I get the sense that a lot of you don't like the Penguins. The comments I read on other Wing sites ... man, you fuckers are vicious. You can't stand this team, their fans, or the perceived love affair that the Commish has with Sidney Crosby's penis. Even my hetero cohort Brent hates the Pens, and he's a relatively friendly guy (one time he offered to make me a pork tenderloin .... again I stress: hetero. I swear.)
So I'm going to voice what is probably an uncommon opinion for somebody in my seat: I'm happy the Penguins beat the Hurricanes. I want to see a rematch, and not one of the 2002 Finals. I want to face Pittsburgh not because I think we have a better chance of beating them than the Canes, but because it would be more rewarding. You might say winning the Cup is rewarding enough, and I understand that, but ideally, to go through the Poster Boy twice in as many years would be rather choice. It would be the cherry on the icing of the Dynasty cake. Carolina, to me, would leave something to be desired, mainly because this has felt inevitable since the Pens got hot a few months ago. That team was deader than dead. Then, Bylsma happened -- and these two teams have been on a collision course ever since. Had Carolina won this series, it wouldn't have felt right to me. I'm excited that we're only a win away from seeing an incredible rematch.
Another thing you might not like: I don't hate the Penguins. In fact I liked them all through the Mario years (at least 15% of this "like" is probably attributed to the movie Sudden Death; Van Damme lighting the guy on fire with a squirt gun was one of the 10 greatest moments of my childhood). I don't like Crosby any more than you do, but the hockey fan in me loves watching them play, especially Malkin. That guy's an absolute beast. On the whole I'd be grasping at straws for reasons to hate them, so I'm not going to conform to it. I mean, I hope we beat the shit out of them, but that's different. I want to see that regardless of who we play.
And don't doubt that a rematch would be incredible. Last year's series wasn't quite "great" on the historic scale: from the 3rd person-view, the first two games were duds; the third one was close and extremely tense; the fourth one was a flat-out great hockey game; the fifth one was an epic, Pantheon achievement of human excellence that, for Wings fans at least, was like being put through a five hour-long execution; and the sixth one was an OK game with a terrific finish. So, just think how insane a rematch would be, as the Champs defend their trophy to the death while the hungry underdogs would rather die than lose once again. Yeah, that's a lot of dying ... ultimately though a series this huge would not be without such casualties. We have their hired gun from last year, and that's going to motivate them like crazy, regardless of what they say publically. They've got the memory and experience of that horrible sting they felt last year, and for that reason alone this series would be very, very tough. Historic, even.
We have got to win tomorrow night. Championship teams don't have their opponents' as emotionally pummelled as the Hawks are without finishing them off. A home loss under these conditions would be weak to the highest degree.
Don't fuck up. Go Wings.