Worst. Shop. Ever.
In 1966, Italian director Sergio Leone directed the Spaghetti western classic "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly", or if you're feeling snobbish, "Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo". The iconic film, starring Clint Eastwood, is about three gunfighters battling for a secret fortune amidst the United States Civil War. It is the third and final entry into the iconic "Dollars Trilogy" that stars Eastwood. If you have never seen it, you should check it out. I'm sure it's on Netflix, OnDemand, or cable somewhere.
I mention "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" because I can think of no better term, phrase, or movie title to compare to the 2013 Detroit Red Wings season. Thursday night's 5-2 triumph over the Nashville Predators was the feel-good moment of the regular season. They looked like the Red Wings of old; the ones who could find themselves playoff bound for a 22nd consecutive year. Sadly, the entire season has not been this joyous. There's been injuries, overtime losses, and did I mention injuries? I don't even remember what Darren Helm looks like. Tomorrow, I will be running a full post on my review of the regular season. Meanwhile, we have a game to discuss.
We have reached the final game of the regular season, and the team's fate in its own hands. The showdown Saturday night in Dallas is (surprise) the most important of the season. A win means the playoffs; a loss means having to rely on Minnesota and/or Columbus losing in order to squeeze into the playoffs. The team will finish in 7th or 8th place, meaning Detroit will either face longtime rivals Chicago or the despised Anaheim Ducks. I remember the last time the 2nd seeded Red Wings were toppled by the 7th seed Ducks. The shoe would appear to be on the other foot this time around...and it happens to be ten years since the shocking series sweep.
The Red Wings find themselves crawling into the playoffs. A question I have asked myself several times the past month is whether continuing the streak is worth limping into the playoffs just to get bounced by Chicago or Anaheim. The painful, obvious, irrefutable truth for me is HELL YES. The *only* thing that matters is that your team makes it into the playoffs. The 2011-2012 Los Angeles Kings shattered the illusion that the 8th seed can't get the job done. They went 16-4 and absolutely dominated the playoffs in a way that I can't recall anyone else doing. Can the 2013 Detroit Red Wings do the same?
Tonight is going to be a big game. If Johan Franzen keeps playing like his playoff alter-ego, Jimmy Howard remains a rock in goal, and special teams capitalizes on mistakes, winning is going to be a hell of a lot easier. There's no time to be nervous, no time to hesitate. Win and we're in. Lose, and Columbus and Minnesota almost deserve to go over. I would rather cut my eyeballs out than watch another Minnesota/Anaheim series.
Tomorrow I will continue the "Good, Bad, Ugly" theme with a second piece about what parts of the 2013 regular season Detroit Red Wings I thought were good, bad, and ugly. Until then, GO WINGS GO.
Don't Stop Believing'.