I know, I'm way late on the uptake - but Thursday was a night of celebration (though not at this bar, because the @#%&head bartender refused to put the game on any of their half a dozen televisions - a move which would have resulted in one less TV showing half naked girls in music videos), and this weekend I spent working Western's last MAC softball games of the year.
Thursday the Wings completed their sweep of the Colorado Avalanche in a decisive 8-2 rout that sends them to the Conference Finals for the second year in a row. With prospect Fabian Brunnstrom in attendance, the Wings Swedes apparently dressed to impress, notching all 8 of those goals themselves. Tomas Holmstrom got one, and Mikael Samuelsson two, but it the real stars were two other Swedes. Johan Franzen's second hat trick in three games (the first player to do so since Jari Kurri, 23 years ago), and 9th goal in the series (a feat which broke a Gordie Howe record). His first goal of the game, a quick (47 seconds later) follow up to Tomas Holmstrom's with 39 seconds left in the first, served to be the dagger in Colorado's heart - following it the Wings took off, scoring four in the second and one more in the third. The Mule continues to be on fire. Not to be totally outdone by Franzen, though, Henrik Zetterberg scored twice as well; the second of which was an amazing goal he put in while on his back on the ice (you know it's good when it even made the top play on Sportscenter the next morning):
Despite the scoring circus the game turned into, however, the Avalanche stayed classy. I know I wasn't alone in worrying that he last few minutes of the game would turn into a brutal, cheap-shotting injury-fest, as the Avs tried to goon it up and leave their mark before their season ended - but they didn't. And that's awesome. Jibblescribbits sums it up perfectly:
Even though they were completely outplayed by Detroit, their character never sacrificed their class by gooning it up in defeat. Detroit fans remember Calgary last season, and Avs fans remember the Wild this season. Yet the Avs carried themselves with class and, despite being down 8-2 in an elimination game, still were trying. True character is revealed in tough times and no matter what the Avs proved they are nothing if not a team of character. So be proud of them, despite the pitiful game.Losing in the manner they did is never easy, especially for a team who expected more out of themselves, and who didn't - or couldn't - play in a manner equal to their potential. And still, the Avalanche came out of the series demanding a certain respect for the way they responded. Kudos to them.
While the game was fun to watch, and it was fun to alternately cheer, gape, and laugh in disbelief as goal after goal went in, and while it's always awesome to watch your team sweep, especially playing as dominantly as Detroit did, on the other hand, it was bittersweet. No one though the rivalry was going to come back full force, but nearly everyone predicted a hard-fought series from both teams - and in the end, the Avalanche just didn't have enough gas in the tank to provide that. Of course, the ridiculous amount of injuries probably didn't help, either. Fans of both teams were pumped up expecting a series they didn't get (though perhaps they should have, as the Wings are now 8-0 against the Avs on the season), which was a little disappointing - not that I'm complaining about the actual outcome, either.
Other sources on Game 4:
- Matt @ On the Wings
- Joe @ Mile High Hockey
- IwoCPO's liveblog @ Abel to Yzerman
- Joe Hass' liveblog @ Behind the Jersey
- David @ In the Cheap Seats
Finally, a round of thanks to all the Avalanche bloggers for their help, their banter, their vehement hatred, and their commitment throughout the series - it's a fact that you always end up reading blogs of teams you might never have bothered with come playoff time when they're the opposition, but you don't always find blogs you intend to keep reading afterward. Thanks for being along for the ride, guys! (And, of course, GO WINGS!)