In the debate of win versus tank within every fanbase during losing seasons, one thing pretty much every fan on both sides can agree on…the useless loser point doesn’t help jack for the Devils at this point. It would have been one thing if our AHL lineup could have somehow played spoiler against a reeling Blue Jackets team, for whom things haven’t gone according to plan since Jarmo Kekalainen’s deadline orgy. However tonight’s game was literally the worst possible result all things considered (especially adding in yet another injury – this one to Jesper Bratt, who left early in the second period after blocking a shot), except maybe for coach John Hynes – who’s been getting a team of AHL’ers and retreads to compete harder than the fully healthy outfit did earlier this season.
And to Cory Schneider’s credit, he was much better tonight than in the Friday fiasco against the Flyers. Of course in the end it’s just another useless good Cory game that I don’t witness. If a tree falls in the forest and you don’t see it, did it actually fall? So I guess that’s one good thing at least, although for once the Binghamton Devils actually were able to outshoot an opponent by a wide margin (30-18), and Cory was a non-entity in the skills competition, going 0-2. If Columbus is this bad they’re getting outshot by double digits against our motley crew, I don’t see how they make the playoffs at all much less do anything in them.
Which brings to mind, since we’re going to be spectators after April, who do we root for in the playoffs? Thinking about it, the answer is plain and simple…whoever wins the West. It’s not that every single team in the East is a rival but there are reasons to not root for every team currently in a playoff position. With Tampa and Boston there’s clearly bad blood between last year’s playoffs (Tampa) and the various cheap shots from Brad Marchand (Boston). Of course who can really root for the Penguins ever, outside of Penguin fans? While the Islanders haven’t always been a rival per se, the fact that former GM Lou Lamoriello is there has certainly spiced up not only the Isles-Devils rivalry but the rivalry between old-school and new-age Devil fans who’ll forever be divided on our former GM.
Can’t say the other playoff teams really excite me either. In a normal year I’d be all in on the Caps but they did just win a Cup, and booted out Barry Trotz practically from the parade float. Don’t really want to see them get rewarded on that. Toronto and Montreal? They have tradition in their corner but are also perennially overhyped and ridiculously over-the-top fanbases you kind of like to see suffer in a schadenfreude type way. Carolina? 2002, 2006 and 2009…nuff said. And finally there’s tonight’s opponent in Columbus. I admit to alternately hate-loving John Tortorella (especially now that he’s out of MSG), sometimes I can’t stand him and other times I find his cantankerousness endearing. And I can’t help but feel for their loyal fanbase who still hasn’t seen a playoff series win yet. Still, it’d be kind of hilarious if after their over-the-top desperation deadline spending they fell flat. Plus let’s be honest it’s not like they’re really going anywhere this postseason regardless, especially with their post-deadline play.
Sure the action will be entertaining and the playoffs are always exciting. That said, I just can’t remember another April where I was this apathetic about who wins the East and we’ve had plenty of Aprils sitting at home this decade. Maybe I’ll just nap through the East playoffs and watch the West series.