So today was miserable. It was filled with leftover angst from Game 4, ridiculous amounts of personal drama, and the lurking sense of dread that accompanies every must-win playoff game. On top of that, I'm probably going to be missing the first half of Game 5, so I've already warned my boss that I'm going to be curled up in the breakroom in a fetal position for the last hour or so of work.
I was planning on going through the lineup calling out all of the Wings who have been under-performing, but quite frankly, I don't have the time. Plus, I don't want it to sound like I'm turning my back on my boys. Depending on how Game 5 goes, maybe I'll be forced to revisit the idea during the extra day off.
I forced myself to read all of the coverage on the several websites that I read. I even made it through the Pens Blog, although that was much easier because they don't seem to be fond of using words. This was an example of one of the many masochistic tendencies that I've picked up over the years as a Wings fan. No matter how much it hurts, I'm drawn to it. Like an insect to a bug-zapper lamp. Or the way you can't help but stare at roadkill. I didn't finish my daily hockey reading until about five minutes ago, thanks to work and a heavy dose of roommate conflicts today. Now that I'm done, I'm thoroughly depressed. I realize that this is pathetic, but it comes with the territory. And you know that. You're the same way. Otherwise you would settle for skimming the sports section and wouldn't be caught within the blast radius of my suddenly violently angry hockey blog.
Babcock says Datsyuk will be in for Game 5. Bingo Bango says that's a lie. I don't know what to believe. I'm choosing not to think about it so that I can make it through ten hours of work tomorrow.
Also according to Bingo Bango, the Tigers are jinxing the Wings. I'm not much of a believer in these kinds of things, but at this point, I'm going to be avoiding anyone with knowledge of the Tigers' score like they have swine flu.
There is one, and only one, glimmer of hope right now. And it is that the Wings have yet to play well. This sounds completely contradictory and nonsensical, I know, but let me explain. They've played like crap for the most part, but still find themselves tied 2-2. So now it's a new series, sort of. And they have the opportunity to turn it around. We'll see if they've got the kind of character we all think they do. It's terrible that they wasted the lead they built in Games 1 and 2, but they're still halfway through the series.
I don't buy the stuff about the Wings being too tired at the end of Game 4. I just think that they checked out somewhere around the mid-point of the game, and thus looked like they couldn't have won a game in a nursing home broomball league.
I'm also not a big believer in game-to-game momentum. Within a game itself, there is most definitely momentum. And it's fairly obvious (or at least I think so, but it could just be that I'm a hockey snob) which team is dominating. But I've never been one to believe that that kind of thing carries over. Anger might, but momentum is the kind of thing that has to be established from the beginning of the game. And it can change on a dime, which is what makes hockey so addicting and also so frustrating. It's why you could walk on air when the Wings win, and vow to never watch another second of hockey in your life when they lose. You know you'll be back, even if it kills you.
What the Wings really need is for their scorers to show up for Game 5. Goals by Darren Helm and Jonny E are fun to talk about and make for a great story-line, but when your back is against the wall, it's time for the big guns to step up and earn their paychecks.
The long story short is that the Wings have the Stanley Cup within their reach. They have it within their power to stick it to Gary Bettman and cement their claim to a dynasty. Whether or not they do so is entirely up to them. If they roll over and die again like they did in Game 4, the series is over and I'll be forced to spend the entirety of next season throwing up in my mouth every thirty seconds when they run a Sidney-Crosby-holding-the-Cup commercial. But if they show up to play like the unstoppable red machine that they are, well, maybe, just maybe, I'll be partying in Hart Plaza again this year.
So tomorrow, I'll wake up and go to work, like I always do. The good news is that I only have a week left at this job, so even if my co-workers think I'm a raving lunatic, it won't matter for long. I'll spend all of my down-time and probably some a significant portion of my busy time desperately attempting to cut a deal with the Hockey Gods. I'll probably swear a lot, because that's what I do when I'm stressed out. And if I'm lucky, I'll get home before the game. It worked last Saturday. But most likely, I'll be standing in front of the TV mesmerized and completely neglecting my job.
And for now...Hockey Gods, if you're listening, just about anything is up for grabs. My car, my Scotty Bowman bobblehead, my soul, my rally rag/security blanket from last year. My Steve Yzerman jersey stays with me, but you're free to claim dibs on my firstborn child, if you're interested.