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The 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs Thus Far: A Bitter Fan's Perspective

Jason HitelmanCorrespondent IMay 17, 2009

I really love hockey.

It consumes my thoughts most hours of the day. I'd be lying if I said that I've never had dreams of hoisting the Cup—or vivid nightmares pertaining to playoff elimination, for that matter.

It's just very difficult for me to truly enjoy the sport now that my beloved Habs are not participating.

Don't get me wrong, this version of the Stanley Cup Playoffs has been noteworthy, if not the best that I've seen in many years.

Pittsburgh-Washington was a dream come true for a hockey fan (and Gary Bettman). 

Anaheim upsetting the first-seeded Sharks and taking it to seven with the Red Wings showed us the meaning of perseverance, heart, and desire to win. Uplifting stuff.

Carolina, or the Cardiac 'Canes, as Canadian network TSN has dubbed them, have demonstrated that it really pays to be hot at the right time.  

Goodbye, Jersey, better luck next year!

Excuse me, Mr. Chara, have you met Eric Staal?

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But, as lovely as the postseason has been to date, it is hard—on the verge of painful—for me to watch.

Do you have any idea how much money I spent on playoff tickets at the Bell Centre?

Essentially, I shelled out all kinds of moolah just to hear my love, the Montreal Canadiens, get booed off the ice in consecutive games.

It prompted me to go on hiatus from writing on everyone's favourite "open-source sports network" for a while: As usual, I took the booing quite personally and decided to keep my thoughts and opinions to myself.

Time is supposed to heal all wounds.

It hasn't.

When watching Game Two of the Pens-Caps series, I wondered: If the Habs were playing the Caps, could Alex Kovalev, rather that Sidney Crosby, have scored a hat trick to match Ovechkin?

I wondered why Capitals fans stayed to cheer after a terrible performance by their team in Game Seven?

How come the Hurricanes could beat the Bruins and we couldn't? They only have one line, too.

I know enough about hockey to answer all of those questions.

I know that the Penguins are a much more skilled and complete team than the injury-ridden Canadiens.

I know that losing in seven is much more honorable than losing in four (even though Washington was seeded second).

I know that Cam Ward, at least at this juncture in time, is a better goaltender than Carey Price (bless him).

I'm not ashamed to say that I took solace in seeing San Jose get eliminated in the first round, and Vancouver in the second. They were both better teams that the Canadiens, but just couldn't step up their games at the right time.

The Blackhawks youth movement should be congratulated: the seats are full in Chicago once again. (No need for Pay Per View!)

The Red Wings should have gotten to where they are faster than they did.

I jumped for joy when Tim Thomas sprinted to his bench after being scored on in overtime of Game Seven. It has nothing to do with the team—I thought they were an elite club and Claude Julien coached them to the top with class.

I just thought that they were beatable.

It didn't look as though they were when my team played them, I'm just happy that Carolina was able to prove me right.

I've been going to other teams' websites, looking to see if there are playoff tickets available for the Conference Finals.  

Pathetic, I know.

Especially since I have absolutely no intention of buying any.

It is such a thrill to be able to support your team at any stage, let alone this one. I haven't been able to experience it since 1993.

I just want to make sure that other fans are paying a premium to watch their teams compete at such an elevated level.

Not that anyone really cares, but I'm paying for it emotionally.

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