- Let the double-pitts-to-chesties commence.
So which do we want? Who is it that we'd like to throttle around like a Rottweiler's chewtoy first? Let's take a look. Here's my choices:
- 4. Vancouver Canucks (3 in the West, 101 points, 2 games remaining)
The good news: the Nucks don't go much deeper than that. Offensively, the Sedins may look a lot like Dangle and Z offensively, but they don't have the defensive acumen that the reigning Selke champ and the forward responsible for making superstars perform like grinders do. Sure, they've got guys like team U.S.A. hero Livonia-Native-Ryan-Kessler and Mikael "Fuck glass! I will shatter all the glass! Gimme the puck so I can shoot it at the glass!" Samuelsson, but the Wings have much better depth than Vancouver. That's why I'd still give us the advantage, but I'd still rather not see them in the quarterfinals, if given the opportunity otherwise.
Hamilton Kansas City WinnepegPhoenix Coyotes (4 in the West, 102 points, 3 games remaining)
- Giguere and Roloson
The second reason is much more frightening: the 'Yotes are owned by the NHL. (Note: at this part of the post, it is advisable to put on your tin foil hats). Just consider, when the Wings played the Pens, gary's favorite team last year, Pittsburgh was allowed to skate with 7 men on the ice, crosscheck guys in the back, use their sticks as weapons, and not receive deserved automatic suspensions. Just think of what a shitshow it would be to play a team that gary owns. Even if he doesn't have quite the same hardon for Shane Doan as he does for Rosby, his job rides on the success of a "franchise" in the desert (you know, that place where water doesn't freeze...). Let someone else overcome that bullshit.
- 2. San Jose Sharks (1 in the West, 109 points, 2 games remaining)
Plus, what makes anyone think they'll get deeper then they have in years past. Sure, they're a talented team. In January. When April in the D rolls around, they're notorious for first-round exits.
But wait! This is a different Sharks team!
Oh, yeah. How silly of me. Obviously the best way to cure whatever locker room issues your team has that keeps you from going deep is to add Danny Heatley to your roster. That guy's never been known to be a problem at all, right?
- 1. Chicago Blackhawks (2 in the West, 107 points, 3 games remaining)
No. So far, we've played 5 games against the Hawks. We've been injured for most of the season, and we've struggled. Despite this, we've got 5 points from those games to the Blackhawks' 6. Not too shabby. Also,
- Brian Campbell
- Coach Q = Our bitch.
Sure, they've got Niemi as well. Yawn. In Chicago, their goaltending and defensive depth are their Achilles Heels. Now, generally speaking, what is needed to go deep in the playoffs? I'll wait.
No I won't. It's goal tending and defensive depth.
So yeah, I like our odds against the favorite in the West. I'd be just fine and dandy with facing them in Round One. It would bring much joy to me to eliminate the team that shot their wad a bit early when celebrating how the mighty Wings have fallen from glory.
And really, the Hawks are talented. You have to figure that if we're going to make a push for #12, we're going to run into them eventually. Why not early, when we're healthy and riding a pretty hot streak here? Why not right away, when everyone in the windy city is shaking, frightened of facing the Dynastic Superpower lurking in the lower seeds? Plus, Quarterfinals tickets are much cheaper.
So there you have it. My wish list. The teams I'd most like to see, and those that I'd like to avoid. But you know what? Ball it up and throw it away. I'm not watching the standings, I'm not aiming for any particular matchup. At this point, I'm just rooting for the Wings to get yet another 100 point season. Because beyond that: it doesn't matter. I doesn't matter who we face, what team we draw, or where we have to travel. It doesn't matter if our opponents have good goaltenders, hot forwards, or strong defense. Because the Wings are stronger than ever. We've got essentially the same team that won the 2008 Stanley Cup, except with more depth. Our third and fourth line guys spent a good portion of the year with top line minutes and responsibilities. We've had to fight and scratch for every point available, just to make the playoffs. Some of our top performers spent time on the IR. They're ready now.
This Wings team is ready to make up for Game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals. They missed out on what is rightfully theirs by one. fucking. goal. Not this time. The Wings are about to barrel through the West like an out of control Toyota through a crowded daycare parking lot. And then? 4 games. 4 games to beat a leastern conference team, and take back that shiny 35 pound chalice. Back where it rightfully belongs: Hockeytown, U.S.A.
Bring em on, bitches. Bring em on.