I remember Cole being an absolute wrecking ball in game 6, destroying everything in sight. But that was so long ago, who knows what tricks my old man brain is playing on me.
Game 6 of the 2006 Final may have been the worst game ever played by a Whaler/Canes team. They completely didn't show up. Never in it. Cole got hit early (Ethan Moreau?) and we all held our breath to see how he'd react. He got up, but it was hard to tell anything from that game, since the entire team completely sucked from the first drop of the puck.
Regardless, still a bad example. Cole was ready to play a while earlier, but there was no spot for him and thus, no point risking further injury. The only reason he played at all is because of Doug Weight's shoulder injury. If Weight hadn't been hurt, Cole would have watched the entire postseason. But again, he was ready to go a few weeks previous.
Yeah, that Game 6 was an absolute disaster. One of the most upsetting nights I've had as a fan, despite the knowledge that I would get to witness in person a SCF Game 7. Cole only played 12:27 in Game 7 (only Ladd and LaRose played less), but had 9 hits (next most were Ladd and Recchi with 5). If I recall correctly, he drew the penalty that led to Kaberle's Cup-winning powerplay goal.
Yeah, Cole came out flying in Game 7 and set the tone with a couple of big hits early. But I don't remember him doing anything memorable in Game 6, other than simply stepping on the ice which was a pretty big deal.
IIRC Vasicek also played a couple games in that series after being out all year and wasn't bad (but wasn't good either). It's good that Ruutu will have some time to round into shape before the p-word.