June 20, 2006
Series bigger than Ladd's KO of Roloson
By ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun
RALEIGH -- He was the villain, the guy who put Dwayne Roloson on the shelf and, most people thought at the time, changed the course of the Stanley Cup final between the Carolina Hurricanes and Edmonton Oilers.
Andrew Ladd figures the Hurricanes deserve more credit than that.
Ladd, who crashed into Roloson on a check by Marc-Andre Bergeron of the Oilers late in Game 1, and put Edmonton's stopper out with a sprained right knee, isn't the reason Carolina hoisted the Stanley Cup last night after a 3-1 win in Game 7 at the RBC Center.
SET A STANDARD
He's just one of many.
"We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to play well," said the 20-year-old rookie forward from Maple Ridge, B.C. "Every guy in here has known what we have to do.
"We set a standard for ourselves. We don't accept anything less."
While it goes without saying the loss of Roloson hurt the Oilers, Ladd and the Hurricanes didn't simply parlay a lucky break, or sprain, into the win.
With a mix of experienced veterans like Mark Recchi, Glen Wesley, Rod Brind 'Amour and Doug Weight and kids like Ladd, Eric Staal and rookie goalie Cam Ward, the Hurricanes made their own breaks and overcame a hell-bent Oilers team in Game 7.
"We've faced a lot of good goalies in these playoffs," said Ladd, who played junior with the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL.
"I thought (Jussi) Markkanen played well for them. For us, it's been a matter of executing and keeping things simple. It's the same old thing in the playoffs.
"You've got to get gritty goals because there's not many pretty ones."
The Hurricanes have been a resilient, stubborn and underrated team since the post-season began.
They overcame Montreal, New Jersey and Buffalo to set the stage for this showdown. In the end, they were the better team.
"You're so focused on each game, you just try to take in what you can from each game," said Ladd, asked if he's enjoyed the ride.
"It's probably different for somebody like me than the guys who have been working at it for 15 years.
"They probably have a little more appreciation for it than we do. But, for a young guy, it's just exciting to be on this stage."