Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Prayer to the Hockey Gods

No one's been fired yet, huh? Okay, well I guess we'll talk about the playoffs. A few weeks ago I was kind of feeling like I just didn't have it in me to watch the playoffs this year but then the Sabres-induced depression cleared and I realized that was crazy. I love hockey. I love the playoffs. I love the following my whims and jumping on and off bandwagons as I see fit. I love getting attached to players I don't usually watch much. I love the first couple of rounds when there's hockey on all night. I love staying up all night watching that game you think is never, ever going to end and then draaaagging myself to work the next morning. I'm not going to be one of those people who tries to tell you that it might even be more fun to not have my team in the playoffs because I don't really care who wins and loses now because seriously, that's bogus. I'd much rather be having a heart attack about the Sabres than cheering for teams I don't really care about. But this is fun too.

I was going to give you a break-down of who I think will and won't win but you know what? Not even I find that very interesting. I will freely admit that I don't watch a lot of regular season hockey outside of the Sabres so my opinion, particularly in the Western Conference, would be almost entirely based on other people's opinions. Instead I'm going to tell you who I'm cheering for. Even that can change suddenly, again, especially in the WC. I often find my whims and affections coming and going at the drop of a puck in the postseason. I suppose that is the one luxury of not having your team in. Here's the list as it shakes out now.


St. Louis Blues - Jay McKee. Bit of an underdog. Lots of excited young players in their first postseason. Also, Jay McKee. There are a number of former Sabres out there. The thought of most of them hoisting the Stanley Cup makes me a little nauseous. Not Jay. I love Jay. Go Jay, go!


Boston Bruins - At the beginning of the year I would've told you this would never, ever happen. I've gone on record many times as hating playing and watching the Bruins. My Bruins related tags are "Boston Bruins," "Boston Bruins are really really boring," and "I hate the Boston Bruins." But somewhere over the course of the season they really grew on me. They have some super talented players but mostly they play really well together and work hard, two things I, as a Sabres fan, didn't see too much of this year. I'd prefer that Phil Kessel not score any really important goals or win the Conn Smythe but other than him, I find them pretty likable.

Montreal Canadiens - I love those crazy, slightly disturbed Canadian fans and their stupid Ole Ole bit. I'm not holding my breath waiting for them to win the Cup but I'd be okay with it if they did. They have a number of players I really like and I generally find them fun to watch. When they're not sucking it up big time.

Detroit Red Wings - Yeah, yeah. They've won like, a billion times already. I love watching them play.

Columbus Blue Jackets - This is subject to change because it does seem like I end up hating the Blue Jackets every time I actually find myself watching them play. For now they can stay up here though because who doesn't love a good Cinderella story? Also, Rick Nash eats with a stuffed Oscar the Grouch. Awesome.

Calgary Flames - Jarome Iginla plus another crazy Canadian fan base.


New Jersey Devils - I don't hate the Devils with the passion that many hockey fans do. I actually find them a little enjoyable. I've yet to really warm up to them either though. I do like a number of Devils players however so I'd be okay with them winning, I think.

Pittsburgh Penguins - Not super enthusiastic about them. There's still something about them that really, really bothers me. But family sentiment wins out, making them an acceptable choice.

San Jose Sharks - I don't find them nearly as much fun to cheer for now that they're everyone's favorite but I could still definitely get behind them under the right circumstances. I find them to be a pretty likable group.

Vancouver Canucks - I find the Sedin twins a little creepy for some reason but for now, I'm really pretty neutral on the Canucks. For some reason I feel like I'll end up going strongly one way or the other with them, I'm just not sure which way it'll be yet.

Chicago Blackhawks - I feel like various entities - the NHL and TBN, just to name a couple - have been attempting to make me love the Blackhawks so I'm not super high on them. I've taken an obstinate, "I refuse!" stance thus far. But there's nothing really reprehensible about them either - even Brian Campbell seems okay from afar - so I can't really put them on the "Dear God NO!" list yet.

Philadelphia Flyers - You know what? I kinda like them. So sue me. I'm not rooting for them or anything primarily because of the Daniel Briere factor (no matter what his actual contribution, people in Buffalo will be acting like Briere single-handedly carried his very talented teammates to victory) but I wouldn't be completely devastated to see them win.


Anaheim Ducks - Does this need an explanation? They're of Satan.

Carolina Hurricanes - Them too.

Washington Capitals - I hate the Caps. I do. Don't ask me to explain how that works but I really, really hate them. I don't want them to win. I'm almost willing to cheer for the Rangers in the first round just because they're playing the Caps. (Not quite though. I'm pulling for spontaneous implosion.)

On a total side note, Mike Green as the Norris winner? Really? Once and for all, Mike Green is NOT the best defenseman in the NHL. The best offensive defenseman? Sure. Fine. Absolutely. But that's not what the Norris is. It says right there in the award description "to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position." ALL-ROUND. That means defensive ability should be included as well. Granted we only played the Caps four times this season but Green was a pretty legitimate defensive disaster in two of those games. TO BE THE BEST DEFENSEMAN IN THE LEAGUE A GUY SHOULD BE GOOD ON OFFENSE AND DEFENSE. I also think he should be one of his team's best penalty killers and he should play against the opposition's top line but that's my opinion. Award winning defensemen should be great on the defensive side of the puck. If I had a vote for the Norris it would go to Zdeno Chara. No contest. If Mike Green wins the Norris, it's a sure sign that the NHL needs an award specifically for defensive defensemen.

Where were we? Oh, right.

New York Rangers - Look, let's be honest. This is all about Chris Drury. Sean Avery is reprehensible. The Rangers are a gross and disgusting. But if Chris Drury wins a Cup this year, lots of people here are going to be irrational and insane and obnoxious and I will have no choice but to move out of Buffalo. This cannot happen.

Okay, here are my quick picks: Bruins in 5, Caps in 6, Canes in 6, Penguins in 7, Sharks in 6, Red Wings in 5, Blues in 7, Flames in 6.


Pookie said...

I actually find them a little enjoyable.Wow, you're a step ahead of me there!

(Kidding, kidding!)

Life_As_A_Redhead said...

I LOVE the new banner and I loved this post.

I agree with you that the post season can be just as fun without your "main men" making the playoffs.

However in addition to being a loyal Stars fan, I am also a loyal Pens fan. So their's some heart attack potential there for me.

Happy playoffs.

Vanek's Hair said...

Phew! I was worried I wouldn't get a playoff primer. A little disappointed no playoff Fantasy pool as I am very much in need of redeeming myself after last year. I still think I should have protested. But bygones are bygones.

Obviously I am rooting for the Caps because of Ovechkin. I am secure enough in my manhood to admit I get syrupy when I watch him. If he did the "Hot Stick" after 50 goals, I can only imagine his Cup celebration.

I am torn in the West. I like San Jose (so JR can get the Cup that has eluded him) and Calgary. Calgary plays an entertaining style and, really, how can you not get with a team whose arena is filled with red wearing crazy people who spent time on the "Red Mile" Of course, the "Red Mile" is a strip of bars outside the Calgary arena. Who can't get with a fan base, adorned in red and fueled up by a long stretch of bars.

I stick with my pick of San Jose to win it all. When I made it, I have no idea. I think it was after they played here. I know their history is awash in playoff failure. But they pass the eyeball test with flying colors. They are a team full of very large men who skate very proficiently. I don't think anyone less than 6'0" tall weighing less than 210 plays for them. And they forecheck like it is going to be outlawed. Of course, with the trap creeping back in, forechecking may soon be outlawed.

No team brings up strong hate for me. I guess I don't want the Flyers or Rangers to win because even if Briere or Drury were to be hit by a bus and play exactly the same minutes as I do throughout the playoffs, it will be all because of them if their respective team wins.

Norm said...

Glad to see I'm not the only one rooting for the Blues. I've adopted them as my temporary favorite team since the Sabres failed to make the playoffs.

I can't get behind the Bruins or Habs though......far too much bad Adams Division blood for that.


Heather B. said...

Pookie, real fans love their teams no matter what! I'm ashamed of you! Don't be such a tewl! :P

VH, sorry about the lack of a playoff pool. I just... forgot. Your revenge will just have to wait till next year.

I'm also leaning toward San Jose winning it all, I think. I'm not entirely sure yet. I'm in the process of doing picks right now and I'm a little stymied.

I guess I don't want the Flyers or Rangers to win because even if Briere or Drury were to be hit by a bus and play exactly the same minutes as I do throughout the playoffs, it will be all because of them if their respective team wins.Yes. Exactly.

Katebits said...

You know, after I stopped reading TBN, I realized that the percentage of people who actually care all that much about Briere and Drury is much lower than I thought. Seriously. We barely remembered to boo Briere the last time the Flyers were at HSBC. I think we're kind of getting over it! Personally, I could not care less anymore.

I'm also rooting for the Blues, but I have to confess, I havent watched a single game they've played all year. I'm shamelessly jumping on the "scrappy, media darling bandwagon". :D

Jennifer said...

As I stated in my prior email, your new banner is horribly sad and I don't like it!!!

While I truly wish the Sabres were in the playoffs, it's fun watching other teams and picking, not hockey boyfriends, but hockey one-night-stands. You know it's not going to last, but it's fun while it does...