Having been relieved of the burden of “caring” about our team’s playoff potential before the regular season ended, and with the madness of the play-in rounds (and the entire earth in general), you may be finding it difficult to get back in the swing of things and invest your energy in hockey again.
The first thing to do, is to decide which teams you wouldn’t mind seeing succeed and which teams you look forward to seeing crushed into dense little puddles of sadness. Well gang, I am here to help you sort out which teams deserve your temporary loyalty before going back to hating them.
The enemy of your enemy is your friend...please ignore our weird mascot.
Why to bandwagon: Your hatred of Chicago can carry you through the first round if nothing else will. And should the Avs advance you can keep on rolling with Vegas to the conference finals because grudges never die.
You may also be a fan of Tomas Nosek. And, it could be funny to see Marc-Andre Fleury have success while the Penguins sit at home.
Why not: Bandwagoning the first seed? Boring. They won’t be the newest team anymore with Seattle joining the league, but they are still new and have had too much success and once you remember that you will be annoyed all over again.
We actually have added more than three players since 2011.
Why to bandwagon: Maybe grudges DO die and now you want to support the city of Chicago even if you don’t necessarily care for the hockey team. Or, you’re hoping the Hawks and Avs meet in the next round and tear each other to shreds clearing the path for your real bandwagon team?
Why not: They still have players from when the Wings were in the West and it’s fun to see them sad. Perhaps you’re still annoyed that they had the 3rd overall pick last year?
We are very nice and fun and our fanbase would welcome you!
Why to bandwagon: The past is in the past and we aren’t even in the West anymore. They are actually a fun team to watch with some great players if you just give them a chance and get to know them!
Sidebar: Look, if you want to cheer for the Avs that’s your business but I will give that as much consideration as I give people when they tell me I should watch The Big Bang Theory because “you’ll love it”. None.
Why to hate: The 90s? Yeah, we’re gonna die mad about it.
Ok fine, for a more modern reason I invite you to churn up your anger at the farce of a draft lottery. Just think how frustrating Arizona advancing is for the NHL who is already sweating over the elimination of teams with marketable superstars and “enthusiastic” fanbases in the play-in rounds.
Arizona Coyotes (7)
We are the most boring agents of chaos you’ll ever find.
Why to bandwagon: When I searched “Arizona Coyotes” in the news, I had to scroll down quite a ways before finding a story that wasn’t mostly about Colorado. Nobody cares about the Coyotes, so you could be The One who stands apart from the crowd.
Also, brackets would be busted and everyone would be mad online.
Why not: They’re exhausting. You’re going to have to really invest in the bandwagon and research all sorts of advanced stats like “the names of all the players” and then try to remember if you hated them when they played somewhere else.
Calgary Flames (6)
We’re just a lovable, raggle-taggle bunch of adventurers...right?
Why to bandwagon: They bring the vibe of an underdog team of misfits you would cheer for in a movie, but maybe that’s just me. I do know by the time you realize you should have hated them all along their playoffs will be over.
Why not: Are you really excited for the Flames or are they just kinda there? Can you handle the wear and tear of cheering for Milan Lucic? And really isn’t it always fun to watch teams from Canada fail in Canada?
Dallas Stars (3)
We didn’t need an expansion draft to put together a lineup of guys who are more often associated with their old teams.
Why to bandwagon: [quickly hides roster sheet] So, Tyler Seguin seems like a fun guy to cheer for, right? Or how about Jamie Benn, a real franchise player! Wait, what are you doing... no no no you do not need to look up his penalty history.
And c’mon you may have hated the Sharks but you secretly respected Joe Pavelski...RIGHT?
Why not: The enemy of my enemy is...uhhh well this roster has not exactly endeared itself to the Wings fanbase over the years. Ben Bishop, Corey Perry AND Roman Polak? How did one team get so lucky :) :) :)
Is anyone still cranky about Mattias Janmark? If so, I am impressed you still have bitterness to spare after the many, many other things Wings fans have to hate.
St. Louis Blues (4)
We won the Stanley Cup last year. Does...does anyone remember that? Does anyone care? Hello?
Why bandwagon: I’m not going to try and convince you to like the team, but I am going to suggest a petty alternative to take you all the way to the Finals.
Hating the Penguins.
The Penguins have the crown of most recent Back2Back Cups, and you might hate them enough to give up that status to the Blues out of spite (until the Red Wings take it back in 2026-2027 and 2027-2028).
Why not: What kind of idiot* would even suggest wanting another team to win two Cups in a row? You may be convinced by my points in the next section about why the Canucks should lose, but how could you continue to cheer for the Blues in the second round?
Vancouver Canucks (5)
Welcome Wings fans! Grab a seat, pull down the over-the-shoulder restraints until you hear a click, and get ready for a five day lecture about the greatness of Quinn Hughes.
Why bandwagon: Canucks fans are fairly well acquainted with suffering, maybe enough is enough and it’s their time to finally climb to the top. Wings fans have it bad now, but we have a glorious history of victories to savor as the team rebuilds. Vancouver has...a history of almosts and the Sedin twins.
Why not: You know, we really could have gotten along. United in misery and lamenting the unfairness of the draft. We could even set aside the terrible void of late night games (at least for east coast people).
But the Canucks fanbase calls Filip Zadina “a bust”. They call our treasure, trash. Therefore, their treasure hunt must end in a flaming dumpster of despair.
If that doesn’t sway you, just remember that Canadian teams must lose. The Balance Must Be Preserved.
Gritty! GRITTY! GRITTY! Oh yeah, we also play hockey too and are pretty good this year.
Why to bandwagon: Maybe it’s because we’re in it, but the East always feels “same old, same old” but the Flyers haven’t gotten through the first round since 2012 so it’d be fun to see them stay mix it up.
Why not: You might hate fun. You may also already have a bandwagon team in mind and would rather see them knocked out than have your team face them on the way to victory.
Hating Pennsylvania in general is also an acceptable reason.
No, YOU lost to the worst Red Wings team four times. I mean, we don’t care, we don’t even remember, we don’t even know Detroit has a hockey team.
Why to bandwagon: Their surprise series win coming back to bite the NHL was entertaining and we can appreciate spoiler teams, especially when they took themselves out of the Lafreniere Lottery. If they win the Cup, the Red Wings actually win the Cup.
Why not: It’s the Habs. They are annoying and we hate them. What else do I need to say?
This time. THIS TIME things are gonna be different. We are not going to look like idiots!
Why to bandwagon: This is still the team that Yzerman built, for the most part, and they keep being all set to win the Cup and then manage to find catastrophe before they reach the finish line. You can’t really hate them for success after they’ve worked so hard for it.
Why not: You CAN hate them for success no matter how they’ve worked hard for it. Steve set them up and they kept knocking themselves over, and if they couldn’t win for him while HE was working hard why should they be rewarded now that he can’t share in the victory?
Also, Kronwall should not have been suspended for Game 7, we would have won that series, and that’s the only fire I need to keep my personal cauldron of wrath bubbling away.
Get spoiled by us once, shame on you. Get spoiled by us twice, dishonor on you and your ancestors.
Why to bandwagon: They somehow take the mundane and make it seem fun, like cutting a cantaloupe into star shapes. For me at least, it’s easier to root for them out of spite for other teams than to really get excited about them for being who they are - except Gustav Nyquist of course.
Why not: It’s going to take a lot to overcome the asterisk people will want to put on the 2020 playoffs, and the Blue Jackets do not bring enough pizzazz (I didn’t want to say “narrative”) to the table to make the Finals a legend to remember rather than the final gasp of a season everyone will want to immediately forget.
But I am willing to be proven wrong, your move Columbus.
Sidenote: Wings fans, we will not forget this season. [bullhorn screeching] We will look back on this season someday and say we were there at rock bottom, we were there for the rebuild, and now we are here as champions!
The other orange team - now with 50% more confusion and angst!
Why to bandwagon: They’ve spent a lot of time being not good. Other teams in the East have had their days in the sun, maybe it’s time for the Isles to have their turn. How about a nice story about a new era of Isles hockey with a banner raised in a new arena?
Can’t relate, but I’m sure it would be nice...
Why not: Hockey in New York has enough going on without needing to know things about the Islanders beyond general drama. We are busy watching Buffalo waste careers and seeing what the Rangers will do with Lafreniere.
Plus, we have to be on alert for how Yzerman will secure Future Red Wings Legend Henrik Lundqvist as Jonathan Bernier’s backup next season.
Sorry Isles, we just can’t fit you into our caring schedule.
No partying? No parade? No swimming in public fountains? WELL NOW WE ARE NOT DOING IT.
Why bandwagon: How many goals can Ovi score during a weird postseason? And because the Pens took themselves out with the trash, the door is open for a unique match-up rather than another repeat. All in all, the Caps might be the lesser evil of the East for many people.
Why not: Look, they already had their fairy tale of finally winning it all and the legendary days of celebration. It would be tough to top that even in a normal season and now maybe it’s best to take away the temptation of fun and let the city stay home and be miserable, but safe.
Boston Bruins (4)
[angry typing noises] We’ll show them this time. We’ll show ALL OF THEM.
Why bandwagon: The sheer joy of watching their heads swell as they smugly proclaim they were right all along, this is their year, and then watching the meltdown when they are eliminated in a later round.
(Don’t forget to remind them they lost to the Red Wings this season. Twice.)
Why not: They are the Boston Bruins. Their fans are all fans of the Boston Bruins.
We’re still gonna be a Bunch of Jerks and will cherish the fans we make along the way.
Why bandwagon: They’re fun! Not in a chaotic “might accidentally start a birdemic” like the Flyers but in a more “tangrams day in class” way. Maybe you just can’t let go of your Petr Mrazek fandom.
Did I mention they are playing the aforementioned Boston Bruins?
Why not: You don’t buy into the Canes whole shtick and are tired of that whole energy. Petr Mrazek fans need to accept that he was not doing his job and was never going to do his job for Detroit, and what better way to validate that opinion than to see him disappoint once again? Not that I’m biased...
Who are you rooting for and why? Or are you mostly ignoring summer hockey? Share your thoughts in the comments!