I don’t know about you but I’m a little relieved.
If I, as the world’s largest and most dedicated Red Wings fan of all time, am being honest with myself, heading back to Detroit with the series tied at 1-1 is a little disappointing. A pair of games that end 3-2? The mighty Wings are so much better than that. Had it not been for the grand conspiracies that have seen the Predaturds gifted nearly 22 minutes of power play time — would it surprise you to learn that figure leads the league for this postseason? It doesn’t? Yeah, me neither — the Winged Wheels would lead this series 2-0 and something like 19-1 on aggregate (I’ll allow them the one because of the time Brad Stuart put one past Jimmy Howard out of pity for how terrible Paul Gaustad is, was, and always will be). Pekka Rinne would currently have numbers that make Marc-Andre Fleury’s statline look Conn Smythe-worthy.
The difference between the teams in this series so far has been marginal, as Herr Bettman has willed it to be. Five goals for each, five goals allowed each. And frankly, the league should be embarrassed by all of it. One of Nashville’s goals last night was, of course, scored by scurrilous ne’er-do-well Shea Weber, who, not content with smashing Henrik Zetterberg’s face into the glass in such a way that he could have been killed (if only Weber had the upper body strength of an adult male, instead of that of a colicky baby), apparently also decided to conspire with officials Brad Watson and Mike Leggo to get him to put a devious backhander past American Hero James “Jimmy” Howard. Not that it ended up mattering.
Essentially, all the goings on of the last two games has taught us is that the Predators hometown will forever be Trashville, because they have no chance whatsoever of giving themselves any kind of glorious history as long as they play, get this, “Who Let the Dogs Out?” at their games in a manner I can only assume is thoroughly unironic. What happened to the classics? Like “Don’t Stop Believin’?” I thought Nashville was a town with an, ahem, rich musical history? Oh wait, that history is of country music, The Worst Music. Like the team itself, this is a city that has no real history, unlike Detroit, which people should still call the Paris of the West every day of their lives.
No civic history, no hockey history. Just 18,000 swimmers in the shallow end of the genetic pool chanting “THE PREDATORS ARE ON THE POWER PLAY!!!!” a full 14 times in two games (again, ridiculous) because if the PA announcer didn’t alert them to it, Billy-Steve would be asking Leroy, “Hey why ain’t we gut as many guys as they gut right now?” seven times a night through a three-toothed mouth pursed in consternation, his breath reeking, as it does for all Nashvillians, of corn mash liquor and hog parts.
And throwing a catfish on the ice? Please. These backwater hicks don’t even do it when their team scores a goal. Now, to be fair to them, they might BELIEVE their team scored a goal — or a “hockey touchdown” as it is known in Nashville — in the way that they BELIEVE in intelligent design, but belief alone doesn’t make either true. At least in Detroit people have the common decency to save their sealife-throwing for the time immediately after goals, like civil, rational human beings. And again, throwing an octopus is a tradition seeped in history. Throwing a catfish is a tradition seeped in not having a jug band hoedown to head to that night. What few actual hockey fans Nashville has, assumedly transplants from real hockey cities who suffered a traumatic brain injury and only have the foggiest memories of a time when they fully understood why everyone was out running around really fast on that big white thing, only got the catfish idea from, you guessed it, Detroit.
I could go on all day. The number of ways in which the glorious Wings have this series wrapped up is, as you know by now, quite high. The only thing that could derail this easy five-game victory is yet another conspiracy orchestrated from the top, or perhaps Mike Babcock pulling his players off the ice after yet another Weber hissy fit. Put me down for a 7-0 win in Game 3.