Usually, when the NHL playoffs start, the media is talking about the players that will get their teams to the Holy Grail. These days, everyone seems to want to take the low-road, focusing on the negative aspects of teams that have fought tooth-and-nail to make the “second season,” in what was possibly one of the most competitive seasons ever. Instead of the “ready to take their troops to the next level” talk, it’s turned into “you better not f**k this up” talk. Player’s legacies are being challenged if they haven’t won it all by their late 20’s because Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky are still the benchmark for what “the greatest of all time” means. What they’re completely forgetting: athletes are bigger, stronger, and faster these days, and executives are under more pressure to put together winning teams than ever before.
Parody in the NHL is at an all-time high, with teams like the Carolina Hurricanes, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Anaheim Ducks winning the Stanley Cup in recent years. That proves that anybody can win it all these days, and we’re not going to call you the best player until you do, slacker. So instead of congratulating you when you win, we’re gonna light you up when you don’t. Cuz CLEARLY you didn’t want it bad enough. Or, you’re the poor bastard in net who is splitting time with another poor bastard that doesn’t have the experience to backstop a team that should win THIS YEAR. And seeing as you were obviously the only one on the ice, it will be ALL YOUR FAULT. Here are the current favourite targets:
San Jose Sharks: Joe Thornton
Apparently not clutch enough in Boston, despite putting up crazy numbers, so he was seen as dispensible. The Sharks jumped at the chance to have a top-line center to get them over their choking ways ( #1 or #2 playoff seed for 8 straight years). Let’s be honest bro, your legacy rests on this. Nabokov is having the season of his life, and Heatley at your side? Not to mention Marleau flirting with a 50 goal season and Boyle being one of the best scoring defencemen in the league. Show-an’-prove time son, or you will NEVER hear the end of this.
Chicago Blackhawks: Marion Hossa
Lost the Cup to Detroit with the Pens’, so you went to Detroit because you figured they had the best shot in the league at winning it all, and then you lost the Cup to the Pens’ with Detroit. So, you go to a young team on the verge of being like the other two, and are barely noticed to anyone who doesn’t know about your 12 year, 65 million dollar contract? Weren’t you brought to Chicago for a CERTAIN reason? I might hate the Blackhawks because I’m a Canucks fan, but I hope you lose for the same reason I hope every big-name player that signs with the Yankees does.
Washington Capitals: Jose Theodore or Semyon Varlamov
One was the NHL’s Most Valuable Player, but that was eight years ago. The other one, well, no one can pronounce his name. Either way, you poor buggers are the goat if the Caps lose. Most goals in the league and the Presidents’ Trophy? C’mon guys, nobody can score five goals in EVERY playoff game. Time to put on your big-boy pants.
Vancouver Canucks: Roberto Luongo
At first, we had the “West Coast Express” line, that could score at will, but got Dan Cloutier’d every year. So we we went and got the best-of-the-best. Then we couldn’t score goals for the life of us. So instead of freakin’ right out, we just pulled aside a few of our key players and said, “Hey Danny, when your foot is healed up, can you lead the league in points-per-game? He almost did it. “Hey Kess, can you win the Selke Trophy this year?” and he just got named as a finalist. “Hey Burr, can you have the best season of your career?” Nailed it. 35 goals, top 10 in the league. “Hey Hank, can you go ahead and win the Art Ross Trophy this year?” HE DID IT BABY!!! So we ended up being the highest scoring team in the conference, but now we can’t stop the puck. Anyone else feel like they’re takin’ crazy pills?!?! Trust me Bobby Lou, everybody is very grateful for the gold medal, but we, and the hockey world, won’t hear the end of this. Even if it IS ACTUALLY the defences’ fault.
– Balls Out