I came to the realization earlier today that I'm watching a series in which the Red Wings are huge underdogs. I knew this going in, but the realization was more about how I have never had to do this before. Never. Neither have you, if you're my age. Isn't that completely stupid? That's 20 years of being spoiled unlike any other fanbase in North American sports. Not just the success, but the incomparable level of consistency of always being either the favorite or at worst, being an even match. It's 10-month-old-milk level of spoiled. It's the forgotten-tenderloin-in-the-back-of-the-fridge-from-last-summer spoiled. We are a smelly generation of sports fans.
Watching from this end is new and exciting. The team is winning when they aren't really supposed to. They upended the 2-seeded Ducks and now have a series lead against the mighty Blackhawks. FAR from over, very far, I know. But I wasn't expecting to associate the word "fun" as much as I am with this run and I'm loving it.
" :(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((" -- Jonathan Toews. Bullets:
- One of the pregame stories from the Blackhawks' perspective was Viktor Stalberg finally being unscratched by Joel Quenneville. This came after Dan Carcillo accidentally burned those incriminating pictures of his head coach while setting ants on fire. Stalberg's impact was immediately felt and I mean literally because he nearly died flying shoulders-first into the boards (Courtesy @worldofisaac.) If you are suspicious of Chicago's medical staff clearing Stalberg to come back out after that hit just remember that it's impossible to have a concussion when you no longer have a head.
- A brief list of things I care less about than the "booing Marian Hossa" discussion:
- This game was mad as hell. It was a California roll of angry, intense playoff hockey. It was hot wasabi mustard into an open wound. It was a tempura-ary moment of great hockey action. It was soy exciting. Whoa! What's with all the sushi jokes you're probably thinking. Well gang after 27 years of thinking I didn't like sushi, it turns out that I just don't like eating un-fried white rice and grass. And I just wanna yell from the rooftops about the joys of sushi now. Eat sushi guys, don't watch hockey.
- On the day that he retires from hockey, Dan Cleary is going to get hit by a car while walking across the street.
- NYQUIST (again courtesy @worldofisaac. Follow him)
- It's apparent now that the development of Gustav Nyquist was handled with perfection. I made jokes, you made jokes, I made some more jokes, but alas: Holland and Babcock chained him down for what felt like years longer than he needed to be and now that he has been unleashed, he's deking the balls off of guys like Brent Seabrook to make up for lost time. This goal was so great. After the 1st period (shots were 15-9 Chicago) it felt like it was going to turn into another game where Jimmy Howard had to be invincible for Detroit to even have a chance. Nyquist's goal changed that feeling, and the fact that we got the next one helped too.
- Miller, Eaves and Emmerton teamed up for that second goal. Not sure how Babcock can change the lineup around anymore, if he's even thinking about it (of course he is). Their PK work was huge too, which came in handy considering that Brendan Smith has an ass rash that only subsides when the cooling touch of the penalty box bench caresses it.
- Johan Franzen was boarded and then right after that Patrick Kane scored a goal instead of a penalty being called but then the Hawks appeared to score another and the refs said no-goal for some reason so things evened up I guess and this is the only sentence I will say about refs.
- Pavel Datsyuk. PAVEL DATSYUK. pvllllllll
- Sort of bizarre but here it goes: I don't dislike Pierre McGuire. Sure he looks like a penis and isn't very good at his job and has perfected the Name That Squirt game to a disturbing degree, but at least he does a good job of balancing his impossibly awkward analysis between the two teams. Olczyk? I hope that guy does the mechanical pencil thing I talked about that one time.
- Dan Cleary on Bryan Bickell after the game: "I don't think we'll be exchanging Christmas cards anytime soon." Cleary was then hit by a car.
- Ho hum Jimmy stopped 39 of 40 shots no biggie. He's pretty good, deal with it.
- Niklas Kronwall played 26 minutes. Not doing a ton of complaining about the guy over the last several weeks has felt awesome.
- Drew Miller's beard being completely black is the biggest disappointment of the playoffs so far.
- This was the first time that the Red Wings beat the Blackhawks in regulation at home since October 8th, 2009, a span of 10 games. For one night, at least, it was not Joel Louis Arena.
- Toews is this series' Corey Perry. Doesn't have a goal in the playoffs, is getting a ton of shots on net, and probably wants to kill Jimmy Howard.