Too many people at work this morning told me the Wings could pull it off and listed reasons as to why they can. And here I am, trying to be pessimistic for once and not get my hopes up so that I'm not disappointed if/when they lose. A lot of people told me I should drink a lot of coffee to stay awake for the game. Screw that, I'll need it tomorrow morning when I'm opening at work on four hours of sleep after staying up for the game.
I told myself on Thursday that if the Red Wings won, all it would do would get my hopes up for a nearly impossible comeback and I would be looking forward to Game Five and we would lose and I would be absolutely devastated. At least I was prepared for a loss in Game Four. Game Five...I'd like to say that I'm expecting failure, but that's a half-lie.
Don't stop believing. It's as simple as that. The song that plays at The Joe when victory is within our grasp. It's a simple enough lyric, an even simpler action. Believing isn't impossible and if there's any team that can pull this off, it's us. Because we have The Mule, who is hungrier than ever. Because we have a core group of veterans who want that fifth ring to make a complete fist with. Because we have those rookies who want to win the Cup. Because we have players who were disappointed that they were just one goal away from winning it against last year.
Every game past Game Four is a bonus game for me, because I honestly believed that we were done. If we win tonight, that's fantastic. If we don't, well, it was a good run, a good season. And the Wings will have done what they were supposed to do: end on a ridiculously awesome win at home and lose on the road. Hell, if you would have told me three months ago that the Wings would make it to the second round playing the Sharks, I would have laughed in your face because the Sharks are playoff chokers and the Wings were sitting in tenth in the conference.
If I may quote myself for a moment, bringing your attention back to the upcoming Game Five: Pray for consistent reffing on both sides of the call. Pray that the Red Wings play out of their damn minds like last game. Pray that Nabokov has an off night and Jimmy Howard looks less like a rookie and more like Chris Osgood when he came in for Hasek in the 2008 playoffs. Pray that the Game Seven Red Wings show up. [Game Seven against Phoenix or Game Seven against the Avs in '02.]
Watch your captain, Wingnuts. Watch Nick Lidstrom like you've never watched him before. Because this could be the last game you ever see him play. As depressing of a thought as that is, it might just be the truth. I never wanted him to have an ending like Stevie Y, but it may have just come to that.
I'll be wearing my Franzen jersey when I see Iron Man 2 at 7:30 tonight [so if you happen to see a crazy girl wearing a Mule jersey walk past, it's probably me]. I'll be wearing it during the Wings game, too. It's 4-0 at the Joe and now 2-0 at my house.
We're living on a prayer, Hockeytown. And sometimes that's the best damn hockey you'll see, when your team is living on a prayer.