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Adjusting To The Playoffs

So it's been a couple days since the rousing, voice-smashing clinching party we held at the DrinkScotch Center on Friday night. It's even been a couple days since we all watched the Blues beat the Avalanche and move, improbably, into the sixth seed in the playoffs.

And I have had no idea how to feel ever since.

For over two months we've been writing about one game at a time, focusing only on the opponent directly in front of the team. We'd never truly allowed ourselves to believe that the Blues would actually claw their way into the playoffs. That was the only goal and it took everything we had to focus on that one goal.

When they clinched it on Friday night, I knew how to feel. Excited. Incredulous. Proud. Our team had done something truly amazing in the world of sport and we'd been along for the whole ride.

After Friday? No idea how to feel. Even when I received a call from someone telling me that the Blues were in a position to move into the sixth spot on Sunday I didn't get that excited. I watched the game Sunday through a haze of interest, but not excitement.

Even Monday I had a hard time coming up with ideas for this site. I couldn't get that fired up about the Canucks and I had nothing left to say about the Blues that I hadn't already written. As Brad Lee likes to say after a heavy run of writing, "All out of words."

Hell, I eventually decided that I needed to take a walk to clear my head. The only people I know who take walks are healthy (nope), disciplined (uh-uh) and/or introspective types who want to be alone with their thoughts (strike three).

I was trying to figure out how it was that someone who writes for a site that has been called loud-mouthed, beyond bitter, vulgar and guilty of cluttering up Twitter with too many tweets about new posts could possibly have writer's block. Our team was on the verge of starting their first viable playoff run in over five years (let's be honest, that last appearance in 2004 was the last wheeze of a dying franchise anyway). It made no sense. I've been able to crack out nonesense and somesense in regards to this team non-stop since back in 2000 when I started writing off and on for the Game Night Revue.

Well, it was pretty lame, but it worked. We'd reached the finish line already. We'd been so focused on the individual games and making sure to not look too far forward that we'd never really considered what would happen after the Blues made the playoffs. It's taken a couple days to realize that the great Blues story is over.

You're going to hear at least 50 times this week that everyone's record has reverted to 0-0. "Throw out the records!" they'll exclaim. "The real season starts....NOW!" they'll scream at you.

And for once I've needed to hear that. The regular season is over. No one cares about the Blues' stunning run anymore. I know I don't. Sure, I'll revel in the story again this summer when the season is truly over; when we see the Blues retrospective on TV. We'll talk about it next year and for years to come as a signal that the team had turned a corner; the rebuild had reached the next level.

But not now. We're done with that for now.

I hope that the Blues have gone through a similar transition as I have. If they're busy thinking about what an amazing run they've had, there's a good chance that Vancouver will make quick of them. Now isn't the time to revel in being one of the best stories of this hockey season. That's for later, when they're at the 19th hole some time later this summer and they're talking about the great ride they took.

Now is time to quit believing everything they're reading about themselves. It's time to forget what's behind and look only forward.

It helped that as I was walking my playlist of Johnny Cash songs ended and my playlist of Rage Against The Machine songs started. I found the words of Zach de la Rocha to be fitting for the changeover from the great playoff race to starting a great playoff run:

"It has to start somewhere,

"It has to start some time,

"What better place than here?

"What better time than now?

"All Hell can't stop us now,

"All Hell can't stop us now,

"All Hell can't stop us now...."

You want a playoff motto? There's your playoff motto.