Game 4 tonight at the Joe. Wings are staring down the barrel of an all important decision in their march to 12:
- Play like the Wings, smack the Coyotes around, go back to Phoenix 2-2; OR
- Play like the "team" that took the ice on Sunday and slapped every single fan of the Winged Wheel in the mouth, and all but give the Coyotes their first series win in franchise history on a silver platter with a side of octopus.
I have to believe that they're going to come out of the gate strong and take the win tonight. I say that I have to believe this, because if I don't I'll lose my mind and go live in the forest somewhere. In fact, if it weren't for Drew from Nightmare on Helm Street, I'd probably be in Lincoln Park Zoo right now, lathered up in Teriyaki sauce, bacon plastered all over me, trying to fight the Lions.
Ok. Deep breaths. Goosfraba.
Unfortunately, this tidbit has kept me just barely sociable since the shitshow last Sunday. I've been teetering on the edge of sanity. Though... isn't that just the story of this season? The Wings have kept us on our collective edge since they took the ice in Stockholm in October. At every turn, the cause looked helpless. Even the wins were scary. Then, just as it all looked hopeless, they turned it around. They took the ice and played like the dynasty they are. They started winning, and they didn't stop. They went from "unlikely to make the playoffs" to "bring it, motherfuckers. We've got 19 consecutive years of experience dominating this league."
Well, Wings, you've got us back on edge. You got us back to the point where our respective Wings Ulcers are growing at alarming rates. We're all just one weak goal away from a massive coronary.
Time to do it again.
After the shitshow on Sunday, I was quick to call out Jimmy. He's been far less than effective so far this series. Currently, he's rocking a .878 save %. He's let in 11 goals in the first three games. This had me upset. Scared. Worried. I called for The Oz.
Allow me to retract.
Don't get me wrong. If Babs decided to roll with the Wizard, I'd be fully behind it. The dude knows how to step up in big games, in big situations. He's done it before. Last year, Oz had an abysmal regular season and when the postseason rolled around he started gunning for the Conn Smythe. And had "the event that shall not be named" not occured, had the Wings been able to ice an almost healthy team, he would have deserved it. No argument will be entertained otherwise, because all contrary opinions are objectively stupid.
However, now's not the time. Howard had a lousy game. He's a rookie, and it's important to put him back in and see how he reacts. Though, if it were me, I'd have him on a real short leash. Like, one bad goal short. I don't care if we somehow end up 10-0 at the end of the first - if Howie shows any indication that he's not going to rebound and control this series I'd have Oz in there for the next stop.
But that's me. And I don't know what the fuck I'm talking about. I'm trying to believe that Babs has this under control. That after the shitshow, he dropped the hammer in the locker room. That he's got his gameplan, his lineups, his thought out strategy. That he's going to lead this team to 12.
Turns out, I'd likely be a terrible coach. I'd only really be able to inspire people if they were concerned for my health and well being, and didn't want me to risk actually exploding after a loss. After the shitshow, I imagine my locker room presence would be something like this:
- Draper: Guys, c'mon. What the hell? This team needs to get together and skate! Get to the tough areas! Get those shots! Grind it out!
- Lidstrom: Yeah, and we need to be tight on defense. We can't let them get past us like that.
- Enter Coach
- AAAAAAAARRRGHGH!! AAAAHRRHHRHHGGH!! ARE YOU AHHGIDGH WHAT AAAAGH SHIT HHHAAAAA MOTHERFUCK!
- Howard: Um... guys, I know I let in a couple bad ones there. I'm going to get my shit together... I'll bounce back. I'll have your back out there guys.
- AAAAGH! Throws garbage can. HOCKEY! THAT IS AAAAAH. THATS THE GAME!!! PLAY THAT GAME!!!! RRRAAAAAAAAHHH!
- Zetterberg: Um... Coach?
- WHAT!? WHAT!? WHAT!? WHAT!?
- Zetterberg: Are you Okay?
- MURDER! MURDER! MURDER! I NEED BLOOD! NOW, I AM BECOME DEATH, DESTROYER OF WORLDS!!!! HAHAHAHAHA
- Lilja: Guyses, maybees we shoulds go?
- NO! NO! SIT THERE! YOU SIT! I'm just... I'm just
- Datsyuk: Um... eh... coach. You are, um, smoke is come from you.
- RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRGGGHH! Bursts into flame.
We're fortunate that cooler heads are in charge. They recognize that we've got to get going - that we've got to step it up. I could be wrong, but I'm guessing that Babs didn't spend Monday in bed with the curtains drawn listening to My Chemical Romance. It's a bit more likely that he held practice, made sure everyone got the suck out of their systems, and are ready to take the ice in Game 4.
So what will happen tonight? Which Wings will we see? Will Kronwall continue to be the absolute worst player on the ice? Will he continue to suck harder than I've seen a player suck, on any team, Brett Fucking LEBDA included? Will Pasha get off the perimeter, and shoot the puck? Will the Mule be the Mule and start lighting the lamp three to four times a game? Will Bertuzzi be able to corral a fucking pass, and not whiff on the breakway chances given to him by good outlet passes? Will Helm use his speed to get through the neutral zone, chase down pucks, and set up some offensive chances? Will Lidstrom go back to being perfect? Will fucking ANYONE get to the slot?
One can only hope. Otherwise - there goes my sanity.