In my home life, I like to think that I'm more rational than not, but sometimes dads are allowed to be irrational. Why? Just because I said so, that's why. Because I don't think I'm being unreasonable when I ask that at some point after I get home from work I get a 20 minute period where no one is allowed to hit me with a "Socker Bopper" or play "You Flinched!" or permitted to play "Flipper Kickers" on the spot of the couch where I happen to be decompressing. These are my kids and it's partially my fault they're all here and want to be socker/flinching/kickering me and I love it like 90% of the time, but seriously, sometimes dads gotta take a stand. During those times I'm being slightly irrational, but I think I'm still mostly reasonable.
But when it comes to sports? Well, yeah. That's irrational all the way. I hate teams for crazy reasons and root for others for even crazier reasons. For all of this, I am unapologetic. I don't care if you think I'm shortsighted for hating (HATING) Brett Favre and Steve Yzerman. I could not care less if you think it's weird that I know nothing about basketball and haven't watched an entire NBA game since Jordan retired (the first time) and will still tell you at every turn that I hate the Lakers and love the Clippers. I don't watch baseball and I hate both the Mets and the Yankees. I don't even watch curling and I will tell you that I don't like Team Canada's curling squad.
The Detroit Red Wings? How long you got?
All that said, here are my picks for the first round of the NHL playoffs, based totally on my biased love and hate for certain teams. As an added bonus, I offer a quick peek into the smoothed-out wrinkles of my brain so you can see why I picked the teams I'm rooting for.Starting with the Eastern Conference....
- R.J. Umberger (AmmmBuuuuurgaaaallllah) thinks they have no chance because they don't play good enough defense. Umberger plays for the zero franchise playoff wins Blue Jackets and clearly would have rooted against the 1980's Oilers. Fuck you, Ambuuhhgreher.
- The Montreal Canadiens last won the Cup with a young Chris Chelios on their blueline. Fuck Chris Chelios and therefore, fuck the Candiens.
- Lou Lamoriello can die tomorrow and I'll smile. Scott Stevens instead of Curtis Joseph and Rod Brind'Amour is a horseshit deal and everyone (EVERYONE) knows it. Tampering charges later on? Like it doesn't happen every summer. Screw you, Lou.
- No more boring hockey. The only time I've ever rooted for New Jersey was when they played Disney in the Finals and it was literally a lesser-evil situation. It's like watching Chicago play Detroit: you're really just rooting for a meteor to smash the entire arena into smithereens. (Token Smithereens video just so I can let you all know what I liked when I was 16 - trust me, it was way cooler when you were listening to it in a broke-ass brown Cutlass going 80 miles an hour on a suburban/country back road).
- Mike Richards. If I was going to start a franchise today and I could pick any player, Richards might be the guy. He's a 24-year-old captain, a 30-goal scorer the last two years, a fighter, a playoff performer and an all-around no shit hockey player. He is the prototypical North American hockey player. He's no weird-shield Euro who disappears for no reason Malkin, nor a crybaby whiner Crosby, nor a cheap-shot non-fighter like Ovechkin. Hockey is Mike Richards. And vice versa.
- Chris Pronger. I loved him when he was in St. Louis. I rooted against him in the Finals when he was with Edmonton. I rooted for him when he was with Anaheim ( a team I had rooted against when they were Mighty and owned by Disney). Now, I want to see him wan again. Did I mention that I can be irrational?
No. 3 Buffalo vs No. 6 Boston: Blah.
- I honestly don't give a shit about either of these teams. Didn't one of these teams win already? Serously, swap one roster for the other and have them come out in each others' jerseys and I bet we go half way through the game before anyone notices.
- The Pens beat the Red Wings in Detroit last year and that's enough. Fuck Detroit and your under-ice dead homeless. That's enough to make me pro-Pittsburgh.
- Plus, the Sens still reek of Dany Heatley and for now, that's enough.
On to the Western Conference....
- I hated Colorado for a long time because of their fans' immediate success, winning a Cup in the first season of having a team after poaching them from Quebec and normally would pick against them. I'm also probably one of only two people in the world who really hated seeing Ray Bourque win the Cup there after leaving Boston, but I really couldn't get behind that. All that said....
- Dany Heatley deserves nothing. The guy went from loved young superstar to sympathetic young superstar to whiner crybaby asshole. Forcing Ottawa to trade him ranks up there with Marian Hossa blowing off the Penguins to try to go win with Detroit in my book. I hope he gets nothing and likes it.
- I have no love for Nashville. In fact, I probably know less about them than almost any other regular opponent of the Blues, but seriously, I mean, come on. Rooting against the Blackhawks is way more fun than rooting for the Blackhawks.
- Steve Sullivan beating the team that traded him for a pair of second round picks would be great. In fact, I'd like to see him get the series-winner just to ram the fact home. He does know a thing or two about karma, after all.
- Do I really have to say it? Rooting for the Blackhawks is like rooting for the Red Wings. And rooting for the Red Wings is like rooting for Hitler. The Blackhawks fans have exhibited the worst hubris of any fanbase in the history of the world this year (no exaggeration). They're convinced that the Cup is theirs already and it's just a matter of going out and enjoying the peaceful ride to the Finals. I hope they lose just to crush those over-confident, short-term memory, Kane jersey wearing, what's an Al Secord wondering bandwagon fans.
- Marian Hossa deserves to become the poster boy for playoff jinxes. I had no problem with guy until he took less money to leave Pittsburgh and go to Detroit. Now I just want to see him make that 'I'm not going to cry" face every single year when his team gets eliminated.
- Really only two ways to go for Blackhawks fans if they lose this series: back to their near-suicidal Bill Wirtz days alcoholism or to their closets to throw their bandwagony winter classic jersey on the floor so they can pick up their Cubs jersey to start that annual slow march to disappointment. Either one makes me smile.
- The Kings are a young team full of high-end draft picks that finally started to turn the corner and be good again. What's not to like about that if you're a Blues fan?
- Anze Kopitar is Marty Feldman.
- The Canucks beat the Blues last year in the playoffs. Reason enough.
- The Sedin Twins give me nightmares. Hell, nearly all of them are creepy.
- The Canucks captain is their goalie, Roberto Luongo. Everyone knows that goalies are insane. Making one a captain is even more insane.
- The desperate for attention green guys who sit by the opponents penalty box in Vancouver and annoy the shit out of virtually everyone. We get it guys, you're weird. It was funny the first time, but the first time was in October. Now you're just stupid. the sooner we can stop seeing these guys, the better.
No. 4 Phoenix Coyotes vs No. 5 Detroit Red Wings: Go Coyotes!
- Just like the Kings, the Coyotes are a good young team that has turned the corner. As Blues fans, that's a move we should be behind.
- Lee Stempniak is a Coyote now. The Dutch Man Cometh.
- Detroit's fans are the worst. If the Blackhawks fans are overconfident this year then the Wings fans are institutionally overconfident. They're pretty sure that every late round draft pick will turn into Henrik Zetterberg or Pavel Datsyuk. They're pretty sure that "no one wants to play the Red Wingz!" They're pretty sure that despite a depleted lineup and team speed that rivals the brain waves of Shifty Shellshock and a rookie who is sure to meltdown once the entire city turns on their goaltending (as they do every year), they'll be in the Finals again this year. Few things would make me as happy as a first round exit for the Wings.
- Kris Draper. He was famously acquired for one dollar. Seems like the Jets should have thrown in a pick too.
- Todd Bertuzzi. The Karma Police are here Detroit; no Cup for you this year. Should have learned the lesson last year with the Marian Hossa signing.
- Johan Franzen. Unfrozen caveman hockey player looks as dumb as Bertuzzi sounds. If dude could ever be seen without his mouth hanging open, his IQ would jump 20 points.
- Tomas Holmstrom. Where's Claude Lemieux when you really need him?
- Fuck Detroit.