The Canes' Scott Walker has always been considered one of the "tough guys" of hockey.
"People talk about me like that," he said today. "But it doesn't matter how tough you are when something like this happens."
Walker knew as he played the Boston Bruins series that his wife, Julie, had been diagnosed with cervical cancer. The cancer is treatable and Julie Walker is expected to make a complete recovery.
"She's strong," Walker said. "She'll get through it.
"From what I understand, they caught it early. We expect a full recovery."
Walker said his teammates and their wives have been supportive. The wives, in particular, were helpful with the team on the road in the playoffs.
"That's the great thing about being a hockey player — the support," he said.
Walker joked that Sergei Samsonov had been losing to him in ping-pong recently, saying maybe "Sammy" was letting him win to make him fell better.
Walker scored the winning goal in Game 7 against the Bruins, then choked up in doing post-game interviews. It was his first career playoff goal, but he had Julie on his mind.
"Just trying to do my job ... and keep my mind as calm as I could," he said of playing the game. "So much emotion came out of me. I was thinking how excited she was going to be. That's all I could think about.
"I called her and she was overjoyed, then I did more interviews. It was emotional."
Canes coach Paul Maurice said he learned of Julie Walker's cancer last Saturday.
"He made others feel better by saying, 'It's OK, we're going to get through this,'" Maurice said. "I've never been happier in my life for anyone to score a goal."