A team that shall not be named (in this title) won the Stanley Cup

nhl

Anyone who knows me knows I love sports.  So much so that I chose to make it my career for 10+ years.  It’s not just a hobby or a casual thing for me.  It’s a passion.  Because of that I will root for a lot of different teams and players.  I will find a reason to root for a team if my favorite team is not playing.  I will root for the underdog.  Root for a former Philly athlete who has found success somewhere else. or maybe root for an aging player who could go out on top.  There are any number of reasons why I WILL root for someone.  But there are literally only two teams on the face of the planet that I WILL NOT root for!  These two teams quite literally make my skin crawl when they win.  They make me absolutely furious.

The first is the Clemson Tigers.  I graduated from the University of South Carolina.  GO COCKS!!  The Clemson Tigers are the most hated rival of Carolina.  Therefore, I cannot possibly root for them for any reason what so ever!  I will go out of my way in daily living to avoid using the combination of orange and purple for any reason.  Their football team recently played for the National Championship against Alabama.  Now, I have little love for Alabama, but on this particular day I yelled “Roll Tide” as loud as any backwoods Bama local yocal!

The second team is the Pittsburgh Penguins.  God, I hate the Pittsburgh Penguins!  I am a diehard Flyers fan.  I bleed orange and black from September to May.  As I said, I can usually find a reason to root for a team or a player, especially during the Stanley Cup. But tonight, I just couldn’t do it.  There’s not a single player on that team that I am happy for winning.  No possible reason what so ever.

I have watched every Stanley Cup finals since the Flyers lost to Detroit in 1997.  I have watched every team hoist the Cup.  It’s something that I love watching.  It’s the best trophy in sports and to watch the winning captain hoist it over his head and then pass it on down the line and watch as each player puts a gentile smooch on the side… it’s magical!  But watching Sidney freaking Crosby and those god-awful penguins… it totally ruined it for me!

I have a healthy respect for the Penguins.  I am fully aware that they were the hottest team in the league going in to the playoffs.  They outplayed the Sharks.  They outshot them and they blocked shots like mad men.  Matt Murray is going to be a special goalie in the future.  20-something years old and wasn’t even on the team until halfway through the year.  Ties the NHL record for wins in the playoffs by a rookie.  SHOULD HAVE won the Conn Smythe trophy!!  At no point have I said or will I say that the Penguins didn’t deserve the Cup.  I wished the would have lost and I hated watching them win, but they did deserve it.

Until next year…

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Because it’s the Cup!!

IT’S TIME FOR SOME PLAYOFF HOCKEY!

One of my favorite times of the year, hockey playoffs.  I will watch every single game that is on TV.  Obviously I’ll be rooting for the Flyers, but I’ll also be rooting against the Penguins!  I have hopes for the Orange and Black.  No, seriously, I do!  I know we had to do it the hard way and scratch and claw into the post-season, but it hasn’t been awful.  The Flyers have some momentum going in.  And of course they have a little added inspiration.  #winitforEd

But there are other reasons why Philly fans should feel good going in to the series with the Capitals.  For starters, the Capitals are coasting in.  They clinched their spot long ago and they have no momentum.  They’ve been lazy and resting the last 15 games or so.  It could be hard for them to ramp themselves back up in time.  In the last 25 games of the season, the Flyers amassed 35 points in the standings, the Capitals only 30.  In that same stretch the Fly-guys have a +12 goal differential over Washington.  Now the we needed that because we were giving up stupid amounts of goals to teams we should have been beating easily, but I digress.

Here’s the biggest and I think most important reason to feel good:  the Washington Capitals are NOTORIOUS under achievers in the playoffs!!  Since the 1999/2000 season there have been 15 years of playoffs (16 years, but minus one year for the lockout).  The Caps have made the playoffs 10 out of 15 seasons.  Not too shabby, but they have NEVER made it past the second round!! Ouch!  In fact, they have SIX first round losses in those ten years!  Now the Flyers have made the playoffs only two more times, 12 of 15 years, but in those 12 years we have four Conference Finals appearances and one trip to the Stanley Cup.  Only five times out of twelve have they lost in the first round.

I suddenly like our odds!