22 November 2010

Getting Over the Hiccups: Just hold your breath and light the lamp

Last year was a major boot in the ass.

It was a bit less than fun. The trainers table was chuck full of Larry Aurie's victims, we were stuck looking up the standings at teams we traditionally enjoyed pissing on, and that whole "winning" thing that we'd become so accustomed to over the previous two decades, yeah that wasn't really happening that often.

Turns out, thankfully, it appears that was a bit of a hiccup.

Hell, I'm never satisfied with a season that doesn't end in a parade down Woodward and a bunch of drunken heroes hoisting 35 pounds of glory in Hart Plaza. But the shitshow that was last year has some bright sides. Among them, is the appreciation we get to have for this year's performance. 

This was particularly clear yesterday at the midpoint of the showdown against Calgary. We had just come off an OT loss to the Wild (really? the Wild?) and our performance didn't seem to indicate that we were going to overcome the two goal deficit we were facing any time soon. We all felt it then. "Ah fuck... two in a row?? That's just a pile of horsecock." 

Almost immediately after that thought though? A little bit of relief. Recall how late in the season it was last year when we could finally say we've strung together a few wins in a row. It really wasn't that odd to be facing a 2 game loosing streak during the Year of Aurie. Personally, it brought a smile to my face yesterday when I considered how the prospect of a 2 game drought could bring such frustration as being out of the ordinary.
  • And then Pavel Datsyuk slapped that smile right off my face.
He decided I was being a little bitch, and that I should know better than to ever give up on this team. Not with half the game left - not with 10 seconds left. Just as we were all ready to click off our sets, sigh, and start the mourning process (piss warm PBR and a fist full of Rufilin) Pasha was busy reminding us that last year wasn't a paradigm shift - it was a fucking hiccup. A blip. An asterisk year in an otherwise dominant two decades of hockey. This year? This year it doesn't matter how shitty the team's played throughout the first 59:50. All they really need are those 10 seconds.

Just when almost everyone decided the game was over, Pasha decided he wanted to play a bit longer. He dangled through three defenders and fed a perfect pass to his Eurotwin, giving Z the opportunity to bury it home with 3 seconds left in regulation. Minutes later, in OT, The Perfect Human secured yet another notch in the ever expanding 2010 win column with a beauty.

Why break almost a month of lethargic silence here just to recap a game? To me, this game so far is the season in a nutshell.

That's not to say that the game itself is a good indication of the level of play at which the Wings have been playing this year. Hell, it was one of their worst efforts thus far for an overwhelming majority of the game. Rather, it's a good example of exactly where the Wings are at right now. They didn't play to their full potential, but still pulled out the big win.

That to me, is where we're at right now and it's got me as excited as a Hawks fan hearing about $16 dollar specials on cosmos at John Barleycorn. We're currently proud owners of the best win % in the entire league. We're atop the West in points, despite having several games in hand on many of the teams below us. And considering all that? We aren't even performing our best. The Wings are #1 and still have lots of room for improvement. That's an OK place to be.

Just consider how dominant this team is going to be when Happy sacks up and starts lighting the lamp. Or when Mikey Mo finally settles in fully and starts lighting it up. Or when Babs settles on his lines and gets everyone going at once. The depth in this team is evident. We've won almost every gave we've played and in not one of those wins has every line played to its fullest. That bodes well for the future.

Speaking of which, we're rolling in on Thanksgiving. That's usually the mark where Holland and Co. feel its appropriate to really assess where this team is at. Now, I'm no Ken Holland... but I'm thinking "First" is an OK place to be sitting right about now.

Lets keep it up. Skate to throat; all the way through till Spring.

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