Should I really do a blog post so close after a Wings victory and this late at night...
Probably not, but here it goes anyway. Forgive me if it's all over the place and incoherent.
That, my dear friends, is true Red Wings hockey. From the drop of the puck until the last buzzer [minus that one faceoff], we played solid hockey patented after our namesake. We didn't let up once. We played with heart and soul and kept the pressure on, even when we were up by five goals. This was probably the best game we've played all year.
At the start of the game, my brother solemnly said, "Watch Lidstrom as often as you can, because this could be his last game." I had thought of this beforehand, but didn't think anything of it until he said it out loud. So I watched him intently and I watched him with a bit of remorse and sadness at the thought of never seeing him on the ice again.
But the Red Wings dominated. Faceoffs were in our favor in the first period and by the middle of the second period, we already had forty shots on goal and were playing out of our minds. As Dave Tippett said after the game, "It was more like a hurricane than a storm." The Wings capitalized on every chance they had. Look at how well our third and fourth lines played. Draper and Helm had the puck so tied up that Draper just left for a change while he was down below the hash marks.
And now I don't have to worry about Lidstrom possibly playing his last game until at least Game Five of the next series.
Do I want to be mean to the Coyotes and their fans? Not really. I'll leave the hating to other bloggers. The drama comes with the playoffs and at this point in my hockey-watching career, if I can put aside differences and hold a conversation with someone who loves a different team, I'm not going to hate them, unless they're spouting stupid things at me or things that are complete BS. I haven't had a Yotes fan do that to me, but I suppose I haven't talked to a lot of them.
So dear Coyotes fans, Thanks for the drama. No playoff series would be complete without it. You and your team were worthy adversaries, even if some of us Wings fans don't want to admit it. But be warned for the future: a beer bottle thrown on the ice =/= an octopus. A beer bottle = NASCAR, not hockey. And I respected your White Outs because it was the Winnipeg Jets' White Outs. You know, in case you were wondering that.
Keep the love for your team alive. Everyone undersold you at the start of the year - including me, who pegged you guys at twelve wins. If you guys really love your hockey team, show that support. Or else they'll be shipping off somewhere else in the next few years.
Four consecutive years of making it to the semi-finals for the Red Wings. Making it there to face a team that is a perpetual choker in the playoffs. To face Joe Thornton, who is both a lousy ventriloquist and turns into a ghost in April [and sometimes May]. To face a team that they are 3-1 against this season, the one loss coming in a shootout. Does San Jose scare me as much as Phoenix? No. Should I be scared? Probably. But for now, I'm still riding that high of making it to the next round.
If they wanted to announce the schedule, that would be awesome. And the fact that we made it to the next round means that I can keep wearing Wings shirts to work and there will still be Red Wings hockey for my birthday next week. For now, enjoy your victory, Hockeytown. You can start the worrying and the planning after a well-rested night of sleep.