Abel to Yzerman
by IwoCPO on 04/18/14 at 10:12 AM ET
No one understands it. There is not a hockey fan reading this blog right now who can possibly grasp what Wing fans are going through, unless they're Wing fans themselves.
No one else. Not in Montreal or Pittsburgh. Not in Boston or Chicago. Certainly not in Denver and definitely not in St. Louis.
None of them can possibly fathom the rumbly in the tumblies of Wing fans because we've been weened on excellence. The rest of them have hopes. We have expectations. In St. Louis, they have wishes that they know, for a fact, will definitely be dashed. Today, Wing fans can claim we'd be happy to be competitive. But, in the backs of our minds, because we know the taste of it, we're thinking about a parade.
No group of fans, other than us, understand the horrific stress that accompanies sustained success.
"Underdog" means nothing. In public places, with other fans who don't understand what we know to be true, we'll say it's actually kind of nifty..this position our team is in, the "underdogs". We'll say we revel in it, that it's unique and kind of fun.
But that's bullshit. Nobody but Wing fans read below the click so I can say that now. In private. The Detroit Red Wings are never "underdogs". Ever. Ken Holland is not a wunderkind. He is the fuching gold standard. Mike Babcock is not the fresh-faced Jon Cooper winning people over with his youth and enthusiasm, his grounded approach, his "player-friendly" techniques. Mike Babcock is the best coach in professional sports. Not just hockey. All of sports. Tell me someone who's better.
The Winged Wheel is not an "underdog". The Winged Wheel is the favorite. Always. Because that's what this organ-I-zation has built.
Pavel Datsyuk is not an "underdog". He is the best two-way player in hockey. Niklas Kronwall is not an "underdog". He is a missile.
I'd bet the chatter is getting tiresome. I'll bet you the Wings are tired of hearing what a surprise this would be if they beat big, bad Boston. And I'm betting the chips on their shoulders are getting bigger. Edmonton in '06 was an underdog. They were mediocre. But they had a system and they employed it at just the right time. Mike Babcock was a different man back then, a different coach.
The Babcock of '06 is not the Babcock of '14 and the Detroit Red Wings are not Hickory, Indiana. We don't need a gimp to sink two free throws in the regional finals to miraculously propel us to the state championship against a bigger, stronger, heavily favored South Bend squad.
Detroit is South Bend.
And because of all that, the playoffs are harder on us than anyone else. With high expectations, built through years of brilliance, comes a greater possibility of high-velocity expulsion of multiple bodily fluids. Simultaneously.
"Underdogs"? Negative. A "tough out"? The toughest out.
This is not the Live Blog. It's a reminder. It's a reminder that you'll be nervous today and that's ok. You're sick already and I get it. Just don't forget the reason why the playoffs suck and suck hard: because your expectations are higher than anyone else's. Anyone's.
"Underdogs"? We'll see about that. All it takes is one win out of the first two and we'll see how many pharmacists are talking "underdogs" and instead shift to, "the same old Wings."
Ready. Set. Vomit. Nobody knows the trouble you'll see, because no one else follows a team who's earned the right to give you this kind of stress.
God help us all.
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About Abel to Yzerman
Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977. No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y. Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation. There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature. Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org