There's nothing scarier to a die-hard fan than thinking your "Win or Go Home" night is an away game. There's some special sort of fear that strikes at the heart of a fan, especially when your team has gone further than they ever have in their history. I wasn't ready for the away game on 05.07.11, a game in 'enemy territory', to be my final game of the season. I wasn't ready to go for a long summer without my team, my sport, and potentially seeing a lot of my friends as often. One thing had been my mantra from the beginning of the playoffs and my Twitter account was on fire with the #iBelieve in my #Preds hashtags.
Luckily, my team held off the #1 team in the league and held on to my playoff hopes. They kept my dream alive by pulling out a 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks in hostile territory and, perhaps, against all rationale odds.
The win was amazing and there aren't words to say how pleased I am that my season continues on. But there are a few things I need to vent. First, I loathe Ryan Kesler. He has managed to injury three of our players in this series and we've dubbed him the Pred Killer. The NHL seems to turn an eye to elbows, dives, and shady play. I'm sure Nuck fans love him, but if roles were reversed we'd be taking a lot of crap publicly. The officials don't help much either. They'll call Jerred Smithson for an Oscar-worthy performance by Luongo yet our guys get injured left and right and nary a call is made. On Kesler, finally, there was some due comeuppance as he took a puck to the face and ended up with a few stitches being applied on the bench. We suffer from Karma, so welcome to YOUR KARMA, Mr. Kesler. Second, I'm getting EXHAUSTED from the mispronunciations by 'professional commentators' on our guys. It's pronounced FRANZEN, not frazen; and REE-NAY, not rhine. This is the big league, boys; and these players have earned the right for you to learn how to say their name and show a little respect. With each mispronunciation my respect for Versus and NHL commentators goes down bit by bit. And you know what NHL/VERSUS? MY TEAM DOES DESERVE TO BE HERE. We worked our butts off to get this far so back the **** off and start giving some respect.
Even with my occasional angst for whatever annoys me at the moment, I can't help but be in awe of my team's season this year. Pekka Rinne has amazed us all with the prowess that he shows in goal. Our best tandem D team brings pride I can't ever express in words. The offensive line that has remained consistent and the others that have stepped up to play their roles... my appreciation goes to you. Lastly... Jordin Tootoo, who battled his own demons earlier in the season... he has grown into a very dynamic player this season and watching him on the ice is a real pleasure for me to behold.
Along with the team, my appreciation goes to the amazing fans that show up and cheer on the underdogs game after game. The volume we maintain in our barn is nothing short of chill-bump-causing enchantment.
I'll see you all Monday for the next home game and, as always: #iBelieve in my #Preds