Saturday, April 5, 2008

Go West, Young Man

While I would much rather be rooting for the Sabres in the playoffs, it's possible that it might be kind of fun to watch the playoffs with no real emotional investment. I can hop on a bandwagon and not be devastated if that bandwagon derails some time in the next couple of months. I'll just hop on another one. So because I know you're all dying to know, let's take a look at who Heather B. will be cheering for on the Western side of things.

Before we get started, I will say that this is all sure to change once I actually start watching games especially in the Western Conference where I really know very little about the teams. Every post-season I find myself cheering for someone I never really predicted (never at the expense of the Sabres of course). Last year it was Marty Turco and the Dallas Stars. And sometimes, if a match-up is really bad, I find myself getting sucked into a team and then looking back and wondering what I was thinking. Last year I was fully behind the Ducks in the Finals even though I don't really hate the Sens and I can boil it down to a few very basic reasons: The brutal loss to the Sens was too fresh as was my outrage at Daniel Alfredsson's boarding of Henrik Tallinder and I really warmed to the stories of J.S. Giguere's sick baby, Teemu Selanne flying all his childhood friends in from Finland to watch the Finals and Scott and Rob Niedermayer winning a Cup together. Now I hate the Ducks. I really disliked Selanne and Niedermayer's half retirements and I think Chris Pronger is a blight on the NHL (how I overlooked that, I don't know). I can't believe I was rooting for them. But I was. Behold the power of the Playoff Goggles. Anyway... all that to say, this is where I stand now but don't hold me to it.

I know some people hate the Red Wings because they've won so many Cups and I know a few people who still hate them for how much press they got during that run. And I know some people around here hate them because of Dominik Hasek. I wasn't really following hockey very closely during their last run or during most of Hasek's Buffalo career so I have no real beef with the Red Wings. In fact, I'd be fine with them winning for one reason.

Nicklas Lidstrom.

Seriously, loving defense the way I do, how could I not love Nick Lidstrom? He's amazing. He boggles my mind. He's so good on both the defensive and offensive sides and he's been that good for a long time now. I wish we played him more often because I would love to watch him in person where I could just focus on him and what he's doing on the ice. On top of being amazingly talented, he never resorts to dirty play and he seems like a heck of a nice guy. So yeah, I could get behind seeing him with another Stanley Cup if it comes to that.

This is a heart-breaker because I really do like the Sharks. I like Evgeni Nabokov and I love Joe Thornton. I'd like to see them do well. But they went and added Brian Campbell and guys, I don't think I can handle Brian Campbell winning a Stanley Cup. I can't handle a summer of Bucky Gleason crowing (because that's what he'd be doing) about how the great and wonderful Campbell was mistreated by Buffalo and went on to bigger and better things with an organization that really cares about its team and players. And just when I was thinking maybe I could handle it because once upon a time I did really like Brian Campbell and I thought maybe my heart would soften a little once I actually saw him hoisting that Cup with his big ear-to-ear grin, I read an article that included this quote from him: “I wanted to stay in Buffalo, we all did,” Campbell said after the trade that made a very good San Jose team even better. “Buffalo didn’t want to pay us.”

That quote made me totally cranky. First of all, way to speak for everyone who has ever left Buffalo. Second of all, way to look stupid doing it since in a couple of cases Buffalo did want to pay them and the players just chose to go elsewhere. And third of all, is it that hard to just go away gracefully? Really? I feel like that's not really asking that much.

So while it is with much sadness that I cast aside the Sharks and Brian Campbell, cast them aside I will. (I hope you do great, Joe.)

Let's see... Here's what I know about the Wild. Marion Gaborik and Mikko Koivu play for them and their jerseys are very Christmas-y. (I like them although it is a little excessive when paired with the green pants.) I have nothing against them in theory and I think Minnesota would adore having a Cup champion so that's cool. But I always hear about them playing defensive hockey and that worries me. If I sit down to watch them play and it's like watching Boston, I'm out. No way I can get behind that.

I hate just about everyone on this team so no thanks. I disliked Selanne and Niedermayer playing half the season and I hated the way the media slobbered all over Niedermayer's triumphant return. I despise the way Chris Pronger is handled with kid gloves and constantly getting special treatment no matter how dangerous his actions are to other players. And while this is not directly related, I think one of the funniest moments of the season was J.S. Giguere actually ducking a shot that then sailed over him and into the net. What a doofus. I wish I could find video because it was hysterical. Anyway, Ducks... It was nice rooting for you guys last season but I'm sorry to say, it was just a fling.

Stay tuned for part 2!


Gregk said...

I really, really, really hope that Toronto beats the Habs tonight and that Philly can beat Pittsburgh on Sunday. Why? Because this would cause the 1 - 8 matchup to be Pittsburgh - Ottawa, and I can't wait to see Pittsburgh summarily dismiss the Sens as revenge for last year. That'll rock.

Other than that, I think I will be approaching the playoffs this year by not rooting for some team to win, but rooting for the team I hate more to lose, whatever the matchup.

DS said...

oh, gregk, as a pens fan I appreciate the thought, but here I was just coming to say PLEASE, please, pleeeeeeeeeease beat Boston tonight, because -

Do you know how hilarious it would be to have the Caps play the Sens first round? And with the Caps as the higher seed yet?? Who would've seen that in December?

Anonymous said...

i read your coment about the wild and would like to share some info. when they forst started they where a very very big defensive minded team. no that they players they have added they play more offensive minded alought they still play great d they can ring up points quick with gabby,koivo,bouchar and they also have the 4 of the top 10 toughest players in the game. fedourik, simon and the beast boogard. they are a fun team to watch and I am sure you will enjoy.

Heather B. said...

Anonymous, I'm definitely going to give the Wild a try. If nothing else, I'm looking forward to really seeing Gaborik since we never see him during the season. If you're a Wild fan, good luck!

Meg said...

The Red Wings just have a lot of likable players. I'm kind of wishy-washy on who in the West I'll cheer for but they're not one of the teams I'm actively wishing does badly.

shelli said...

I am with you, GregK. Sometimes I think it is more satisfying to root against a team you hate than rooting for your favorite.

I can't wait to root against the Rangers. Muahahahaha!

Heather B. said...

I agree that it can be fun to root against a team you hate - and it probably will happen at some point because I hate most of the teams on the EC side - but I don't deal with that nearly as healthily. I'm FAR more upset when a team I'm rooting against wins than I am when a team I'm rooting for loses. The hate just simmers. BOOOOOOOOOO!

Amy said...

Here's the Giguere ducking video.

Anonymous said...

Apparently my wordpress id doesn't work here, but it' McGuffers... Heather the best part of the "Giguere ducking goal" was Kevin Sylvestor doing the highlights during intermission and saying,"Will someone tell Giguere he's wearing a helmet?" Then the next shot is Giggy sitting on the bench after getting pulled and slamming the wall next to some 70's porn star looking dude with a funky black mustache and Kevin goes "So he goes back to the bench and complains to Yanni." I'm gonna miss Kevin, Rob and Mike so much this summer.

oh, and Brian Campbell should have been a mime.

Heather B. said...

mcguffers! Nice to see you! I totally agree that Kevin, Roby, and Rob were part of why that Giguere clip was so amusing. They showed it repeatedly throughout our game with Kevin making the Yanni crack every time and by the end of the night they were collapsing in giggles just in anticipation. So funny.

mcguffers said...

Ahaha I know! Oh and it was great how Rob didn't get the whole pun with Giggy being a duck and ducking until the third time they played it. I can just picture Kevin slowly shaking his head in disbelief.

S.A.M. said...

I think anything that causes Rayzor to GIGGLE is worth watching. ;) Like the 1970s Roby flashback that had Rob giggling so hard he couldn't breathe.. that was priceless!

as for the playoff pics, I'll keep my old standbys, the Red Wings (been a fan since 1994) and the Devils (been a fan since at least 2000, maybe before, I can't really trace that one). There are some other teams I can enjoy, but I'd have to break it down some more to figure it out. I think the Caps are in there for sure, don't know who else..

I can't root for the sharks- share the sentiment (or lack thereof LOL) on Soupy, and I can't stand Joe Thornton. He just bugs me for reasons unknown.

I hate hate hate hate hate the Ducks. I think they are in line with the Rangers and Flyers, though not quite to the level of the Sens or Avs.

Kate said...

Rob Ray has been a revelation for me this year. I love him!

Heather, I think we should root for the Wild. Hopefully this will be the only year that Soupy tarnishes the Sharks. I'm praying he signs with the Flames or something, and we never hear from him again.

Pookie said...

I'm praying he signs with the Flames or something, and we never hear from him again.

Morgan once suggested trading Lyle Odelin to the Moon for a microbe to be named later. I'm hoping some Moon team offers Soupy 27 million Moon microbes for 3 years and he's like, "That's the greatest offer ever!" only to realize that 1 million Moon microbes equals $.10.

Mark B said...

I'm hitching my ride to the Minnesota Wild for the whole thing. I gotta admit that I've hardly seen them play but Minnesota is a very good hockey town, like Buffalo in that respect, and I think I'll enjoy watching Gaborik and wishing Max would have become like him. Plus I despise just about everyone in the East with exception of maybe Washington.