Today we continue out reprogramming in preparation for the Sabre-less playoffs. Yesterday, we temporarily cast the Sabres aside. Today, we take our first tentative glimpse at a world of hockey that does not include our beloved team.
Lesson # 2:
Facing the Reality of the Playoff Situation
Take a good hard look. I know it’s difficult, but force yourself if necessary. Just look at him. Face it.
Damn you, Drury.
It is a scientific fact that Chris Drury without a beard looks like a rat-faced geek, but unfortunately, it is not beardless Drury we are concerned with today. No, today we must come to terms with the far more visually compelling and tantalizingly dangerous Drury. Today, we must face, Playoff Beard Drury.
Frankly, he’s the least of our worries.
The EC Playoffs are a dreadful sight to behold. Once the Sabres were eliminated from the playoffs, I was reduced to pinning my hopes on the Senators falling all the way out. Once that became a mathematical impossibility (thanks a LOT, Canes) I had to admit that the absolute worst had occurred. The Sens, the Flyers, the Rangers, and the Caps, are ALL in the playoffs, and the Sabres are done. The scope of the disaster is still difficult to comprehend, but this is the situation that the Hockey Gods have handed us, and this is the situation that we must accept with grace and dignity.
I see two reasons for hope.
First of all, the EC is fairly evenly matched from a villian/rooting interest perspective. In all the match-ups, I can pick a clear “Katebits Semi-Endorsed If Not Fully Beloved” team with the exception of Caps/Flyers. Caps are the clear choice there, but that’s really only because the Flyers are so grody. (I have highly conflicted feelings about the Capitals and I’m curious to see where the playoffs take me as far as they go.)
The second reason for hope is the Western Conference. The Western Conference is jam PACKED with teams I know nothing about, and therefore don’t hate. This is kind of a mixed blessing because while I don’t hate most of those teams, it’s like starting from scratch. I have nothing to grab onto and no point of reference. All I know is that I don’t want Brian Campbell to win the Cup, so that eliminates the Sharks, and I am grossed out by the Ducks….but after that, the competition for my heart is pretty wide open. This week I have to work every evening, so I will miss all the early starting games, but I’m pretty excited to watch the late start Wild/Avs series once I’m nestled back into TWC Headquarters each night.
So, the situation is this: Chris Drury is going to be skating around with his fetching play-off beard being all hot and clutch for the DISGUSTING RANGERS, and it is almost certain that somewhere along the way, a team I hate will win a playoff series. On the other hand, particularly in the Western Conference, there is a lot of opportunity for a yet-to-be-discovered team to capture my fancy. It’s not a good situation, but now that I’ve sat down and faced the cold hard facts, I think I’m beginning to believe that I can do this. I can watch the playoffs even if the Sabres aren’t involved.
Please join me tomorrow for the third and final lesson of our course on enjoying the playoffs, “It’s Still Hockey, And it’s Still Being Performed By Hockey Players: It Can’t Be All Bad.”