Hello again everybody...
Yes, it's a rare Tuesday post here at The Sports Take. But with the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs kicking off Wednesday night, there's a lot to get in within a short window. Yesterday, we presented you with Hammer's 2009 Regular Season Mea Culpa. Today, it's time to start getting ready for the playoffs. Hammer will be here tomorrow with his predictions.
But today is a column I've looked forward to for a long time. Today, the Hammer brings you his 2009 Stanley Cup Playoff Manifesto. Included in the 2009 Manifesto is a brief history, so I won't repeat it in the preamble. Suffice it to say, if you're unsure whom to root for in the playoffs, the Hammer is here to provide you with a potential road map. You don't have to use it, but considering the obvious amount of thought he put into it, you might want to!
It's time to drop the puck!
"The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this notion rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn't require any."
- Russell Baker (1925 - ), American Pulitzer Prize-winning writer
And it's even easier when you have a co-worker do most of the writing for you!
Which brings me to today's column, Hammer's 2009 Stanley Cup Playoff Manifesto. Without further ado, here it is...
The creation of the Manifesto came about in 2007. Both the Detroit Red Wings and the Minnesota Wild made the playoffs that season and for about the final two weeks of the season it looked like the two could meet in the first round of the post-season.
Being a huge Detroit Red Wings fan, I thought it was crystal clear to everyone as to where my allegiance would be if these two teams met in the post-season. Instead, my co-workers kept asking me who I would be cheering for in the playoffs even after I told them the Red Wings always came first and I would cheer for the wild as long as they didn't play Detroit.
At this point I realized that I needed to spell out my rules as to whom to cheer for and against in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and to where the Hammer stands each post-season. After the Manifesto was introduced, a listener to the Al Malmberg Show sent it over to a relative of his who was stationed in Iraq. the whole battalion took the Manifesto and got behind the Detroit Red Wings and cheered them on during their playoff run in 2007.
(Ed.'s Note: If it's good enough for the troops, shouldn't it be good enough for us!?)
Here now is the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoff Manifesto:
Rule 1: Always cheer for the Detroit Red Wings. This is the most important rule in the Manifesto.
Rule 2: Always root against the Philadelphia Flyers, NO MATTER WHAT.
Rule 3: Support the Minnesota Wild as everyone here in Minnesota should get to experience playoff hockey. If the Wild play Detroit, see rule number one.
(Ed.'s Note: The Wild didn't make the playoffs this year, so this rule is somewhat moot. However, I would like to point out that the second sentence is the sole opinion of the Hammer, and in no way reflects the opinion of the rest of us here at The Sports Take. We now return you to your regular Manifesto programming.)
Rule 4: Cheer against the Pacific and Southeast Divisions. The fans in some of these cities don't appreciate the game until the post-season comes around while true hockey cities like Winnipeg and Hartford are without teams. Of course if any team from one of these two divisions plays Philadelphia, see rule number two.
Side Note: You are allowed to cheer for the Washington Capitals as they are in the Mid-Atlantic and not the geographical Southeast. They are the only specific team exempted from Rule 4.
Rule 5: Cheer against the Columbus Blue Jackets. As a Michigan Wolverine fan, it's hard for me to support the city of Columbus, Ohio. Plus they play Detroit in the first round. If they play Philadelphia, see rule number two.
(Ed.'s Note: For those of you not up to speed with College athletics, Columbus, Ohio, is the home of the Ohio State Buckeyes - the mortal enemies of the Michigan Wolverines.)
(Ed.'s Note #2: I kind of like the Blue Jackets since they derive their moniker from the nickname for Ohio's Civil War regiments, and I'm a self-professed Civil War geek. But it's the Hammer's Manifesto, so I'll defer to him.)
Rule 6: Support the Original 6. They are the backbone and have shaped the history of the NHL. Anytime an Original 6 team goes on a Cup run, you are watching something special.
(Ed.'s Note: For those of you who aren't ardent hockey fans, the Original 6 are: the Boston Bruins, the Chicago Blackhawks, the Detroit Red Wings, the Montreal Canadiens, the New York Rangers, and the Toronto Maple Leafs.)
Rule 7: When in doubt get plenty of Molson beer and cheer for the Canadian team. If you can't find Molson, Labatt Blue is an acceptable substitute.
That's your 2009 Stanley Cup Playoff Manifesto.
Again, the Hammer isn't telling you all how to root during the playoffs, he's merely providing you with some well thought-out options. Personally, it's going to be tough for me to get into the playoffs this year since the Wild aren't in it and the baseball season is underway.
But I'll do my part and try to catch some games here and there, and I'll be following the Manifesto when I do!
Hope you enjoyed it. Tune in tomorrow when we'll have the Hammer's playoff predictions as the puck drops on the 2009 post-season tomorrow night. Then on Friday it's back to the normal Sports Take schedule as I bring you the long-awaited return of the DFTU!
Until then, thanks for reading!