Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Nhl History Hinges on Carolina's Hopes

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Nhl History Hinges on Carolina's Hopes

Article excerpt

When the Carolina Hurricanes resumed their attempt to climb into the playoff picture Wednesday night at the Calgary Flames after an eight-day break for the All-Star Game, there was more on the line than merely a return to the postseason.

They lost, 3-1, but with every game defenseman Ron Hainsey plays, he makes a little more NHL history. And not the good kind.

When Hainsey played in his 800th NHL game last month, he set a new NHL record for most regular-season games played before making a playoff appearance, breaking the mark of 799 previously set by Olli Jokinen, who made the playoffs with Calgary in 2009.

Hainsey's new record is now at 805. And counting.

"That number, it's just not something I really spend much time with," Hainsey said. "I will say, I'd much rather have won three Cups by now and played 120 playoff games, but that just hasn't been the way it's gone, you know? We've got enough to worry about day after day in every season."

Hainsey is going to own that record for a while whether the Hurricanes make the playoffs or not. But if they can get into the playoffs for the first time since 2009, Hainsey would avoid breaking Guy Charron's more ominous record of 734 regular-season games without ever making a playoff appearance, set from 1970-81.

Hainsey came close once, years ago. In 2004, he played in 11 regular-season games for the Montreal Canadiens but didn't appear in a playoff game for the Canadiens as Montreal beat the Boston Bruins in seven games before getting swept by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

After that, he played for a succession of some of the NHL's sadder-sack franchises -the Columbus Blue Jackets and Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets - before joining the Hurricanes in 2013. The ThrashJets and Blue Jackets have combined for two playoff wins ever -wins, not series wins -while the Hurricanes are trying to put a tourniquet on a six-year drought. …

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