A rival, is essentially someone you hate. Furthermore, I don’t think it’s possible to hate someone or something unless they take something from you, or compromise your goals.
That being the case, those of us in Hockeytown have had little reason to hate an opposing organization since the furious days of our rivalry with the Colorado Avalanche. However, this has changed in recent seasons.
There is now another group of Wing-killers. While it still has not taken on the intensity that The Detroit-Colorado War of 1996-2002 had , and probably never will, this struggle is the most bitter and savage we have seen since the days where we had to fear the likes of Peter Forsberg, Joe Sakic, and Patrick Roy.
The San Jose Sharks, are without question, our most formidable and merciless enemies.
A “galeophobic” is someone who is deathly fearful of sharks.
Several months ago, I wrote a blog about the first legitimate blockbuster film, the terrifying classic, “Jaws”.
In the piece, I confessed to being a galeophobic. Now, you may be saying: “Who in their right mind ISN’T afraid of sharks?” That’s a fair point. I would answer it by also confessing, that there are still scenes in “Jaws” that I refuse to watch. That I still occasionally have nightmares about these terrible, soulless beasts. That being eaten by a shark, would certainly be the most terrifying way to check out.
When we face-off against San Jose, I like to imagine the Red Wings as personified in the character of Martin Brody, the fearful but heroic protagonist of the film, who courageously blasts away at the monster until it explodes.
In recent years, the Wings have had more in common with the tragic character of Quint; fighting to the last but ending up being devoured whole.
For two playoff runs in a row now, Detroit has fallen behind three games to zero against San Jose. Although last year, Detroit gallantly fought back to tie the series at three, we yet again went the way of Mr. Quint.
How do we become Martin Brody?
I’m not sure. San Jose seems to have our number in much the same way as the Avalanche did.
Although one of San Jose’s most accomplished Wing-killers, Devin Setoguchi, now plays for the Wild, the Sharks still can ice a squad of lethal great whites.
We have some legitimate villains on the Sharks as well. Joe Thornton, is a dirty player and a diver, regardless of his abundance of skill. Ryan Clowe, is a beast of a man.
Also, having a turncoat in Todd Mclellan as San Jose’s coach, makes matters even worse.
Detroit has lost two games in a row, and lost them pathetically. Mike Babcock, who always seems to be unshakable, is clearly shaken by this recent turn of events.
Tomorrow night, we go swimming with the Sharks once again. After our recent playoff experiences, this game will have an added level of importance to it, for both squads.
I expect a nail biter of a game, perhaps even an ugly one. I expect Detroit to prevail, barely.
That would be a fine step towards us ceasing to be Quint, and becoming Martin Brody.