Whenever the Blues get knocked out of the playoffs it takes me another round of games for me to be able to watch hockey again. Call me bitter if you'd like, but after they lose a series, I kind of hope every team loses. Or dies. Or the playoffs get called off. You know, whatever it takes. The same holds true these years when the Blues miss the playoffs altogether. The first round holds interest for me only in box scores and post-game wrap ups.
This year I'm just now getting into watching the playoffs again. Hey, whaddaya know, the Predators are in the playoffs. And the Coyotes are already out (again). Boston and Montreal are in the middle of killing each other again and their fanbases are promising to kill one another as well. And hey, the Flyers still have no goaltending and the Canucks are letting the Blackhawks fuck them right in their minds again.
Maybe there is some interest to this round after all.
I'm sure everyone has their reasons for rooting for some teams (Brewer fans unite!) or against others (fuck Detroit). Here are mine. Beware, rational thought need not apply.
Washington Capitals v New York Rangers
Yeah, like we need to hear from more cocky New Yawkahs for any reason. And while I might be one of the few people who still finds Sean Avery funny, that doesn't mean I want to see him have post-season success. Caps fans have indeed gotten overly cocky themselves over the last few years, but recent playoff failure has tempered that a little.
I'm sure I'll find a reason to root against the Caps at some point, but it isn't now. Eat it New York; time to switch your focus to being annoying about the Yankees.
Philadelphia Flyers v Buffalo Sabres
How the hell do you get into the Stanley Cup Finals in spite of a dreadful goaltending battery and yet, somehow, a year later you're in the playoffs with a great lineup. . . and awful goaltending. Philly doesn't deserve to get to the finals just to let some other hated Western Conference team roll over their rotating netminders and win a Cup.
That said, I'm not one of these people who root for recent Blues who get traded to other teams. Brad Boyes was better this year, yes, but if not for the failed Paul Kariya Experiment, he'd still be in first place for the I Ripped Off The Blues Award (also known as the Fragile Jay McKee Trophy, previously named the Rich Pilon Cup).
Do I want to see Mr. Four Point Five go to Buffalo, continue to punish the glass just above the net behind the opponents' net and somehow find his name on the Stanley Cup?
No, sir, I do not. Let's go Flyers (for now).
Boston Bruins v Montreal Canadiens
I still would not undo the Lars Eller for Jaroslav Halak deal, but Eller is hardly on the same level of some other recent Blues that I would easily root against. Eller didn't play his way out of St. Louis and he probably wouldn't have had much opportunity to play in St. Louis this year anyway. I don't really want to see him score a Cup-clinching goal so we can hear about that for the rest of Halak's career, but that's a pretty long shot at this point anyway.
And while it would be funny to watch the Bruins fans eat themselves alive from the inside if they lose this series, especially after the epic meltdown they suffered last year, the Montreal fans are even funnier when their team fails.
I don't really care one way or another about this series, but I think I'd rather watch Montreal burn again than listen to more wacky Boston accents complain about how they got "jobbed."
Go Bruins. For now.
Pittsburgh Penguins v Tampa Bay Lightning(s)
Frankly, I'm amazed that the Pens are doing as well as they are without Crosby and Malkin in their lineup. Of course, I'm writing this just hours after they got run out of their own building by the Bolts, but they're still in control of the series. I'm sure I'll find a way to hate the Pens at some point, but for right now they're playing over their heads just being here without their superstars, so I'm finding they don't bug me too much. Yet.
The Lightning, of course, are the new team for the Robot Eric Brewer. I wasn't a Brewer hater during his time here, but I wasn't a fan either. I think I may have been one of the few people who had actual realistic expectations about him. No matter who he was traded for, he was essentially a good second pairing defensive defender on a good team. Unfortunately, the Blues teams he was on weren't good teams and he was asked to be a first-pairing two-way defender. Ever seen the recipe for disaster before? Yes you have.
That said, I'm not interested in seeing Brewerbot holding up the Stanley Cup this year, if only because I don't want to hear the discussion over and over (and over) about whether Brewer a) sucked; b) was great and misused here; or c) was everything wrong with the Blues and St. Louis when he was here and he didn't even help revitalize downtown, either. Booooooooo.
Go Pens. (Helpful hint: Brewer can be beat with speed to the outside. But you knew that already, didn't you?)
Vancouver Canucks v Chicago Blackhawks
Look, this is a no-brainer. No way can I root for the Hawks in any way, shape or form. That said, when the Blues hosted the Blackhawks for that Monday day game near the end of the year, I hosted the editor and main maniac behind the Committed Indian in my seats for the game. One of the topics we talked about that day was this exact matchup. Sam said at that time that the Canucks are so focused on beating the Hawks that when they do, they're going to suffer a letdown and get smoked in the next round. I'm interested in seeing how that theory plays out.
And while the Hawks are seemingly just hanging out in Roberto Luongo's head and a total collapse of the President Trophy winning Canucks would be fun to watch, you won't catch me rooting for the Hawks. I'm just hoping the indians lose and the Orca whales get caught with their heads down next series.
Go Canucks (minus Raffi Torres).
San Jose Sharks v Los Angeles Kings
This is a series? This is a snoozer for me and I could not care less who wins this one. I don't find anyone on the Kings interesting, but I'm no fan of the Sharks and that top line that includes a past his prime Joe Thornton and a truly unlikeable Dany Heatley. Heatley killed a teammate by driving like an ass in a car that outperformed his abilities and then demanded trades from not one, but two teams, screwing both of them in the process. As for Thornton, he's not the dominant player he once was, but his chickenshit head shot to David Perron followed by his chickenshittier insinuation that Perron faked injury was, well, chickenshit. Add to that the fact that he came out later this year about how the NHL wasn't punishing people enough for head shots and you have the NHL's runaway winner of Douchebag of the Year Award.
So, hey. Whatever. Go Kings.
Detroit Red Wings v Winnipeg Jets
Come on, man. What is with this franchise that they can't get out of the first round? Pitiful, man. Just pitiful.
Anaheim Ducks v Nashville Predators
The Predators franchise bores the hell out of me. Outside of Shea Weber, there isn't one player on that team that I'd want on the Blues. Their highest-ever draft pick was David Legwand, who was their first-ever draft pick. And has he ever been a waste. He might just be the worst second-overall pick of the last few decades.
The second-overalls taken since Legwand in 1998? Daniel Sedin, Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza, Kari Lehtonen, Eric Staal, Evgeni Malkin, Bobby Ryan, Jordan Staal, James vanRiemsdyk, Drew Doughty, Victor Hedman and Tyler Seguin.
Sure, Heatley is a douche, but is there one player on that list that you wouldn't rather have than Legwand? That sums up Nashville to me - there's always something better out there.
I'm no big Duck fan (has any team managed to get uniforms wrong more consistently than this franchise?) and no Brad F. Winchester fan, but come on, I'd easily root for BFW than Jordin Tootoo any day.
Irrational enough for you? Let me know what I got wrong and what your own rooting interests are in the comments.