First off, stick-tap to SBN's Litter Box Cats for the general inspiration for these posts. While not the same, the general idea is similar to their "Adopt-A-Playoff Team" posts which you can read here and here.
So. It's the playoffs, and for a second straight year we're on the outside looking in. It's rough. Uncomfortable. Sad. Depressing. But hey- it could be worse. It could be mid July and Darryl Sutter could be rehired. So let's celebrate the fact that hockey is on by cheering for some playoff teams.
The question we're left with though, is who? By virtue of not having a horse in this race, we can choose to cheer for as many teams as we want! Why, there are fifteen viable options for Calgary fans to cheer for. So read on for breakdowns of each matchup as they relate to the Flames
(4) Anaheim Ducks VS (5) Nashville Predators
SBN Blog: Anaheim Calling
Reasons to cheer for: Corey Perry is the only man standing between Dirty Canuck™ Daniel Sedin and the Hart, which is almost reason enough alone. Plus, the team features Teemu Selanne, who has yet to stop amazing the world with his sheer awesomeness. They're also a team that isn't actually all that good, which means any plunge deep into the playoffs will be pretty impressive. Finally, I still giggle at the memory of Pronger leaving Edmonton for Anaheim. And that's worth something.
Reasons to cheer against: This team is one of the larger reasons the Flames failed to see the post-season. And yes, I'm ignoring that pre-January record. Furthermore, Corey Perry is a pigeon eating asshole whose only virtue is potentially preventing Daniel Sedin from winning the Hart. Finally, they're a team with a reputation of being dirty, which makes them de facto bad guys.
SBN Blog: On the Forecheck
Reasons to cheer for: Despite being pretty decent almost every year, the Predators have consistently failed to do anything in the post-season and really even gain regular season recognition, which makes them terrific underdogs. Add in a lack of superstars, or really, any players that score more than 60 points, and you have a team that few are expecting to do much. Most importantly, Nashville and Calgary share the bond of being the redneck cities of the NHL.
Reasons to cheer against: It gives you an excuse to make puns with "Trotz", the name of the Predators coach. What more do you need?
(3) Detroit Redwings VS (6) Phoenix Coyotes
SBN Blog: Winging It In Motown
Reasons to cheer for: Nik Lidstrom is a pretty alright guy to cheer for. One of the best defensemen in the league at his age is pretty freaking impressive. Plus, the city of Detroit needs every little bit it can get these days.
Reasons to cheer against: There's a small amount of perverse pleasure in seeing the tinfoil hat crew freakout when a single call goes against them and they lose a game. There's a hell of a lot more when they lose a whole series. Besides, jumping on the Redwings wagon is like jumping on the Yankees wagon. There's nothing particularly smart about it and it makes everyone else hate you.
SBN Blog: Five For Howling
Reasons to cheer for: This is basically a team of spare parts assembled into a VOLTRON-like being by GM Don Maloney and Coach Dave Tippett. Shane Doan is like the Jarome Iginla of the desert, and Ilya Bryzgalov is somewhat despised by Edmonton still for his lovely "Why you haff be mad?" interview. And of course, Calgary fans should have some empathy for fans facing the threat of losing their team, given how it used to be a very common rumor in Cowtown. And let's not forget #throwthesnake
Reasons to cheer against: As well as they execute their game plan, it's far from "exciting" or "thrilling" or even "somewhat entertaining". Fans of run-n-gun hockey will be miserable if they advance into later rounds.
(2) San Jose Sharks VS (7) Los Angeles Kings
San Jose Sharks
SBN Blog: Fear The Fin
Reasons to cheer for: THIS is exciting hockey folks. They're fast, skilled, dangerous, and very aptly named. Plus they gave us the gift of Miikka Kiprusoff so many years ago. And while the Sharks have been very good for a long while, they've yet to win anything, which means there's no sense of Detroititis.
Reasons to cheer against: They traded for Dany Heatley, noted asshole. There's also a certain ritualism to watching them try and choke away every series they play in every single year, even if they don't quite succeed (see: Sharks v. Avalanche, 2009-10). And really, there's just too many good players on that team for you to be able to feel bad for if they lose.
Los Angeles Kings
SBN Blog: Jewels From The Crown
Reasons to cheer for: If we're to reward Anaheim for the Pronger kerfuffle in Edmonton, how much harder should we cheer for the Kings, even if the Wayne Gretzky trade was decades ago? (Answer: MUCH HARDER). And with most of the top line out for a while (Williams, Kopitar), any series won will be an entertaining upset.
Reasons to cheer against: Kyle Clifford, the Big Red Dog had a couple of cheap hits against the Flames this year as I recall, and Brad Richardson dared play cheap with the Holy Selanne. Finally, Jack Johnson is kind of a douche. He just seems like the guy who eternally thinks he's still in a frat, and wears pink polos with the colors popped. Who wants to cheer for that?
(1) Vancouver Canucks VS (8) Chicago Blackhawks
SBN Blog: Nucks Misconduct
Reasons to cheer for: AAAAAAHHHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Reasons to cheer against: Awful frontrunning fans, awful players, cheap plays, Todd Bertuzzi incident, Ed Jovanovski era, Alex Burrows, tinfoil hat fans, still tallking about 1994, didn't even win 1994, retiring every player ever's number, undeserving Hart winner in 2010, greasy goaltender, and finally just being the GODDAMN CANUCKS.
SBN Blog: Second City Hockey
Reasons to cheer for: 1. Playing against the Canucks. 2. Playing against the Canucks. 3. How hilarious would it be if they eliminated the Canucks three years running?
Reasons to cheer against: N/A this round.