Go away. There's nothing to see here. It's not like I was openly weeping on Woodward or anything. (I actually wasn't. I swear.)
I had a bad feeling about this game right from the start, which combined with the general lousiness of my day has me in that all too frequent playoff mood in which I claim to never wish to see a hockey game again. This will, of course, change. I'll wake up tomorrow and go to work. I'll probably scare some co-workers who happen to look at me the wrong way, and then I'll be back online obsessively reading blogs in search of the latest news. It happens every time.
I woke up in the middle of the night last night after having a dream/nightmare that the game went to OT. Then I drove for an hour to drop some stuff off in my new apartment, and I discovered that the other subletter had stolen my bedroom. So I got to spend a bunch of time on the phone with the girl I'm subletting from trying to straighten things out, and now my new roommate officially hates me. Whatever. I can live with that. I thought maybe an afternoon trip to Ikea would help me commune with the Wings' Swedish legion, but apparently victories are the only thing you can't buy there. Then I headed down to the Hockeytown Cafe with some friends. What happened to all of the fun stuff they were doing in the first round? I was looking forward to the trivia and raffles and pom poms. We ended up in that dive bar up on the top level. My bar stool was so rickety that it took a minor miracle to help it survive the night. It also helped that, much like the Wings, I pretty much shut down halfway through the second period and stopped bouncing up and down every time either team had a scoring chance. To make matters worse, as soon as the game was over, they pumped up the volume and started blasted the Numa Numa song. It was like the final insult of the day. Actually it wasn't, because when we got back to my car, I realized that the gas light was on and it was a race against time to get out of Detroit before being forced to stop at a gas station, which every good suburban girl knows is a major no-no.
On top of that, Datsyuk sat out once again. This time he took the pre-game skate, apparently only in order to drive a knife further through my hopes and dreams while simultaneously ripping out my fingernails. So were we just playing mindgames all day saying he was probably in? Right now, I don't even care. I'm not going to even attempt a recap.
At this point in the series, it's fairly apparent that the only two Red Wings interested in winning the Stanley Cup are Henrik Zetterberg and Darren Helm. Everyone else seems to be just going through the motions. None of them even look like they care. And that's honestly the part that stings the most about this particular loss. Ozzie's really trying, but when you get hung out to dry by your defense like that, there's not a whole lot you can do. I certainly can't blame him for any of the goals he let in.
On the other end of the ice, MAF had a disgustingly easy night. He obviously made the saves when he had to, but there weren't any that stand out in my mind as being spectacular.
Possibly my favorite clip of the night was when Versus showed a freeze-frame of the Penguins entering the zone on the play that led to their first goal. Now I couldn't hear the sound in the bar, but it sure looked like they were offside. Not that it would really matter since the Wings lost by two, but I feel obligated to continue my crusade against the NHL officials.
In the second period, the Wings came out and actually looked pretty good. When they went up less than a minute in, I was starting to feel a strange and rare emotion that must be something akin to happiness. They seemed to be carrying the play. Then they got a powerplay. And they got another one after that. And then Pittsburgh scored. Which, if I'm not mistaken, isn't supposed to happen. Giving up shorthanded goals in the Stanly Cup Finals is simply unacceptable. There's no excuse for it. Not only can they not kill off penalties to save their lives, they can't even make it through their own friggin powerplay without giving up a goal. And to make matters worse, after that, the Wings just seemed to shut down. It was after Crosby's goal that I said, "Oh my god, we're gonna lose this game." I knew it then, deep down. I allowed myself to hope for a little while because if any team can lay down some offensive fire power, it's the Wings, but I didn't really expect it to happen. In my mind I was already concentrating on making excuses for why I won't be attending my softball game on Tuesday.
My second favorite highlight of the night was about halfway through the third when Kirk Maltby decided to return Sidney Crosby's post-Game 1 love tap. Crosby dove in such an epic fashion that I was expecting a panel judges to award points for degree of difficulty. Then, he stayed down on the ice and limped his way back to the bench. Miraculousy, though, he didn't seem to miss a shift. Maybe I'm just old-school, but if you're hurt enough to stay down in your own zone while your team is still trying to clear the puck, then you had better be hurt enough to at least need some work from the trainer. Get back in the play. This isn't basketball, despite what your sugar daddy Bettman may have told you.
I don't know why, but this picture from NHL.com really amused me. I really feel like it sums up the game well.
First off, it looks like Homer's having himself a good cry there. Which is understandable given the amount of turnovers he's given up during this series. Babcock looks like he's whispering sweet nothings into Z's ear (not that I can blame him...). Z looks like he's using some sort of Jedi mind trick on Crosby. Cleary is apparently staring off into space or being distracted by a bumble bee, which I can only assume were popular pass-times on the Wings bench during the second period.
Now I realize that this post has been excessively angry, but that comes with the territory of being a die-hard fan. If you don't like it, then now's about time for you to hop off of the bandwagon. There are ups and there are downs. Right now, it feels like we're stuck at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. But remember Sunday night? We thought we were flying high. Things can turn around that quickly. At least that's what I'm telling myself so that I'll be able to sleep tonight. Tomorrow it's possible that I'll feel better, but probably only if I make a trip to the batting cages. There's something about hitting balls using a large metal bat that I've always found therapeutic.