Well, now that the Ducks have officially “made a series” of this Stanley Cup Final, or whatever, and now that the League has weighed in on the Pronger hit, and now that we’re sitting down with some daiquiris after some hard, rain-soaked hours laboring as gentlewoman farmers, it’s time for IPB to start grappling with some ugly truths.
Ugly Truth #1:
The Ducks are no better than they ought to be. Or whatever it was crotchety old men used to say about “loose women” in ’50s TV shows. Thanks to how badly we wanted to see the Senators get shellacked, we were willing to blind ourselves to the fact that the Ducks are really no better. In a season that was all about the new NHL, with its charm, and its spunk, and its “isn’t this so much better than things used to be?” attitude, the Ducks were out on the Left Coast gooning things up and generally being a group of thuggish asswipes. But we could all ignore them because their games start at the ungodly hour of 10:30 PM Eastern, and, frankly, it’s just easier to try to pretend Brian Burke isn’t really still involved with the NHL. But the evil architect of the infamous Bertuzzi Incident also managed to stumble onto possession of a team that is wicked good at hockey, despite all his efforts to make them otherwise, and here they are, the nearest thing resembling the forces of Good against the soulless, rapacious, holier-than-thou Senators. Unlike last season’s Final, where there the real winner, whatever the outcome, was the fans, this year’s SCF is a lose-lose, and last night’s game just reminded us of that.
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The Conference Finals are set: The Ottawa Senators and the Buffalo Sabres in the East, and the Anaheim Ducks and the Detroit Red Wings in the West. You’ve probably read the predictions and projections published by the so-called “experts”, but those experts have got nothing on us; the following is our highly scientific Tale of the Tape, a system of analysis so reliable you can probably take our predictions to the bank. One caveat: We are actively cheering for the Sabres to win it all and cannot approach this objectively. But you, Gentle Readers, aren’t coming to us for objective analysis, are you? Didn’t think so. We watched almost every Sabres game this past season (any team that can topple the bronze statue of Bobby Clarke and put the final nail in that evil regime will win our hearts) and are very well acquainted with the strengths and weaknesses of the Slugs. We got to know Ottawa perhaps too well in that last series, but still probably can’t name more than 5 players on the team (we were too focused on trying to will Rafalski to stop icing the stupid puck). As for Anaheim, we watched a handful of games in the first two rounds, but really only enough to determine we don’t hate them as much as some other teams. Some other teams like the Detroit Red Wings. Whom we hate. With the passion of a thousand suns. But no more excuses! Let’s go to the tape, or rather, the first of our two-part Tale of the Tape series!
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–We TiVoed the Penguins-Senators game, and we’re getting the Sens feed on Center Ice. We compose this open letter to SportsNet after their introductory footage of various besuited Pens and Sens arriving before the game:
Love, Interchangeable Parts
We parse the various outfits in slow motion as they stroll through the frame — we admire Maxie Talbot’s skinny tie and strangely textured suit (it seems to us that he is rarely ever seen in any material that isn’t strangely textured), marvel at how Sid manages to make even the most basic of suit-tie combos look exquisitely dorky, and HELLO! Wow, Wade Redden just gets better with age, doesn’t he? If we were still living in the age of VCRs, we’d have just burned a hole in the tape watching Wade over and over again in slow motion. Less impressive? Daniel Alfredsson’s leather jacket, which is improved only by comparison to the color guy’s even worse leather jacket. We quickly compose another open letter:
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