I'm writing you from the distant past - 2011. By now, I know that by now you are likely very busy taking your flying machine to have it's unicorn blood changed and a new cahootin valve filter made of ivory shavings put in. Either that, or you've crawled out from the gutter you live in to drag yourself to the only remaining public library open in a 1,000 mile radius, just to log on and read this message. Likely the latter. Either way, listen up, because this is important.
The next time you feel like bitching about Johan Franzen during the regular season, do me a favor:
- Shut the hell up.
Stop being so damn greedy.
I'd like to remind you of the 2010-11 season. You know, the one where it started off swimmingly? Where Mike Modano joined his hometown team, poised for a solid cup run? Where we were firing on all cylinders, leading the league through November? Of course, then came along, "Oh what the shit, not again" December - where injury after injury seemed to trip us up, followed by an equally annoying January, February, and March - where nobody really seemed to care about what happened on ice.
Chief among those guilty of that type of apathy, was the Mule himself. After scoring 5 against Ottawa, he decided he met his goal for the year, and began to play more like Jason "you're damn right I'm still giving you shit, even though you aren't on the team anymore" Williams. It was frustrating, to say the least.
But damnit, we're all human. Hell, you have to admit that here in Hockeytown, we're all a bit guilty about not caring about the regular season. The important stuff just doesn't happen until FS-D gives some promising young band of lyrical and musical geniuses the chance to rise to imminent stardom, sure to become the next Beatles.
By the way, have B-Dab broken up? If so, how did the world take it? I assume that since you're reading this, you survived the horrible, violent riots that surely ensued as soon as the news of such a tragedy broke. Though, I'm not sure why you haven't leaped from that overpass you live under, because I just don't know that I would want to live in a world wherein there was no B-Dab. I can only assume the fact that you haven't taken your own life indicates that The Good Luck Joes and the Victorious Secrets are still going strong.
But, I digress.
The point is, the regular season just doesn't matter that much to many of us. Sure, we love watching hockey. We love pretending that we're stressed over the standings, or that a mid-January game against the Blue Jackets means just so damn much. But when you compare those games with the way Hockeytown transforms at the drop of the puck for game #83, it's clear:
- That shit just doesn't mean shit. Shit.
So can you really fault Mule for maybe phoning it in here and there? Sure, it'd be nice if he was just the dominant machine that we see in the post season all year long, but if given the choice, I'm taking playoff Mule when it counts - during the playoffs.
You were guilty of it, during that historic season. You bitched and moaned, and whined about the Mule's lack of performance. You called him lazy, a head-case. You didn't quite go so far as to write a song about it, but you were close. (By the way, where are you keeping your Grammys these days?). Then, when the puck dropped that fated Wedesday night in April - that shit changed. Playoff Mule returned.
As I write this, we're 2 games in, and Mule's got 2 points. At first glance, that looks like he's going along at his customary point-per-game playoff pace. Nay, nay. No, that shitbird Shane Doan (you remember, the guy that started in Winnipeg, moved to Phoenix, and then got ripped right back to Winnipeg because its a stupid friggin' idea to play hockey in the desert?) took Mule out of much of Game 2. And that, my future self, is the key to me telling you to just shut the fuck up.
As you remember, Mule took a high stick to the face in the last game of the regular season against that team that's very likely back at the bottom of the league in attendance ratings by now. He was looking a bit grisly, but no matter, he was back on the ice. Then, while that siren Karen Newman graced your ears with the heavenly sounds that come from her angelic pipes, you noticed Mule with a pretty epic bruise across the forehead. He looked at least a bit like he got into a head-butting competition with a Buick - and won. But again, no matter. No complaints. Dude was ready to play.
Then, Doan, very fricking purposefully tried to injure our Mule, driving his head into the board. Sure, maybe the hit itself was "legal," but Doan's got a history. Every time he plays the Wings, he knows his shouldn't-be-a-team full of career 4th liners and some overrated Russian, subsidized by their opponents and bought and paid for by fans like us, can't beat the healthy Wings. So he goes out and runs guys. Over and over and over. I can see it be kind of frustrating - being a franchise player with a team that shouldn't even exist - but the dude takes that frustration and tries to turn it into injuries. And so he did, that Saturday. He drove Mule into the boards, with a collision that would have ended lesser men's careers.
- Not so for Johan.
Now, maybe I'm writing you a bit prematurely. We're only 2 games in at this point. But it's clear just by the difference we can see in his play - Playoff Mule is back. As long as he keeps this up, I'm more than friggin' happy with 93 skating in the Winged Wheel. He may struggle with motivation when he's facing off against T.J. "Tee Time" Oshie. But in the end, when it matters, the dude plays like a monster.
He's a Red Wing, through and through. Fully recognizing that the regular season, in all its importance, just doesn't mean that much in Hockeytown. He waits, drooling and ready, for April in the D. For playoff fucking hockey. For his chance to raise Lord Stanley's Cup once again.
And if you find yourself, in the future, wanting to fault him for that. Just remember these wise words from the past:
- Just shut the hell up.
14 to 12, bitches. Lets make that "white out" bloody. Send 'em back to Winnipeg.