The word alone is enough to incite endless feelings and emotions. From shake-leg to sweat-palm, speedy-heart to stop-breath, the Stanley Cup Playoffs is an adventure like none other. There is no other sport that possesses a playoff system that tests the emotional aptitude of die-hard fans like this one. I always tell new fans “you have not experienced true connection to the team until you have endured a long playoff run.”
The experienced fans know this feeling; although it has been so long, some may have forgotten. Me? Not so much. I can still remember the exact time and place as a 12 year old watching Eddie the Eagle stack the pads on Peter Forsberg in 1999, or 2008 when Brenden Morrow crushed Milan Michalek at the end of regulation of game 6.
Originally, this article was going to be a statistical breakdown of Dallas and Anaheim and why I believe Dallas will win the series. However, the great Josh Lile (@JoshL1220) of Defending Big D, beat me to the punch and did it better than I would have. I suggest reading it, it is fantastic.
Of course, the statistical breakdown is important. I am a firm believer in predictive statistics and trends that help determine who has the edge in a matchup. However, the playoffs are not that simple. When it comes down to either the dreaded elimination or the indescribable joy of Lord Stanley’s Cup, each individual must find it within themselves to play to a level to which they are otherwise incapable. There are times during a playoff run when ordinary men will quit. Injuries will happen, but it does not matter; you fight through it. All 16 teams have skill. But which team has the nerve to outlast their opponent?
This will be a fun series and hopefully a fun run deep into the playoffs. As you watch, enjoy every second of it. Relish in victory; dwell in defeat. It is these emotions that breed long-lasting emotion. In 20 years, you may think back to where you were, time and place, when Eric Cole roofed that game winning goal in overtime or when Kari made that super-human save with 28 seconds left in the game.
The NHL Playoffs. It is a journey like none other. As Stars fans, do not take for granted how lucky we are to get to go on this ride. Let’s have some fun.