After waiting a long 6 months and watching numerous teams set out on their 82-game odysseys, the NHL Playoffs are now set to begin. Now as a Capitals fan I should be excited to see if my team can finally get over the hump and win Lord Stanley for the first time, but I have to say I’m completely terrified.
The NHL Playoffs are the most exciting time for hockey fans around the globe, but for many diehard hockey fans like myself, these next two months are full of absolutely unbearable stress. I should be looking forward to this time of year, but the fact that my squad is always four L’s away from another disappointing season is just too much for me to handle.
The Capitals are far and away the favorite to run away with the cup this year, but we all know nothing is ever guaranteed for Ovi and the Caps. Capitals fans and hockey people around the world are just waiting for another classic Caps choke job (they’ve never made it past the 2nd round during the Ovechkin era), and I can’t say I’m not losing hours on hours of sleep when this terrifying thought creeps into my head.
Ok, that’s enough talking about the Caps (at least for now), so let’s look at the other playoff matchups that are set to take off this spring. In the east we have the Caps vs. Leafs, Blue Jackets vs. Penguins, Canadiens vs. Rangers and Senators vs. Bruins. Looking at the west, we’ll be seeing the Blackhawks vs. Predators, Wild vs. Blues, Ducks vs. Flames and Oilers vs. Sharks.
Now the amount of storylines that are coming out of these matchups is off the charts starting with McDavid and Matthews’ first appearances in the NHL Playoffs. But, my pessimistic self can’t help to see all the negatives that are at play here.
Looking at the east we see the wonderful matchup between the Pittsburgh Penguins taking on the Blue Jackets. This is just classic NHL. With the NHL randomly deciding to completely switch up the playoff format to a bracket styled tournament a couple years ago, we all now have to deal with the fact that the #2 and #4 overall teams in the entire league will have to play in the first round. And to make matters even worse, instead of reseeding after the first round, the winner of this series will have to play the winner of the Capitals vs. Maple Leafs series. Now, barring any catastrophic meltdown from the Caps in the first round, we will once again see the Presidents Trophy winning Caps being punished for being the best regular season team in a backwards reality that leaves me with nothing to say but thanks, NHL.
After getting all that anger out of my system, I will admit that the NHL Playoffs are still awesome. Seeing the level of commitment from the players as they’re willing to sacrifice their body to block 100 mph slap shots on a nightly basis is admirable as a hockey fan. And I’m not even mentioning the beards. Nothing gets me more excited about the playoffs than seeing a hefty playoff beard that just screams MAN. All I have to say is I’m really going to miss this work of art that the great Henrik Zetterberg blesses us with every year, since his Red Wings failed to make the playoffs for the first time in 25 years. Yes, you read that correctly. They are a model franchise for all of professional sports
Now I’ll just leave you guys with this fantastic video put together by the NHL that really puts into perspective how meaningful these next two months will be for the entire hockey world. Oh and also, Caps over Blackhawks in 6. SEND IT.