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Choosing Your 2022 Stanley Cup Bandwagon: The East

The Red Wings are out again, but is there a bandwagon that’s right for you?

Man and woman on horse-drawn wagon, returning from market, Hungary 1923 Photo by: HUM Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Here we go, gang! Another season in the books with the Red Wings on the outside of the playoffs. Have you picked your bandwagon yet? Perhaps I can be of some assistance. First, we’ll take a look at the Beasts in the East...

Florida Panthers

You think the St. Louis Blues were forgettable Champions? We don’t even have a theme song or a bunch of players you’ve always hated to annoy you with!

Why to bandwagon: Rooting for a top seed, maybe that’s a safe choice? Detroit fans, of many sports, are working through rebuilds. It’s been tough. Why not remember what it’s like to be a favored team and have national broadcasts fawning over you?

Why not to bandwagon: Rooting for a top seed? Boring. Rooting for a boring team? Effort. We’re Red Wings fans, we don’t know how to cheer for top tier teams anymore and if you want to do a bunch of research to uncover narratives to make a team seem fun? Detroit already has two cat-themed sports teams you could get into.

Washington Capitals

Oh crap, Tom Wilson is trending again? Trust us, you love him. Hop on and embrace the narratives! And...ummm...Ovechkin!!!

Why to bandwagon: The Caps are really trying to maintain their status as a “fun team” since their Cup winning summer of shenanigans. The fans are still hyped up and they aren’t too strict about gatekeeping given the generally transient population of D.C. For a casual bandwagoning experience, this may be the place for you. Anthony Mantha! Vrana has friends on the team and their happiness is his happiness is your happiness!

Why not to bandwagon: They’re kind of getting into same ol’ same ol’ territory. What’s new to be excited about that hasn’t already been there the last few years? What’s new to be mad about? Is the rivalry with the Pens still real? There’s no guarantee they’ll even meet up anyway. If you aren’t an Ovi superfan, then why bother?

Toronto Maple Leafs

We wished really hard for this time to be different! Wait, should we have specified we want it to be “better”? Whatever, I’m sure it’ll be fine (monkey’s paw curls).

Why to bandwagon: You’ve become so accustomed to being part of a miserable and aggressive fanbase that you need that energy to really thrive. Or, more likely, you are bandwagoning them for now because you are eager to see the beautiful meltdown when they get swept in the Finals.

But seriously, the Cup drought must eventually come to an end and the Leafs have a secret weapon. Michael Bunting knows a thing or two about persevering through terrible droughts, even when injured. Maybe even especially when injured.

I know what you’re thinking, “Sara, he wasn’t even in the Dust Bowl region during the 1930s!” and that is true. But you can’t deny the wisdom he brings to the locker room from lessons learned during the mega-droughts of Mesopotamia that hastened the fall of the Akkadian empire.

Why not to bandwagon: Even if you’re just a bandwagon fan for the offseason, the stench of Leafs fandom will follow you wherever you go. There is no coming back from this decision. No amount of timeline tampering will save your soul. The past, the present and the future will judge you and it will not be kind or merciful.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Threepeat! Threepeat! Threepeat!

Why to bandwagon: It’s still kind of the team that Stevie built, sort of, maybe. It’s far from the team that we hated back when the Wings still made the playoffs. With some mental dekes and dangles you can feel like their success is a good thing because it’s Yzer-adjacent.

Why not to bandwagon: If losing to them a lot during the regular season isn’t enough to keep them in the enemy column, if the insufferable narrative-driven threepeat nonsense isn’t going to be enough, you can bandwagon the hatred of me still grumbling about events that happened 6+ years ago. BUT SERIOUSLY ABOUT THAT GAME 7 SUSPENSION-[muted].

Carolina Hurricanes

C’mon, we aren’t the MOST annoying team account on Twitter and our fans aren’t the MOST annoying about defending problematic players from criticism so why not?

Why to bandwagon: They’re playing the Bruins, that could get us at least through the first round. And they have a Staal, there’s a connection for Wings fans to work with! And a Svechnikov, we used to have one of those! And Brendan Smith, he’s still around and he was one of us! Remember him, he played the puck from the bench once with his hand and it was stupid and funny?

Why not to bandwagon: Sorry Canes, Vegas isn’t in the playoffs to be insufferable on the internet and grant you lesser evil status. And thanks for Ned, we love Ned, and you should suffer for giving up such a treasure for a bag of pucks and Bernier’s phone number. Also...Tony DeAngelo.

Boston Bruins

The goalie hug thing, you love to see it! omg we are just so much fun and precious and adorable :) :) :)

Go to hell.

New York Rangers

We’re the grab bag roster team this year, you always have to have one of those. /ESPN has entered the chat/ CHRIS KREIDER CHRIS KREIDER CHRIS KREIDER CHRIS KREIDER

Why to bandwagon: Ease your way into bandwagoning by rooting against the Penguins and you may discover reasons to stick with the Rangers along the way. And who doesn’t love former Red Wings star Patrik Nemeth! What else...well the only big victory they’ve had in a long time is the Lafreniere Lottery so...maybe?

Why not to bandwagon: You’ve heard more than enough about the Rangers from playing against them with ESPN commentary. The Rangers are always just kinda...there. I know there are those of you out there who have a genuine burning hatred for them, but I’ve found it hard to care about them in any way except when they are forced in front of my eyes because we are playing them

Pittsburgh Penguins

Sara, you can’t seriously still be mad about 2009? It wasn’t personal, ruining your birthday and all that, it was just business.

Why to-Go to hell, and then take a Pittsburgh left to be the first arrival into super-mega hell. Then sit through a 10-part webinar series about why Malkin deserved a suspension and Crosby is a coward for cross-checking Zetterberg so much over a decade ago.

Why not to-Oh, you want me to look at stats and admit that Crosby is an extremely elite player? You want me to face those facts?

-bandwagon: I’ll see you in super-mega hell.

Share in the comments your bandwagon team and why you’re on board!

Stay tuned for a very scientific and data drive analysis of the West...