So, your favorite team trailing three games-to-two to the Pittsburgh Penguins in their first-ever Stanley Cup Final, with the season on the line on home ice. It’s going to be your team’s last meaningful game in front of you until October (unless you count the preseason), and there’s a chance that last chance to watch can end with Sidney Crosby and his teammates lifting the Stanley Cup fan over their heads.
This is the situation Nashville Predators fans find themselves following a loss in last night’s Game 5. But fans in the Music City should fret not, as San Jose Sharks fans were in those same shoes (skates? What’s the proper cliche here?) just last year!
Who better to provide unsolicited advice on this situation, then, than us. We don’t really have any advice on how your team can avoid the same fate that befell the Sharks last year, but a list of the three most important coping mechanisms for any Stanley Cup finalist facing elimination.
Prepare The Excuses, Just In Case
The first method to cope with a team facing elimination in the Stanley Cup Final is to have a list of excuses ready to go in the event that your team does not win hockey’s ultimate prize.
I mean, sure, we know the Predators won’t suffer the same fate as the Sharks last year because they’ve controlled play for most of the series. But in the event that Game 6 goes the way of Game 5, it’s important that you start brushing up on reasoning as to why your team lost.
You see, any potential or eventual loss in the Stanley Cup Final is not because one team affected by injuries managed to simply outlast another team affected by injuries, but because of certain x-factors that, if cited properly, will make you appear wise and impress your friends. A take that abdicates any and all team-wide responsibility for facing elimination is imperative.
Blame the third pairing! Scapegoat a lack of or improper use of last change! Heck, there’s plenty with Pekka Rinne’s Jekkyl-and-Hyde act. Bonus points if it’s ever been listed as a “key to the game on a hockey broadcast.”
Sure, you might not need the excuses if your team wins Game 6, but they will also prepare you for the existential dread of a potential Game 7 with the Stanley Cup Final on the line.
Embrace The Tin Foil Hat
I’ve long decried alleged NHL favoritism of the Pittsburgh Penguins to my friends.
That was, until the Sharks played against them in the Stanley Cup Final.
I listened to the national broadcasts during last season’s Final with the same angry intensity as sports talk radio callers who are convinced that [Insert Sports League Here] Has It In For My Team, and came just shy of wearing a tin foil hat to avoid brainwashing by the end of the series.
Even though Nashville’s received a whole lot of love this postseason, it’s time to embrace conspiratorial thinking for the rest of the series. For instance, Crosby and P.K. Subban received matching penalties last night as the former pushed the latter’s head to the ice and the latter grabbed the former’s leg.
This disproportionate call occurred despite the events taking place directly in front of the referee, because the LEAGUE CODDLES ITS GOLDEN GOOSE, and so on. At least one NHL owner has given voice to this line of thinking, so it’s now considered socially acceptable.
Dive Deep Into The Offseason
This is so much easier this season than last year, with an expansion draft adding some excitement to the normal, speculative proceedings of any offseason. It’s the best place to start thinking about, given that it’s the first major event of the only exciting part of the summer. So, start thinking about who the Predators protect, and going through all of the possible expansion scenarios.
You can also read up on NHL Draft sleepers, so you set unreasonably high expectations for that player picked in the fifth round. He will surely turn into an NHL contributor, I promise. Then, get very familiar with your team’s Cap Friendly page, and start concocting contracts and scenarios that will bring in the Prized Free Agent of your liking.
This will serve two purposes, as it will get your mind off of the (potential) end of the season while also preparing you for what comes after the end of the season. Such speculation is basically slash fic for sports fans, and will make you like super smart on the off chance you’re right about the direction of your team’s offseason. As a writer on a blog, I can attest from my parents’ basement that there is nothing better than being right on the internet.
So there you have it, folks. Follow these three simple steps, and you’ll be well-suited to cope with any potential season-ending loss in the Stanley Cup Final.
Make sure you also avoid any calls to “put things in perspective” and “appreciate the run” in the event that Game 6 is the season’s last. It might be tempting to act like a rational, well-adjusted person, but you’ve already made it to the bottom of this article. Why start now?