Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

All Aboard and All In

There is no Stress Train in Vancouver, or in Nashville or Anaheim.  And, despite their claims, it’s never stopped in Pittsburgh or Chicago or Washington.  You see, the Train only stops in places where the Cup has been, and then returned.  You don’t get your ticket punched following a one-trick team that’s sold their soul to the troll commish.  Wishes and dreams have no place on the Stress Train.  The only emotion allowed is absolute certainty that your team is owed the Cup, that your team will absolutely win the Cup.  That you own it.

You aren’t occasional passengers.  You don’t look a few months forward in January and say, “you know…this might be our year.”  Every waking day from June to June is spent knowing that if the Cup isn’t in Hockeytown within 12 months, then something has gone completely and totally wrong.  That’s the kind of attitude you have and it’s the Swagger that gets you a seat in the Hasek.

But the Stress Train isn’t a joy ride.  Those trips are for fans of Phoenix or Nashville. They’re aboard the tiny little zoo locomotives with the happy conducter in his cool hat.  They’re making their train noises and jumping up and down while their parents hope they don’t choke on Charleston Chews.  They don’t belong with you, not in the same breath, sentence or category.  To them, the playoffs are fun.  Every win is a new toy to play with and savor.  For us, the fun’s over—literally—within an hour.  Why? Because it’s always the next one. The next win, the next Cup.  “Next?” is the drunken refrain every time the Hasek empties.

Semantics? Nope. Reality.  While fans in Phoenix foolishly allow themselves to look ahead and say, “wouldn’t it be great if?”, we count down from 16, cross off our Tuesdays and start our drunken proclamations with “When Woodward’s closed in June…” And it will be.  We know it.  It’s how we choose to live, with a rock-solid certainty that our hockey team is the best in the world, and any Cup that doesn’t come home to Detroit is a slight against nature.  A Cupless year is an exception.  In every city but ours it’s an accepted norm.

But, by god, with those expectations comes a price and it’s a toll that’s paid in ways fans of other teams would never understand.  Baby Jesus and Steve Yzerman promised us long ago that the Stanley Cup would be ours with a regularity that would create a degree of envy around the league that approaches insanity.  But when we boarded this train we did so with the understanding that along with the highs, there would be gutter-swilling lows.

And the fear of those lows is why you hate days like today. It’s why there isn’t a single member of the 19 who can look to April as a month of warmth and re-birth.  Spring means searing pain and an emotional wrecking ball that smashes into our living rooms every other night.  The playoffs suck because there are no moral victories.  The playoffs suck because real-life can never match our expectations but our expectations never waiver. 

No other group of fans has a right to worry the way we do because none of them have any idea what it’s like when the most talented team in hockey disappoints them.  We live in a state of terror that we’ll have to experience that again.  It’s gut wrenching and it’s destructive.  Do you really think anyone in Phoenix has had an ex tell a mediator that the biggest problem in their relationship is that their spouse cares more about the Coyotes than the marriage?

And if so, did the accused spouse answer with, “Well..only during the playoffs.”  Guilty as charged.  Why?

Because I’m a Red Wing fan and I know what I should rightfully expect.  I’m all in.  Just like you.  All frigging in.  We don’t set ourselves up for dealing with failure. We don’t temper our expectations or prepare to be happy with a strong, but fruitless, effort.  We begin the playoffs with a rock-solid knowledge that the Detroit Red Wings will win the Stanley Cup because that’s How Life Is Supposed To Work.  You want to walk into these playoffs wondering, sputtering, guessing and wishful?  Head up and left to Vancouver.  You are cocky.  You are entitled. You are Red Wing fans.

You fear the playoffs because the worst could happen, and it has.  But it’s a chance you take when you don that McCarty jersey.  You hate the playoffs because it’s easier than embracing them like the lemmings and the wishful thinkers.  It’s not fun until it’s over and it’s not going to be over, this year, for another two months.  Horrible calls. Injuries. Losses that cause tantrums, pet sacrifices, counseling and fractured relationships. 

It’s your own damn fault. Nobody forced you to board this train.  Nobody made it some law that says you have to be a Wing fan, you know.  You could have given the game up long ago, during the dark times, the pre-Captain era.  You could have taken that easy way out.  But you didn’t, and now there’s no turning back.  So deal with it however you can.  Or like I do.  Accept it because you know that history tells us you have a better chance than anyone for a reward that you know better than anyone else.

All aboard bitches.  16 to 12.

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Comments

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Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit's avatar

the pre-Captain era.

Darkness was our only friend. Some of us are old timers. Even in those days when making the playoffs was impossible, you wouldn’t dare to even consider that. Not until the last game was played and all hope was lost. 

But, then there was next season, and it starts all over again. The same scene playing out for over 40 years, and, every year I still Believe. So onward and upward we will go.

Thanks Chief. Now, Let’s Roll this bitch right into #12.

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 04/13/11 at 10:03 AM ET

VooX's avatar

Nice one, Chief. 

I think the primary difference us Wings fans have from non-Wings fans is they have hope, we have paralyzing fear.  Fear that the Cup, which is rightfully ours annually, will slip through our grasp because of some horrible mistake by the Wings or the refs.

Every shot against is the one which will cause our demise.  Every blown pinch causes us to clinch up and turn coals to diamonds.  Every time we can’t clear out zone spells impending doom.  Every missed opportunity on the PP will be a fatal mistake that will swing the game’s momentum.

For Red Wings fans, there are no stress free moments in the playoffs. We have too much experience on how the Cup can slip through our fingers.  Refs, injuries, bad bounces, bad clearing attempts, no energy: we’ve had everything possible take our Cup away. 

Experience is a double-edged sword.  On the one hand, we have had more hookers, puppies, and firetrucks than any other fans in modern times.  On the other, we know how easily it can all turn to a steaming turd.  It’s the intoxication that enables us to ride the swings without harming ourselves, and only destroying out relationships and lives of our pets.

Posted by VooX from Behind the Bar in the Hasek Club Car on 04/13/11 at 10:04 AM ET

Guilherme's avatar

Best. Post. Ever.

So many quotables pieces, Absolutely loved it.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 04/13/11 at 10:11 AM ET

Guilherme's avatar

Oh hell. It was so good I forgot all about English.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 04/13/11 at 10:28 AM ET

Guilherme's avatar

Every blown pinch causes us to clinch up and turn coals to diamonds.

“Pardon my French, but Cameron is so tight that if you stuck a lump of coal up his ass, in two weeks you’d have a diamond.”

No wonder he’s a Wings fan.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 04/13/11 at 10:32 AM ET

Primis's avatar

The difference between Wings fans and fans of other teams is that Wings fans KNOW every single year that their team is good enough to win the Cup.

No other team can say that, because the team and organization truly is inferior by comparison.

Clock says it’s 16 to 12…

Posted by Primis on 04/13/11 at 10:48 AM ET

Guilherme's avatar

Clock says it’s 16 to 12…

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 04/13/11 at 11:07 AM ET

Osrt's avatar

It’s a family reunion!

Glad to see you Voox.

I’m gonna bend over and pay up for Center ice so I can watch the games on demand. A few jobs in Amsterdam and I’m rich biatch. Official job title, The Pimp Hand of Wrath.

Good times.

Posted by Osrt on 04/13/11 at 11:07 AM ET

YYZerman's avatar

I didn’t move all the way from Phoenix to Detroit not to see a parade. Lets Go Wings

Posted by YYZerman from Detroit, Michigan on 04/13/11 at 11:23 AM ET

FranzensMouthguard's avatar

I’m with herm, best post ever, exactly how I feel, on the Clark bus right now in my homer jersey, some girl is glaring at me hard lol

Posted by FranzensMouthguard from Chicago, IL on 04/13/11 at 11:26 AM ET

VooX's avatar

Posted by Osrt on 04/13/11 at 09:07 AM ET

What’s up Disco Biscuit?  Glad to hear from you.

hockeystreams.com for me until CBC carries the games.  Although, based upon the H2H2 game, their quality is not as good as a couple of years ago (ironically).  Still, I’d rather give them money than Li’l Gary this year.

Posted by VooX from Behind the Bar in the Hasek Club Car on 04/13/11 at 11:28 AM ET

VooX's avatar

TEASER:

In exactly two hours the playoff-picture will be complete.  There is still SOMETHING missing from what we need to head into the playoffs…

Do you know what is still missing this year?

Posted by VooX from Behind the Bar in the Hasek Club Car on 04/13/11 at 11:30 AM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

Effin A sailor.
All aboard.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 04/13/11 at 11:32 AM ET

hockeychic's avatar

All aboard! Bus driver gave me crap for my Datsyuk sweater. This is a great day and a horrible day. I bid good bye to my family and said, “see ya in June.”

16 to 12

Let’s go Red Wings!!!

Posted by hockeychic from Denver, CO on 04/13/11 at 11:36 AM ET

Pharazon's avatar

awesome post chief…

rolling into the station… all aboard…

Posted by Pharazon from England on 04/13/11 at 11:36 AM ET

w2j2's avatar

Well said, Chief!
And that is why I have my single malt scotch in the paper sack I am carrying onto the Hasek Train.
In Babs we trust…

Posted by w2j2 on 04/13/11 at 11:44 AM ET

MarkK's avatar

Do you know what is still missing this year?

Let’s see…
Rising number of disallowed goals? Check
Lil’ Gary’s favorite teams made it in? Check
‘08 Conn Smythe winner injured? Check

Chief is “back”... Check
Stockpile of warm beer and hard liquor… Check
List of live stream sites… check
All aboard the Stress Train? For sure…

I don’t know Voox, you’ll have to enlighten us.

Posted by MarkK from Maryland on 04/13/11 at 11:47 AM ET

Jeff  OKWingnut's avatar

Who would have ever thought that Sailors were such able scribes?

Well done, Chief.  Warped, but well-done.

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 04/13/11 at 11:47 AM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

I’ll drink to that Chief (well later I will).  I just have a feeling that Modano will awaken during this first series while Hank is out. Perhaps like John Drive did for the Caps about 20 years ago. Helm is also gonna be big. Oh and Uni Bomber?  feel free to run Doan as often as you like.

Posted by Down River Dan on 04/13/11 at 11:59 AM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

That shoud read John Druce.  (damn auto correct)

Posted by Down River Dan on 04/13/11 at 12:05 PM ET

Incognetis's avatar

I’m gonna bend over and pay up for Center ice so I can watch the games on demand. A few jobs in Amsterdam and I’m rich biatch. Official job title, The Pimp Hand of Wrath.

Good times.

Posted by Osrt on 04/13/11 at 09:07 AM ET

Um, you might want to hold off on that… all of the games in this round are either on Versus or NBC, so the FSD broadcast will be blacked out on Center Ice/GameCenter.  Since I am cable-less, I’ll be looking for the not-quite-legal sources for the games.  What did I shell out $160 for again?  Thanks, Gary.  Ass.

Posted by Incognetis from Delaware... Hi... I'm in... Delaware on 04/13/11 at 12:10 PM ET

WingsFaninCO's avatar

Oh and Uni Bomber?  feel free to run Doan as often as you like.

Posted by Down River Dan on 04/13/11 at 09:59 AM ET

And Yandle, that dirty fuch that doesn’t deserve this Norris talk i have heard around him.

A little reminder and something to get the blood boiling this morning:

http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy/post/Video-Keith-Yandle-classes-up-Coyotes-eliminat?urn=nhl-237404

(couln’t find it on youtube

Posted by WingsFaninCO on 04/13/11 at 12:14 PM ET

WingsFaninCO's avatar

and take some runs at Yandle*

—kinda out of it this morning

Posted by WingsFaninCO on 04/13/11 at 12:16 PM ET

Guilherme's avatar

Damn, I have a class tonite, probably wont watch most of the game (unless the wifi in school is feeling fine again).

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 04/13/11 at 12:29 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

OK, got my Homer jersey on.  I’m ready - wait, I’m not ready.  No, I’m ready.  No, I’m not.  I’m ready.  No, I’m not ready. 

Oh hell, bring it on already!  Is it 7 o’clock yet?

LET’S GO RED WINGS !!!!!

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 04/13/11 at 12:36 PM ET

jennyquarx's avatar

This is an awesome post. 

I woke up freaking out, just like the rest of you.  I was actually calm until today.  Then I just read on twitter that Custance says Modano is out and now I am in full on RSV mode.

Posted by jennyquarx on 04/13/11 at 01:19 PM ET

hockeychic's avatar

Jenny - I entered RSV mode about thirty minutes ago.

It’s going to be a long day….I probably won’t get to my DVR until about 8:00 tonight.  Sigh.

Posted by hockeychic from Denver, CO on 04/13/11 at 01:20 PM ET

jennyquarx's avatar

Oh okay, healthy scratch.  The way they made it sound, it was apocalyptic.

Posted by jennyquarx on 04/13/11 at 01:21 PM ET

Trish's avatar

This is the best time of year and it wrings us out like a wretched washcloth every time.  We love it and we hate it, every damn year.  Nothing to see here - move along.

All aboard . . . .

Posted by Trish from PalmBeachCntyFL on 04/13/11 at 01:25 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Screw Wysh’s “Wings in 7” prediction.

Wings in 4.

Posted by Primis on 04/13/11 at 02:06 PM ET

Pugna Vox's avatar

Gut: Rolling & heaving
Head: Manic & perseverating
Muscles: Twitching & shivering

Yep, it’s playoff time. A half bottle of Jagermeister in an iced goblet, plz, with 3/4 of a lethal dose of Valium to take the edge off. Also, might as well start the IV line now… it will save time later.

LGRW 11:44

Posted by Pugna Vox from Idiot Out Wandering Around on 04/13/11 at 02:08 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

And the fear of those lows is why you hate days like today. It’s why there isn’t a single member of the 19 who can look to April as a month of warmth and re-birth.  Spring means searing pain and an emotional wrecking ball that smashes into our living rooms every other night.  The playoffs suck because there are no moral victories.  The playoffs suck because real-life can never match our expectations but our expectations never waiver.

Chief, that is The Best Paragraph Ever of The Best Post Ever (though the bit about the divorce mediator is a close 2nd).  And the Emotional Biggest Wrecking Ball of Spring? Sudden Death Overtime.

Photobucket

These two teams went seven last year. The ‘Yotes play a disciplined defensive system. You know that means at least one game is going to Sudden Death OT. Hopefully, it will be Wile E. that drops off the cliff on that night. Whatever the outcome, every Sudden Death OT playoff game shaves at least a couple of years off my life; I can feel that in my bones.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 04/13/11 at 02:12 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

I didn’t move all the way from Phoenix to Detroit not to see a parade. Lets Go Wings
Posted by YYZerman from Detroit, Michigan on 04/13/11 at 09:23 AM ET

YYZerman, this is the playoffs, son. Your avatar is looking a little naked.

Here you go:

Photobucket

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 04/13/11 at 02:16 PM ET

WestWing's avatar

the Stress Train isn’t a joy ride.  Those trips are for fans of Phoenix or Nashville. They’re aboard the tiny little zoo locomotives with the happy conducter in his cool hat.  They’re making their train noises and jumping up and down while their parents hope they don’t choke on Charleston Chews

Sitting here at my computer at work wearing a Red Wing baseball cap, drinking coffee and trying to somehow convince myself that it’s just another and then I read that and barely manage to keep the coffee from spewing out my nose.

Of course the coffee turns to beer later on, and depending on how the evening goes, there could also be a nasty bout with liquor on the horizon, and Captain Dennis’ personal demons regarding playoff sudden-death overtime are hardly unique to him. 

The horror of Detroit Red Wings in postseason sudden death is long Dante’s ninth ring of hell, it makes my own blood curdle as it just never seems to go well for our boys.  It conjures up nightmarish visions of opposing goalies making impossible saves, pucks clanging off posts and the Wings dominating for long stretches of time until, finally, inevitably, and always in slow motion some freakish opposition goal, maybe off a skate or a funny bounce off the ice or an impossible deflection.  Yep, I know overtime all too well—The Wings always dominate OT, but somehow rarely win.  It sucks ass and it DOES literally take years off all our lives.

And on that note, I again bid you welcome to the playoffs my friends.  Nice to see such a strong turnout so early in the day!  I can hardly wait for the ceremonial first toss of vomit.  God I’m getting way too old for this.

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 04/13/11 at 02:41 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Isn’t it 7 o’clock YET?

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 04/13/11 at 02:59 PM ET

MsRedWingFan's avatar

Posted by MsRedWingFan from West Michigan hometown of Abdelkader on 04/13/11 at 03:03 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

Boom.

I was doing fine this morning, and now I read this….Might need to take the afternoon off.

See you bitches at game time.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 04/13/11 at 03:23 PM ET

SYF's avatar

My name is SYF and I’m a Detroit Red Wings fan.

I punched my ticket since the Farts denied the adorably cute and bouncing 8lb Sweet Baby Jesus His happy moment.

And because it’s apropos that I live in Vegas, I’m ALL IN, bitches.

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 04/13/11 at 03:33 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

52 members logged in on KK and it is still 5.5 hours until the first playoff puck drops. Hockey is addicting.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 04/13/11 at 03:34 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Let’s see…
Rising number of disallowed goals? Check
Lil’ Gary’s favorite teams made it in? Check
‘08 Conn Smythe winner injured? Check

Chief is “back”... Check
Stockpile of warm beer and hard liquor… Check
List of live stream sites… check
All aboard the Stress Train? For sure…

I don’t know Voox, you’ll have to enlighten us.

Posted by MarkK from Maryland on 04/13/11 at 09:47 AM ET

Don’t forget the fried chicken cooked in aircraft oil by short Filipino pimps from a fried chicken shack behind the old Subic Bay Naval Base.

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 04/13/11 at 03:40 PM ET

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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: wphoulihan@gmail.com