Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Playing Sides


This gem must've made it's way through all of the the intertubes the last couple of days before ending up on my FB wall--well before Boston's 6-1 pegging of Pittsburgh tonight. Clearly, the pic was reactionary to Game One's 3-0 embarrassment but it then became prophetic, and far before the end of Game Two and Boston's 9-1 goal differential in the series.

Yes, the pic is undeniably lol-worthy, but there's more to this pic than FB Likes, Reddit Upvotes, and Google+... pluses. Whatever--fuck G+ and the Hangout it rode in on.

Sure, Sidney Criesby is an easy target. Sure, Zdenosaur Chara is as monstrous of a target for ze lulz. Honestly, though, I've got no tears to shed for anyone in the ConFinals. Who's going home feeling shafted? LA? Pittsbugh? Boston? Chicago? Extend that to Detroit and even Anaheim, FFS. It's no secret: all four remaining teams have won the last four Cups, and adding Detroit and Anaheim makes the last six (if my Mankato math holds up). How's a self-respecting underdog sympathizer supposed to identify with any of these rondos among lesser teams?

I'm glad you asked. The answer is vicarity. Yes, I may have just made that word up--so hold your scoffs, Bob Webster (scoves?).

Since the Wild's predictable departure from the PlOffs for golf pastures greener and further parts Canadian and Finnish, it would've been easy for me to experience the Funk, as Mike so cleanly portrayed through the dirty laundry motif employed therein. I could've DVR'd the rest of the second season and hoped people would continue to spoil outcomes so I wouldn't have to watch them. I could've caught up on the backlogs of video games and Netflix. I could've hap'ly sorted porn until WheneverTF this sport starts next season (like two months from now, right?).

Yet I've kept my attention affixed on a trophy which will be won again by one of four teams who "should" still be fighting for the right to hoist it again. It feels somehow cheapened since the hoist will be familiar to them, like only time can make the battle between hoists worth the battle. But that's easy for me to say. As a follower of the game, I don't know what it's like for my team to do it, and therefore I don't know that maddening drive to hoist the Cup once again, despite it only being a scant handful of season since the last time.

Nope. For me, the main reason I've been watching the rest of these PlOffs is to witness that curdling insanity from my three close friends, all of whom are strict followers of three of the remaining teams since the semi-finals. One Boston fan. One Detroit fan. One Chicago fan.

At base, my game viewings have been simple: I watch whichever game with whoever is around, drink beers, call the players out for playing like assholes (this practice is greatly benefited by my vast experience in doing the same for the Wild), and cheer that team on if for no other reason than to cheer for something and with someone.

From a friend perspective, Boston's series have been easy to enjoy. Clearly, the Chicago/Detroit series made for interesting game viewings. I felt like Yojimbo, playing both sides, and sometimes literally having to sit between a fan of each team. Lean to the right: "Great shot by Zetts there--wow! Too bad it went wide." Lean to the left: "But really Oduya forced that shot wide--what a guy!"

With the semis over, both Chicago and Boston are churning through the opposition, and--oh boy, both of those fan friends will kill me for jinxing them--both seem destined to face each other for the Cup with their respective 2-0 leads in the ConFinals. [I wrote the jinx in Italics, hoping they somehow negate the jinx. We'll see.]

It'd be sad to be invested in this year's second season only as far as the funny pics go. When it comes down to it, I feel pretty lucky to still give a shit about who wins the Cup. In fact, I get to give two shits, hopefully looking forward to a Chicago/Boston Cup Final, and getting to pretend to be Toshiro Mifune again.