event, that far surpasses any zoning hearing or affordable housing mumbo jumbo that causes readers to yawn. Hell, this was news! That’s what
newspapers do.

No need to philosophize about it: The Canes did the impossible with a no-name roster, they shocked the NHL and the world, they so implausibly brought Lord Stanley’s cup to Tobacco Road. But, hell, your sense that this was some kind of civic cheerleading is such a liberal, knee-jerk reaction and unfairly takes away from their accomplishment. Yeah, I know, the Triangle is all about fake pride, boosting up its fragile ego to compete with other regions. That’s an old yarn and an easy criticism. But for once this wasn’t about empty chest thumping. The Canes’ accomplishment was real, it was bloody, there were broken bones and broken necks, heartbreak and senseless joy, true camaraderie and nail-biting success shared not just among players, but ownership, fans, the city and, indeed, the region. It’s your right to piss on their parade as much as you want, I guess, and somehow manage to view a truly remarkable, indeed stunning, accomplishment in a cynical light. But it says more about your sorry view of the world than about the Canes and their redneck hockey fans, who actually believed in something and instead of talking about it went out and did it. That’s true character, properly reflected in local coverage. I’m afraid your bitter screed showed no such virtue.

Patrik Jonsson

Atlanta, Ga.