No matter what is said about the Carolina Hurricanes‘ win on Wednesday night over the Philadelphia Flyers, there will only be one thing that stands out above the rest: Nathan Gerbe‘s between-the-legs goal on Steve Mason.
Everyone has more than likely seen it, and those who haven’t are probably about to in the next few minutes. While it counted the same on the scoreboard and in the stat sheets, Gerbe’s goal counted for a ton more than it did on paper. On one hand, it was a way for Gerbe to kick start the lower lines’ offense. On the other, it was a way to let the Flyers know that Carolina is not to be taken lightly.
The biggest thing of all, however, had nothing to do with that specific game: it shows they’re having fun playing hockey.
Even in their biggest moments, the Hurricanes were getting out there and getting things done. While Alexander Semin has gone into sniper mode, logging a goal of his own against Philadelphia, Jeff Skinner is blowing minds — and it’s all being done with stern intensity. There may have been laughs and smiles on the bench and in the dressing room, but it was all business on the ice.
Now with Gerbe’s goal making its way around the highlight-reel circuit, everyone has taken notice. They already knew about Skinner and Semin; they know that Anton Khudobin is the truth and that Cam Ward‘s days might be numbered — they’re finally using Carolina’s name in the same sentence with “did you see that?”
The value of having fun on the ice is never to be underestimated. A team that is having fun is a team that isn’t thinking about their problems. They’re thinking about why they became hockey players in the first place, and are getting back to the fundamentals of their game. A team having fun is a relaxed team not thinking about weather postponements or the standings. Once they start having fun again, the seams will start to mend themselves.
Gerbe is having fun, and it’s time the rest of the team joined in.