There wasn’t any champagne in our glasses this year, but hey, at least we got to a point where it was worth dusting the glass off in the first place. Thanks, Devils! And thanks to you, stalwart Gentle Reader, for making this already fun season even funner. We hope everyone has a fabulous summer.
Archive for the ‘Stanley Cup Finals’ Category
So, is this the point where all of our “tra la la, we’re so happy the Devils just managed to get this far!” gives way to heartbreak?
So, is tonight the night? Or do we live to fight another day? Either way, we really hope Henrique keeps his mustache. That’s our new favorite thing ever.
We jumped aboard Devils fandom at the start of the 1995-96 season, immediately after the team had shamed itself by failing to make the playoffs immediately after winning the Stanley Cup. In the 14 seasons that followed (spread over 15 years) we were conditioned to believe, the entire time, that our team was a “contender”. Twice we got to actually see them win the Cup, which is truly, truly amazing. But the other 12 seasons involved watching our team come up woefully short; 12 years where we committed massive energy and emotion in a grueling nine-month slog, only to give the experience a final grade of “fail”. There’s nothing wrong with this — being a fan of a contender (even a self-described one) can be a ton of fun. You get to see more wins than losses, for one thing; every game can feel much more intense when you think you’re watching a Team of Destiny; and you can put a little swagger in your step right up until the moment it becomes clear that your team isn’t going to end up champion. But it also means, in the likely event that your team doesn’t win the Cup every single year, that you’re going to have a lot more bitter, angry, or sad hindsight than fans who had no expectations for their teams. Take, for example, the 2000-2001 Devils. That team was a remorseless winning machine, a juggernaut of a defending Cup champion, and got all the way to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. Do we look back on that season with fondness in our hearts, or an appreciation for how lucky we were to see our favorite team be that good? Nope, not at all. Because they should have gotten that one last win, at least in our assessment. For better or for worse, our memories of that season are shaded primarily with a belief that the team came up short. Our memories of so many of the seasons during the first 15 years of our fandom are of wasted opportunities and squandered greatness.
Last year was the first time we experienced our Devils falling off a cliff. We expected it to be much harder than it was, but as it turns out, life goes on when your hockey team is decidedly not a contender. And more than that, it gave us a sense of perspective. Thanks to John MacLean, Terrible Head Coach, we suddenly got an understanding of what other kinds of failure a hockey team can have. Sure, losing in the first round when you’re the top seed is something worth being pissed about. But you know what’s worse? Being actually, sustainably, across-an-entire-season shitty. Last year’s experience was an epiphany for us: we don’t ever want to be back in the same place we were after losing in the first round to the Rangers (and all their attendant Avery-ness), where an entire hockey season of fun fandom is wiped out by one week of crap. It’s a polar shift for us, no question, but the thing is that being happy is… well, nice.
This spring’s Devils run has been a fantastic ride. Each step has been a further one out of our old mentality, starting with “we just hope the first-round failure is relatively painless,” then “how can the best regular-season penalty kill in the history of the league be giving up this many power play goals to the Panthers???”, then “WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Who knew winning a wholly winnable first-round series could feel this unexpectedly sweet???”, then “hey, just one win against the Flyers will make us happy,” then “HOLY FUCKING SHIT, WE’RE MOPPING THE FLOOR WITH THEM!,” then “WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! Who knew getting to the Eastern Conference Final could feel this unexpectedly sweet???”, then “hey, just one winning period against the Rangers will make us happy,” then “this playoff thing can actually be fun, even if we don’t win,” and then “WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!” Because seriously, guys, the Devils won the Eastern Conference Final. The Devils are the Eastern Conference Champions. They beat the Flyers and the Rangers to do that. This is, without question, fabulous.
So who knows what happens now. Maybe they’ll salvage some pride and force a Game 5. Then maybe the ridiculous will happen and they’ll force a Game 6. Then maybe the insane will happen and they’ll force a Game 7. Then maybe the divinely outrageously magnificent will happen and they’ll win the Cup. Most likely, though, the Kings will win comfortably tonight, and the Devils will end up having been swept hard out of the Cup Final. It’s all cool, because you know what? We will not look back on 2011-2012 with even the slightest shred of anger, bitterness, sadness, or “what might have been”. This season was TRULY AWESOME.
Yikes! It’s almost time for the puck to drop! Man, the first day after vacation is so disorienting. Here’s hoping the Devils are more put-together tonight than we are.
When Victory Euro Mats was awarded the Victory Euro Prince of Wales Trophy, he made sure not to touch it. He doesn’t want to be the one who jinxes the Devils!
A while back we published a shocking list of 38 things you don’t know about Sid Crosby. In order to drum up a bit more interest in this godforsaken Stanley Cup Finals, we decided to do some investigating and come up with a similarly shocking and similarly numbered list of things you don’t know about tomorrow’s Game 7. We’re not trying to start any kind of trouble or ensnare anyone in any scandals — we’re just trying to bring the truth to light.
(Unrelated to this list, but related to Game 7, we’d like to thank Tyler from The Triple Deke for asking us to pen a guest post about our experiences with SCF Game 7s. The Triple Deke is a wonderful blog, and if you’d like to read our post, you can find it here.)
1. If you rub a balloon on Zetterberg’s beard for five minutes, you can use the ensuing static electricity to power a 75 watt lightbulb for the length of the first intermission.
2. There are only 39 things you don’t know about Sid Crosby, and we’ve already told you 38 of them.
3. Kirk Maltby revs himself up for games by reading the Oconee County phone book.
4. Joe Sakic contacted a lawyer in the hopes of suing the Red Wings over the term “Joe Vision”; Sakic had been planning to unveil a brand of signature glasses frames under the name “Joe Vision” in July.
5. Bill Guerin is quite literally a “pea-brain”. His brain stem terminates in a pea. The rest of his cranial cavity is filled with sawdust.
6. Prior to stepping in late in the season to guide an NHL team to the Stanley Cup Finals, Dan Bylsma’s greatest accomplishment was successfully inventing device to keep bananas from bruising in brown bag lunches.
7. Brian Rafalski stole a Scott Stevens sweater from the dressing room before leaving NJ. He keeps it in a mahogany box hidden under his bed, and whenever he’s feeling down in the mouth, he puts the sweater on, poses in front of the mirror, and asks his reflection, “Who’s a pretty boy? Who’s a pretty boy?”
8. Whenever Doc Emrick’s mic is turned off, he silently weeps for what hockey broadcasting has become.
9. Darren Helm is hot. No really, you probably don’t know this, because you’re so tired of hearing him lauded as being the greatest hockey player to ever breathe that you instinctively ascribe entirely negative attributes to him.
10. When Troy Crosby heard Rob Scuderi’s new nickname, he used his superstar son’s money to purchase every jigsaw puzzle for sale in the greater Pittsburgh metro area. He then arranged them in the shape of the Rbk logo, set it alight, and giggled as the bonfire burned.
11. Hal Gill has an actual medical condition that prevents him from ever doing anything right. He caught it from Marc-Andre Fleury, who has a rare intermittent case of it.
12. When asked, none of the players involved in the Stanley Cup Finals could correctly locate Chile on a world map.
13. It’s all a conspiracy against both teams. All of it.
14. Maxime Talbot hopes to quit his day job as soon as he can make a decent living off his Etsy shop.
15. The Devils played cribbage during their playoff “run”, the Hawks let loose with Wii MarioKart, and the Wings spent their downtime playing Trouble. That is, until Kronwell obliterated the little plastic dome that houses the dice. Lidstrom suggested they simply roll the dice to continue the game, but at that point, the spell was broken.
16. Kris Letang has a fillet of penguin in his freezer.
17. Ray Shero is terrified of ice.
18. Chris Chelios has also forgotten that he exists.
19. NBC is losing considerable amounts of money on this game because their permit to use Mike Milbury in public expired on Wednesday; the extension fees for a Milbury permit are designed to be exorbitant enough to discourage anyone from applying for one. This is one of very few financial burdens the network failed to shunt onto the NHL in the fine print of their broadcast agreement.
20. Win or lose, Henry and Linda Staal still love Jordan third-best of all their sons.
21. Miro Satan doesn’t think it would be at all funny to play for the Devils, but sadly, most of his teammates do. There have been no less than 45 man games lost by the Penguins this season as a result of injuries he has inflicted on teammates who have made the mistake of saying, “You know what would be funny? If you played for the Devils.” Satan’s explanation for his short temper is always a terse, “It’s pronounced differently, jackass.”
22. Nick Lidstrom’s testicle has long wished that it was the center of attention, so it’s delighted at the recent media kerfuffle about it.
23. There are concerns in the Pittsburgh front offices that Sid Crosby will not be able to play well, as he’s announced behind closed doors that he’s “waiting for Game 87 to make [his] statement.” No amount of explanation of how the playoff format works seems to have made a dent.
24. That giant cartoon-esque octopus’s arms are getting very sore from holding that pose all season. It can’t wait for the series to end so it can just go out behind the Joe to stretch and smoke a cigarette.
25. Evgeni Malkin spends six hours every day having extensive, life-like make applied to give him his trademark lumpen potato face; in actuality, he is strikingly handsome but has always been insecure about imagined flaws in his visage.
26. Pierre McGuire plans to get invited to as many of the winning players’ days with the Stanley as possible, in the hope that one of them will let him sit naked in the bowl of the Cup so he can poop in it.
27. Mike Babcock keeps a list of all the names of every pro athlete he thinks never should have been drafted. The joke’s on him, though, because several of the names on there — including, surprisingly, Brian Rafalski — weren’t drafted at all.
28. Marian Hossa can’t wait to eat that monkey.
29. Ed Olczyk has petitioned the League to allow his name to be included on the Cup if the Pens win. His grounds for inclusion are that he was “responsible for making Marc-Andre Fleury awesome.” The League hasn’t responded because they’re still not sure whether the petition was a joke.
30. The NBA has petitioned the League to allow LeBron James’s name to be included on the Cup if either team wins. If not LeBron proper, they will be satisfied with Puppet LeBron.
31. Mike Babcock has petitioned the League to allow only his name be engraved on the Cup if either team wins. If the League won’t comply, Babcock is prepared to whine his way to victory.
32. Pavel Datsyuk doesn’t know what this “candy corn” is that you speak of.
33. The GMs of both teams are beginning to believe that every rule in the CBA was devised specifically to keep them from succeeding by a cabal of shadowy League officials. Only one of those GMs is right.
34. Chris Osgood credits his surprising playoff success to his new yoga and meditation regimen. “I had literally forgotten how to play hockey,” he says in a testimonial for a Detroit-area chain of yoga schools, “but now my mind is open again and the hockey has flooded back in.” The Red Wings’ defensive system has plans to file a lawsuit against the chain of yoga schools, because it believes it deserves the credit more than the yoga does.
35. In a further attempt to have himself declared the next Scott Stevens, Brooks Orpik challenged Petr Sykora after Game 6 about the veracity of his alleged foot injury. Further proving that Orpik is no Scott Stevens, Sykora ignored him.
36. The Stanley Cup doesn’t think the whole “Mario’s swimming pool” thing was very funny, because it can’t swim.
37. The series is fixed.
38. We aren’t going to like either one of these teams more for winning. Oh, wait. You already knew that.