WESTERN CONFERENCE QUARTERFINALS :: GAME 1
This is the beginning. It's what you've been waiting for. Ever since the final horn sounded in Game 5 against the Sharks last year, the Wings have been looking forward to this moment: the start of the playoffs. A chance for redemption, and to prove that last year was a fluke. Out in the second round? Not acceptable.
The playoffs in Detroit is about one thing: winning the Stanley Cup. Tonight begins that quest. Standing in the way are the Phoenix Coyotes, a familiar foe. You're going to hear a lot of talk about how no one thinks the Coyotes have a chance, and about how they are being "disrespected" because pundits are picking the Wings. None of that matters. The only thing that matters right now is that the Wings focus on the task at hand, and nothing else. If the Wings play the way they are capable, they will win.
To the Wing players, I say this: remember that feeling from last year; the disappointment, the anger, the hurt. Use it. Let it feed your drive. Make a vow to each other and to yourselves that you will not allow that feeling again.
It begins tonight. 16 wins to the ultimate prize. Leave it all on the ice. Show the league that the Cup is yours, and no one is going to take it away from you.
This is your game thread. Let the playoffs begin.
Note: that beauty of a motivational speech was written by Graham. I started to edit the game thread but he said he had an idea so I let him run with it.