I honestly do think that the Wings feed off of getting counted out. I believe that they get double the satisfaction from each victory knowing that nobody outside of Detroit wants them to win. I think they love starting every series as the "expert analysts'" underdog despite being the higher seed. It sounds stupid to keep harping on it, but if you don't think they didn't collectively snarl at that stupid commercial about the Pens fan with his TV in a penalty box that made it look like Pittsburgh actually won, than you're crazy. These are proud athletes. They know what's waiting for them when they step out on the ice. And to all of the fans on both sides of the ice, if you think this is going to be be a short series or an easy one, you're a moron. We're all in for a lot of gut-wrenching moments and devastating heartbreak. I just hope that I survive.
To the Red Wings, playing in their 99th game of the season (and 108th if you include exhibitions) against a team that wants to do nothing less than wrest the Stanley Cup from their grasp is fun. Playing through bumps and bruises and fatigue on hockey's highest ground, for all the marbles, in front of the world's eyes is fun. For them, there's nothing better than heading into their tenth month of playing hockey after another ten-month season means yet another challenge to be the best players they can be and the best team they can be. They don't give a damn about the hype, about the pressure, about the media frenzy--they feed off that, but this is about embracing the opportunity to rise to yet another level of play, to compete and battle and wage war against a team that wants to take what you have. They love playing hockey, and for them, there's nothing better than playing in the Stanley Cup finals.
How do you bet against a team that's smiling?
On a side note, at this point, I'm alternating between having a heart attack and a stroke. My body parts seem to be playing Rock, Paper, Scissors to determine which organ implodes first.