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Monday, June 19, 2006
Monday's morning skate at Cup finals

ESPN.com

RALEIGH, N.C. -- It's the last morning skate of the season!

Live (sort of) from the Stanley Cup finals, NHL writer Scott Burnside and NHL editor Joy Russo give you a rink-side play-by-play.

Russo: We've survived the trek back to Raleigh, and the Canes are skating first.

Russo: Coach Peter Laviolette out there this morning. He was not around for the Game 6 morning skate.

Burnside: The seats down low in the RBC Center are filled with fans. They cheer as the players and coaching staff pass by. Some fans are holding a big sign attached to a long white pole. It's a big poster from the movie "Miracle," and they've covered the USA crest with a homemade Hurricanes crest and the player is holding a homemade Stanley Cup. "Whatever It Takes" is written across the bottom.

Russo: That's been the team's theme all playoffs long.

Russo: Doug Weight is suited up and is taking part in the morning skate. His right shoulder appears to have extra padding underneath his jersey, and his first few shots aren't full out.

Burnside: Captain Rod Brind'Amour is on hand. He missed the media availability Sunday, ostensibly because it was Father's Day. The fact Brind'Amour begged off caused some among the media contingent to grumble, suggesting it was his duty to speak for the team in the wake of Saturday's disheartening loss in Edmonton. It is fair criticism. If fourth-line center Kevyn Adams and Glen Wesley and rookie Cam Ward can spare an hour, or whatever it took, to come to the RBC Center to answer a few questions, it stands to reason Brind'Amour might have, too.

But it is unfair to link Brind'Amour's absence to his leadership skills. We in the media sometimes give greater importance to issues that affect us directly as opposed to the greater issues of the game or the team. That's true in this case.

Russo: Could you imagine if Weight plays tonight?

Burnside We have two words for Weight: Ethan Moreau. Actually, four words: Ethan Moreau, Raffi Torres.

Russo: Weight has left the ice after about 15 minutes. We'll try to get the scoop soon on his status, but it might come down the wire to game time.

Russo: The Canes still on the ice are playing a friendly scrum game on one side of the ice. Even a few of the assistants are getting into it.

Russo: The Canes are wrapping things up. We'll be back in a bit for the Oilers' skate.

Russo: The Oilers are out on the ice.

Burnside: Here's the thing about the Weight mystery. Do you think the Edmonton Oilers care at all whether the Canes use a center with a gimpy shoulder? The answer is no. They do not care. What is a given is that, like Erik Cole on Saturday, if Weight plays, he will be punished.

Russo: Moreau gave Cole a wicked hit into the boards on Cole's first shift in Game 6.

Burnside: Wonder whether any of the Oilers will look around the RBC Center and wonder whether they'll ever get back to this space again -- the morning of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. I bet there'll be a few shivers as they go off the ice.

Russo: Chris Pronger has already left the skate after 10 minutes. Must be saving it up for the game.

Russo: Dwayne Roloson is taking in the morning skate from the stands, climbing stairs without a brace today.

Russo: Again, the atmosphere during the Oilers' skate seems a lot more loose than the Hurricanes' did.

Russo: Michael Peca has just gone through repeated faceoff drills at center ice. As he skates off the ice, an Oilers fan screams out, "Way to go Pecs. Refuse to lose!"

Russo: The latest installment of the Oilers' tip-in game has ended with Ty Conklin performing very well. As Conklin jokingly tried to shake hands with Shawn Horcoff, the forward yelled out an expletive we cannot repeat here. Laughs everywhere.

Russo: The Oilers are about done here. Be sure to check in with us for all tonight's coverage of Game 7. Enjoy the pucks!