So the playoffs are finally here. The "second season" or the "real season" as it's sometimes called. A time when zeros become heros and heros become zeros (*cough* Roberto Luongo *cough*).
What about the rest of us, the fans of the other 14 teams?
Sure I could join in and write some preview articles, make some predictions and ridicule any poster who dares question my hockey intellect just because I think Nashville will beat Anaheim in five.
"2011 NHL Playoffs: An Objective Look at Every Team"
"2011 NHL Playoffs: An Outsider Predicts the First Round"
"2011 NHL Playoffs: X Number of Reasons Why Y Will Happen"
In these articles I could bring up such things as the fact that the Vancouver Canucks record and point total is inflated from playing in the weak Northwest Division, or that the Canucks winning percentage against other playoff teams is only 51.9%, trailing Chicago, San Jose and Nashville.
Maybe I'd devote a couple paragraphs or slides to the fact that Vancouver's Pythagorean Winning percentage against playoff teams is 54.3%, again trailing both San Jose and Chicago.
I could also write about how the Canucks only generate 56.0 shots/60mins on the PP, and yet have the second highest PP shooting percentage in the league and that at some point their Sh% is going to regress to the mean and their PP production will decline sharply.
Or, I could write about how Dan Hamhuis is coming off his second concussion in as many months and could only be a single hit away from a career threatening injury. I could mention how the Sedin twins are actually producing less offense this year compared to last season and won't be able to benefit from starting 74.5% of their shifts in the offensive zone with the absence of Manny Malholtra.
I could write about how Anaheim is 27th in the league in both shots for and shots against, and have an ugly shot differential of -314 and are relying on Ray Emery who has only played 10 games this season and recently returned from a debilitating injury.
Why bother with a whole article though when I can take care of all that in a few sentences?
No, this spring will be about bigger and better things than some petty hockey tournament for me.
You playoff fans can have your puck parties, you can order your hot wings and pizza, you can drink your beer. I'll take mowing the lawn any day (and have for the past five years; gotta love being an Oiler fan).
You can anxiously sit on the couch, knees shaking, biting your nails watching the clock count down as a third period lead is defended. I'll be relaxing on the porch with a Margarita in hand, keeping my stress level down and preventing the appearance of grey hair for at least another year.
Who needs third period comebacks? Who needs overtime? You guys can stay up until the wee hours of the morning, gasping in fear or excitement every time a shot is directed on net.
I'll get my beauty sleep and wake up in the morning feeling well rested (if unfulfilled).
All you Bruins fans can wear your jersey all day, every day, refusing to wash it in case you wash the luck away. I'm going to do laundry three times a day and leave the house smelling like a grassy meadow every morning.
Sharks fans can put away their razors for the next two months, despite the pleas of the females in their lives, lest they offend the sanctity of the playoff beard. I'll leave my house with a face as smooth as a baby's bottom every day.
Think of all we can do without playoff hockey in our lives. We can start jogging again, we can play golf, we can read an entire book from start to finish, we can finally talk to that pretty girl who sits at the front of the lecture hall. I'm going to learn how to Scuba Dive.
Last, but not least, you can have your Stanley Cup. You can have your parade and your celebration and your fireworks. You can have the joy that comes with knowing that your team is the best team in hockey. I'll take the satisfaction that comes with finally beating Halo: Reach on legendary.
Or I'll watch the playoffs anyways, wishing with every fiber of my body that next year my team gets in.