We've been here before, you know.
There is going to be an absolute cacophony of voices in our heads and in our faces over the next week-plus, yelling and screaming and whining and kicking down the borders of consciousness.
NBC Sports will turn the contrast up on those oranges and blacks and whites and golds, and get rolling into a festival of rhetoric.
In a way, we almost like the underdog mentality that comes with being a hockey fan. Hockey fans know their teams like the backs of their hands, and every little game moment is like having a beer with your favorite player. But the national media never seems to "get it"--it takes approximately 5 seconds of close listening to realize that everything being discussed on a national hockey broadcast is largely made up and you're mentally being pressed against a wall with a hand on your throat, being asked, BUT DON'T YOU THINK THAT THAT WAS A VETERAN MOVE BY KIMMO TIMONEN? WAS THAT AN UNBELIEVABLE MOVE BY MALKIN OR WHAT? HUH?
All immaterial. We know what to expect. Malkin is unbelievable of course, but we're the ones who have been watching him all year. We'll tell you what's unbelievable.
Not going to speak for Flyers fans, but they probably also know what Kimmo Timonen's "veteran moves" are, if they stopped chanting words that don't make sense long enough to watch the game.
The adage of "nothing worth winning ever came easy" holds true, but we're headed into something a little more intense than mere baptism by fire. It's going to be a media circus, an emotional overload, a staring contest, a lynch mob.
It's like having to defend our honor with a fistfight in the middle of a very public parking lot.
There are some things you just don't say and NBC sports is probably going to say them. What eludes most mainstream fans and most national media is the fact that the game is being played on the mother fucking ice surface.
Not in your head, or on TV.
May the best team win and not have too many black eyes or shrapnel scars by the end of this mess, and god help any poor soul who isn't ready to fling some fresh bile into the shitstorm and deal with this passionately.
Realistically: Pens in 5.
In the land of our souls:
I honestly think it will be pretty hilarious. But not the fun kind of hilarious - the really awkward kind, like when you laugh about a 5 year old child saying she wants to die because she lost her zip-lock bag of marshmallows. It's kind of adorable and hilarious, but it's a little awkward how much she MEANS it. The Flyers are embarrassingly hilarious in their earnestness and desire to beat us. So, with that in mind, I believe that game one will be pretty reserved on the parts of both teams, as far as fighting and tomfoolery go. Everyone will still be pretending that the playoffs are somehow related to European hockey. That is, until the last ten minutes, when roughly one third of all players on both teams will obtain some sort of eye/face injury, leaving me to swoon endlessly for the rest of the series. The second game we will all forget due to liquor consumption, but we will read reports from our outgoing text messages that look like "ZZoe.. zoe. can youcount the happenings in the net JAMES neals done" and assume it means something good. I predict that Evgeni Malkin will marry Hartnell's mom shortly before the first period of game three, causing the game to degrade into fistfights almost immediately. Even if Malkin doesn't marry any moms, I feel the third game being a bit of a gloves-off free-for-all. Sidney Crosby will score a record breaking amount of goals in game four. I predict that the series will last for 3.5 games, however, because the Flyers will renounce themselves as a franchise after Sid's 26th goal. We will move happily on.
Pens in 6.
MAF will eventually find his castle on the hill, away from the bears that plague Ilya Bryzgalov.
References to midcentury French literature and cinema will literally become impossible.
People on TV will sound like assholes and pronounce Claude Giroux's name like "claw" as in "bearclawwww."
If we were in Pennsylvania in our not-so-distant slightly-more-youths, we'd be driving up for every single game at the big screen, being poor, and exclusively eating Sheetz.
But this is the time to be more sophisticated than all that.
THIS IS NOT OUR FIRST RODEO.
"pens in 6; the flyers have inferior goaltending (bryz is scared of bears) and only one good line"
truer words have never been spoken.
More information as it becomes available, and fuck Philly,