It’s that time of year again, Columbus. Snow has yielded to rain, the robins have returned, and the trees will soon be green. Spring is in the air, and it’s time for romance. Go ahead, Jacket Fan, Rick Nash won’t mind….he’ll still be there for you in October. Fall in love with NHL playoff hockey.
It’s not cheating when your team’s out of the playoffs, right? Or at least that’s my justification. Pick a favorite and come along for the ride….grab whichever one of these sexy playoff teams meets your fancy. We’re talking the best of the best of hockey here, the 16 best teams, fighting for what is hands-down the coolest trophy in sports: the Stanley Cup. Don’t we all want to have an etching on its shiny silver exterior, a notch in its headboard?
I’m sure there will be a time again when we will bask in the glow of playoff love with our very own Blue Jackets. That spring romance in 2009 sure was something special, wasn’t it? At some point I’ll fully re-live the nostalgia of my one playoff romance with Columbus (which, sadly, represents exactly one-half of the playoff games in the club’s 10-year history). But for now, I shall choose a 2011 playoff mistress and enjoy the free-spirited thrill ride that will occur over the next few weeks. Last year I chose wisely, as my spring romance with the Chicago Blackhawks ended in the hoisting of Lord Stanley’s Cup. Not only did I cheat on the Blue Jackets….but a divisional foe, that’s like hooking up with her sister.
In order to make a choice for your playoff love, it might help to better know the options. There are the reigning prom queen Blackhawks; and the tom-boy Flyers who could kick your butt. There are the classic beauties – Rangers, Bruins, Canadiens – and the girls next door who’ve been pretty as long as you can remember: Canucks, Kings, Sharks, Sabres, Capitals, and Penguins. There are some teams – Coyotes, Ducks, Lightning – who you absolutely can’t believe are hotter than your team. (Are you kidding me, Disneyland has a Stanley Cup championship?!?) And there are, of course, the girls so heinously ugly that you should never, ever be tempted to fall in love with them: the Predators, and especially the Red Wings.
So who is my playoff darling for 2011? The star quality of Washington is tempting, and some of my best friends fancy Pittsburgh. It’s kind of sexy that Montreal has that French Canadian accent, until you realize what snobby bee-otch she is. But after careful consideration, I’m going to choose the Vancouver Canucks. They have the greatest pair of twins in the league – Henrik and Daniel Sedin – and the heart and soul of a Buckeye (Ryan Kesler). They have a firm backside (goaltender Roberto Luongo), and the overall beauty of Western Canada. There are even some Columbus ties in there, with former Blue Jacket players Manny Malhotra and Raffi Torres on the roster.
Vancouver, I choo-choo choose you. Let’s dance together through the post-season, and have the time of our lives. But fair warning: should you lose before the Finals, I will probably run off with another companion for a summer fling.
And Jackets, sit tight. When it’s all said and done, we’ll be cozying up together again next year at Nationwide.
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Throughout the playoffs, I’ll be checking in with our friends at The Canuck Way for excellent coverage of Vancouver hockey. You can get outstanding information about any NHL team by visiting the Hockey Blogs area of our parent site, Fansided.com.