Notebook: Horcoff says Brind'Amour cheats on faceoffs

Updated: June 7, 2006, 9:29 PM ET
Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Edmonton Oilers forward Shawn Horcoff isn't impressed by the faceoff technique of Carolina captain Rod Brind'Amour.

Rod Brind'Amour

In fact, he doesn't even think it's legal.

Brind'Amour has won 310 of his 514 faceoffs (60.31 percent) in the playoffs -- including 28 of 34 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals. He was third in the NHL during the regular season at 59.1 percent and has finished in the top five in three of four seasons.

Horcoff, who dropped 18 of 27 in the Oilers' 5-1 loss in the opener, has already complained about Brind'Amour's methods and the things he is allowed to get away with.

"It's just a problem that I tried to talk to the linesman a little about," Horcoff said Wednesday before Game 2. "It's not really anything that I really need to comment on, it's just the fact that I thought he was cheating a little bit and hopefully we'll change that."

Horcoff had enjoyed success on faceoffs before the finals, taking 55 percent against Detroit, San Jose and Anaheim.

Brind'Amour didn't buy into the claim that he gets special treatment from the officials.

"I can't even comment on that. I've never heard of that," Brind'Amour said. "I'd be surprised if there was special treatment, but I'd sign up for it."

Talking back
Erik Cole is staying busy during the Stanley Cup finals even though he is sidelined by a neck injury.

Cole watches his Carolina Hurricanes teammates from a high perch in the press box. Then he covers their backs away from the rink.

The right winger got into his car Tuesday, the day after the Hurricanes' 5-4 win over Edmonton in the series opener, and heard someone take a shot at Carolina captain Rod Brind'Amour.

An Oilers fan sent an e-mail to talk-show host Jim Rome that said even though he was disappointed his team gave up the winning goal on a busted play behind the net in the final seconds of Game 1, and the fact that starting goalie Dwayne Roloson was knocked out of the series, he was happy his players didn't resemble Brind'Amour -- whose face bears the markings and wear-and-tear of a 17-year NHL career.

Cole picked up his cell phone and speed-dialed the show's producer. Once his identity was confirmed, Cole was on the air.

"You might not look like Rod Brind'Amour, but nothing was uglier than that miscommunication behind the net," Cole said.

After Roloson was hurt with less than 6 minutes remaining, backup Ty Conklin flubbed the puck behind the net with teammate Jason Smith, allowing Brind'Amour to take it and stuff it in for the game-winner.

Bottled up
The Hurricanes offered bottles of the wine "Relentless" Syrah on Wednesday night to the first 20 fans who donated at least $200 to the Eastern North Carolina chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Carolina coach Peter Laviolette took on the fight against blood cancers after family friend Julia Rowe was diagnosed with leukemia. Her parents gave Laviolette a bottle of the wine -- signed by Julia -- earlier this year. It has since become an inspirational piece for the coach and his players.

Laviolette carried the bottle to the podium after the Hurricanes won the Eastern Conference championship last week.

"What Coach Laviolette did at his press conference was to bring enormous attention to the families and individuals suffering with lymphoma and leukemia," said Doug Shafer, president of Shafer Vineyards in Napa Valley. "It sure got our attention."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press