Monday, May 5, 2008

Call and Answer

“I think…
It’s getting to the point where we have almost made amends…”

I know, I know, quoting lyrics is Bucci’s bag (actually, wouldn’t that be Gammons’ bag?) but in this case the quote is apt, I believe.

For the dedicated fan, a season is a relationship with “their” team. And when that season ends…well, not to be too dramatic, but it is sort of a breakup.

And it’s not just that I thought the Wild was capable of going onto the second round this year that hurts. It’s also not just that they played well enough to win, more often than they actually did against Colorado. It’s not just the salve of running into a goalie playing out of his mind. It’s all those things together that leave this sour taste in my mouth.

Alas, ‘tis but water under the bridge.

Meanwhile, back on earth, there is still NHL-level hockey being played, and it’s being played at a very, very high level. Both conference finals matchups have been set as of (very early) this morning – and they’re both doozies.

Out east, it’s a battle of Pennsylvania as the Flyers earned a date with the Penguins. The Penguins, in addition to being the youngest team still in the playoffs, have breezed through the first two rounds with a record of 8-1. They are fresh, healthy and hitting on all cylinders. The Flyers have played a few more games (8-5) but they, too, are cruising along at pretty close to full power right now. To the extent that the players emulate the fans’ dislike of each other, this could be a bombastic and generally awesome.

In the west, the Red Wings and Stars are familiar playoff names, but for different reasons. The Wings are a perennial Cup favorite, while the Stars have had legendary struggles just getting out of the first round between 2000 and 2007. This year, the Stars have shown a confounding ability to win on the road, have gotten tremendous goaltending from Marty Turco and timely scoring. Plus, Brenden Morrow is becoming a total stud in the mold of the great all-around playoff performers.

Other than some tidbits from the Worlds (Burns playing well for Canada), and Gaby’s minor surgery, there isn’t a whole hell of a lot of news on the Wild front.


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