SUNDAY, SUNDAY, SUNDAY! The Western Conference Final begins today pitting the St. Louis Blues against the San Jose Sharks in a battle of "YAY WE CAN ONLY SUCK AT HOCKEY FOR SO LONG BEFORE WE FINALLY GET A FAVORABLE OPPONENT!" As Helmerroids said in our Predictions post, at least one team is going to overcome their narrative of choking this post season. So yeah, there's that...
LAST GAME'S RECAP
I hate to admit this, really I do. But, the Tampa Bay Lightning might deserve more credit than I've wanted to give them. After defeating two desperately inferior opponents in 5 games (yeah, Tampa OWNED us), they skated onto the Pittsburgh Penguins' home ice and basically mooned and laughed at the entire Pens team. Losing the Berlin Wall on skates that is Ben Bishop (not that he's an unbeatable wall, he's just BIG and immobile) in the first period to a move that looked eerily similar to how Jimmy Howard injured himself in 2015, they then jumped out to a 3-0 lead in hostile territory before finally surrendering one goal for a final score of 3-1 and the Game 1 victory. This one had all the feeling of Tampa saying "Superstars? We don't need no stinkin' Superstars!", dropping the mic, skating off ice, hopping into a stretch limo convertible, sliding their Wayfarers down and telling the Penguins "Deal With It" before driving back to their hotel.
St. Louis Blues vs San Jose Sharks (Game 1), 8:00PM EDT - NBCSN
At least we have some matinee hockey this afternoon, even if it IS these two loathsome squads. These teams... wait, what? 8:00PM start? What the hell is this??? WHERE IS MY SUNDAY MATINEE HOCKEY! Does the NHL scheduling office really think they're going to compete with Game Of Thrones in mid-season form??? You know nothing, Gary Bettman...
Why You Care Enough To Watch: OK, suspend our historic hatred for both these teams for just a second. I know it's tough, but stick with me on this. Neither of these teams have ever won the Stanley Cup. Hell, neither of them have ever won a Conference Championship. And that's guaranteed to change for one of these teams, starting tonight. Both of these teams will undoubtedly feel the weight of history pressing down on them, and the drive and hunger to overcome that should make for some exciting hockey. Plus, with each victory, St. Louis gets to lord more and more success over the Chicago Blackhawks fans, and San Jose can do the same to L.A. Kings and Anaheim Ducks fans. At the end of the day, it's not just about watching good hockey - it's also about convincing yourself that your enemies are just as miserable as you are.