It’s a question really of your own personal opinion. But it’s the question you always seem to be asked after your team is eliminated from the playoffs:
What team are you rooting for now that the Red Wings are out?
It’s the one we sometimes hate to answer, maybe because we hate the choices we’re left with, maybe because we’re still bitter about our own exit, or maybe because we just don’t care anymore. The last one is usually a lie, because we always care about hockey, but we may not watch every game religiously… until the Finals.
So with the choices down to the four most recent Stanley Cup winners, who should Red Wings fans root for?
Pros: They’re Original Six. They are doing extremely well without Tim Thomas in net for them, which says a lot about Tuukka Rask’s ability to be a starter. And if you aren’t really a fan of the Bruins, in this Conference Finals match-up, they are the lesser of two evils. And their city has gone through a lot recently. You feel like they need to win this to boost their city’s self-esteem. Something’s gotta get them back up there.
Cons: They’re not the Toronto Maple Leafs! Come on, how can you not root for the ridiculous underdogs in that scenario? Boston ruined the chance of Toronto moving on! Also, Zdeno Chara is creepy as heck.
Pros: …I’ll get back to you on this one.
Cons: 99.5% of Red Wings fans hate everything about the Penguins. No one likes Sidney Crosby, though they will at least admit (begrudgingly, of course) that he is a talented hockey player. Everyone still dislikes Malkin for going after Zetterberg in the last five minutes of Game 3. Let’s not even touch on Matt Cooke. And we cannot stand their fans. So just beat them, Boston.
Pros (again): Um… well, everyone has stopped talking about how awesome of a goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is… so if they win the Cup with Tomas Vokoun in net, the rest of the world will know that Fleury really isn’t that good. And maybe you feel like Jarome Iginla should finally get a Stanley Cup. That would be cool. I guess.
Pros: They’re Original Six. They may be conference rivals dating back forever, but you can’t deny that they have a core team of talented players. The fact that they have done so well after their last Stanley Cup win when they had to get rid of many of key players from that run due to salary cap restrictions is just impressive. And everyone says you should root for the team that beat you because then you were beaten by the best.
Cons: They are division rivals still. We’ll never hear the end of “Chelsea Dagger” by the Fratellis. Marian Hossa will have yet another Stanley Cup ring after jumping ship from both Pittsburgh and Detroit. And their fans will be insufferable.
Los Angeles Kings
Pros: As Red Wings fans, I don’t think we really have any hard feelings against the Kings. It would be nice to see their market grow in such a non-hockey area, too. And to see them win back-to-back championships would prove the tenacity and depth of their team.
Cons: The Red Wings would no longer be the last team to win back-to-back Stanley Cup championships, and that’s a title we don’t want to give up just yet. Their back-to-back wins would not have as much significant meaning for their team as it did for ours.
Who you’re rooting for comes down to personal preference and how you feel about teams. For example, I’m actually sort-of rooting for Chicago to beat LA even though I predicted LA in seven games, but I’m seriously rooting for Boston because 1. They’re playing the Penguins, and 2. Hey, they’re Original Six and I like them.
If you hate Boston, then you’re probably rooting for the Penguins and then whoever’s in the West to stomp the Penguins. Or maybe not, if it’s the Blackhawks/Penguins in the Finals and you actually hate the Hawks more than the Pens.
Sometimes, it just comes down to the smallest of all the evils.