NEWARK. N.J. — It was a theory, a suggestion, an attempt at finding an answer for the Canes' lackluster 4-1 playoff loss to the New Jersey Devils.
And Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice was having none of it.
Was it possible, Maurice was asked, that his team pushed so hard, for so long, and played so well in trying to make the playoffs that they have little left for the playoffs, physically or emotionally? That perhaps they achieved their goal this season, making the playoffs for the first time since 2006, and now have little else to give?
"I don't think so," he said. "I think there's a difference in how you get there. The bulk of the teams got in there the last week.
"We didn't suffer a terrible defeat and then win a huge game and bounce back and forth. Prior to us clinching, we only lost a couple of games in regulation in almost a two-month period, so we didn't emotionally suffer.
"I think that's where you spend it. That's absolutely not an excuse for our team at all, because we didn't go through that. ... We weren't suffering those real swings that saps your energy. So I don't see that."
So what was the cause of such a one-sided beating by the Devils?
"We had a good dose of playoff hockey handed to us," Maurice said. "We didn't play very well. They played very well."
Maybe it was just that simple.