There are two outcomes from the regular season. Two real outcomes. There aren’t “three possible first round matchups” or “100 different point scenarios…all dependent on the moon, my jock itch and a mother’s love…that really matter.”
When the regular season ends, you either get into the playoffs or you don’t. The rankings, the seedings, the matchups…the divisional winners and president’s trophy studs…they’re footnotes. If you don’t believe me, ask the 2008 Sharks, the 2009 Caps or the 2010. None of them ever laid a hand on the Cup.
All of this jockeying…all of this speculation about if we can somehow shimmy our way into a Phoenix first round matchup instead of a date with Nashville…stop. Just stop it. It’s embarrassing and you’re wearing me the fuck out. This discussion isn’t all that different than the one they’re having in Winnipeg right now where they’re content with a solid first season, even if the playoffs didn’t come through. That’s perfectly fine – for The Jets.
This is Hockeytown.
…but you’d never know it by the way people are talking. This is a fanbase that’s scared shitless by a season of streaks…of records and Marches…of injuries and expectations and ultimately, a playoff birth. You know what they call those ups and downs? They call that a hockey season. They call that life as an NHL fan in a city where the average cabbie can break down the left wing lock.
I’m having none of this.
Easy first round matchup? I’d rather we draw Nashville. I’d rather we go into Saturday and beat the living shit out of Hawks and roll into next week having done at least one thing right this month. Don’t give me Phoenix or LA in the first round. Don’t give me some half-pint of a division winner to tinker with for six games.
Give me the real thing.
I want to know what we’ve got. I want to know if this ambling ship is ready for the high seas. If it’s not…if we’re no better than a shootout win over the Blues, an embarrassment to the BJ’s and a letdown to the Devils…just tell me now. Don’t jerk me around for three weeks and help me lie to myself, thinking that some mediocre first round passage means anything. This is the moment where the pants come down and you figure out who the real men are. At least it should be.
Is this team worth a rat’s ass? I genuinely don’t know, but I desperately want to, and no bitching…pissing…moaning…’intentionally blown’ game…or first round matchup against the Coyotes is going to give me that answer.
When our boys…or men…take the ice against Chicago, don’t for one second sit there hoping for some squabbling scenario where we show well but manage to lose the game and drop into the sixth seed. Put on your red, grab a beer, turn up the volume and cheer for the moment of truth right around the corner.
You’re a Wings fan, damnit. It’s time to start acting like one.