[This was my editiorial from tonight's paper. I think it sums up this game better than a wrapup would. My apologies to anyone who bought the paper and feels like they're getting screwed by me re-printing this. Then again, they aren't getting the other 27 pages, so....]
It's a sentiment that has long fueled this paper and the fans who come to the games and read this rag. You'll see it in various forms throughout the paper tonight, including, I believe, a request for someone to fuck Detroit in its ear hole. (Not it.)
But color me over it. The Red Wings aren't really our rivals at this point, mainly because their fans don't recognize it, but also because the Blues haven't been able to truly compete with the Wings in years. Even when the Blues were a President's Trophy quality group they couldn't really handle the menace from Detroit. If you don't remember, many of us were just glad that the Blues would be facing the eighth-seeded Sharks and wouldn't probably see Detroit until the third round of the playoffs. Hopefully by then someone else would have snuck up on them and upset them.
That didn't go so well, either.
For years I have hated coming to these games. I've probably given away Wings tickets more than any other game over the last five years. Why do I need to go see a beat down in person? So I can listen to the bandwagon Wheel fans cheering and yelling about how they're pretty sure Yzerman got that one? No thanks.
I've spent way too many words over these years trash talking the Wings and their idiot fans and trying to cajole the Blues to want it more. To play harder. To will themselves into playing better. To forget the mystique of the Wings. To ignore their clear dominance. All that shit. And clearly none of it worked.
It's the same now as it has been for more than a decade: the Blues expect to lose, the Wings expect to win. If the Note have a lead, they tighten up and grip it so hard it often shoots out of their hands like a greased dick shoots out of Draper's ass. The Wings light up the Blues early and then play a safe, controlled game, like keeping your kid brother away from you by holding your arm out straight and holding his head back. If they do fall behind, rather than freaking out and trying to do too much, they coil up like a snake, waiting for the Blues to make the big mistake and give up the chance for a quick strike.
One team always plays with confidence, one always plays in doubt.
So, honestly, I'm kind of over it. The Wings win, zippity fucking do dah. The Blues win, great, they beat Montreal already and that was probably more satisfying. It's just not that great of a rivalry anymore. I expect the Blues to play an energized game against the Blackhawks-a team they truly hate. I expect them to come out and play confident and hard against the Jackets and Predators-two teams that don't really have the talent to be ahead of the Blues in the standings. I imagine they get more fired up to beat Vancouver because of the humiliating sweep they put on the Blues in the playoffs.
But Detroit? Eh, fuck Detroit.
That said, my opinion could change on the matter. With Eric Brewer gone to whoever the fuck cares and no player on the team currently wearing the captain's C on his jersey, management has publicly challenged them. GM Doug Armstrong was quoted in the paper just today that they were evaluating who steps up and shows himself to be a leader of this team before they decide who gets the coveted letter. If no one emerges as a clear-cut captain of this team they may even go with the slightly embarrassing solution of having four A's and no C. Really? You have no captain, but four assistant captains? Just what the shit are they assisting then?
But tonight could be the first big opportunity for someone to stand up on this team and say, "Listen fuckos, this game isn't going down like the others. We aren't getting beaten by these dicks in our barn on a Saturday night in front of our fans. Tonight, I'm personally not going to let that happen. Come with me if you want, but if you don't, you're dead to me."
Someone steps up and grabs the Blues by the ears and makes them play this game without respect for the Wings and without a care about the teams' recent histories, and leads by words and by example. Well, that guy is the kind of guy who can lead a hockey team. There is a lot of season left for someone to take charge of this team, and one game doesn't mean anything at this point, but it'd be a nice time for someone to set the tone and let some motherfuckers know just how shit gets done.
On the flip side, if none of that happens and the Blues play like they're just content to be in the same building with the Red Wings, well then, so what? Same old Blues, I guess.
Some day this matchup might turn into a rivalry again, but personally I hope it doesn't. I don't care enough to want to stick it to the Red Wing fans when our team is up and theirs is down. Frankly, I doubt many of them will be around when that happens, as most bandwagons unload pretty quickly during the dark years. But I just hope the Blues rise so quickly and the Wings fall so rapidly that there's no time for the two to battle it out on the same level.
I'm tired of this rivalry and I'm glad it's dead. I hope it never returns. Because, really, fuck Detroit.
Sean "Ear hole? How the hell?" Gallagher