Back to where we started, one team struggling for no apparent reason, the other galloping onward like Bucephalus with broken reins. Now it is the Sharks roaring ahead and the Flyers wallowing in confusion and self doubt. Perhaps I am being generous. Perhaps the Flyers deserve more harsh criticism.
But after that elegiac post during their first elimination game in round one, my whole mindset changed. It was as if I couldn’t be angry with a terminal case. It just felt wrong. I don’t know what the heck is going on in their heads, or how beat up they are.
I don’t know why they look utterly overmatched by a team that, aside from their goalie, should not outmatch them. But I didn’t get cranky about it until today, when it seemed like they were not thinking at all, not focused or following any sort of plan AT ALL.
Then I remembered how the Sharks never seemed to pull it together until around the time I lost patience with them. Not like they were waiting for that, but like the maximum possible loss tolerance in a normal, healthy professionally competitive male is equal to the patience of a dutiful fan.
I fear it is too late to recover, if the Flyers put it off this long, to lose patience with themselves. Like one fan tweeted, I just hope they can win one, not get swept. That would be something.
On the other side of the coin, the Sharks are up three wins to none against the Red Wings. That is a deceptive stat. All three games have been one goal games. Howard is not good enough for that stat to reflect any glaring dominance by the Sharks. They have been playing very well, but the Wings are not so far behind. Still, having three of four necessary wins in hand does put the Sharks in the catbird’s seat.
The Flyers are down by three. That is NOT a deceptive stat. Two of those wins were utter devastation– campsites after bears have gone through. The Flyers sent Carter out there on his questionable knee today. He wasn’t awful, or any more awful than anyone else. Yes, in theory, the Flyers should be able to beat the Bruins. In theory. But someone didn’t put the pieces together right or something and this juggernaut is stalled out like a 70 year old school bus on the side of the road. Worse, it doesn’t even seem like anyone is ready to get out and push.
So, I am cranky. Flyers shouldn’t make their fans cry like that. But I am also resigned. Once you say your goodbyes, it’s hard to get all worked up until the end really comes. And that can’t happen until Friday.
Tomorrow perhaps I can think about how nice it is to have a Sharks-Red Wings series. It really is wonderful. Even the coaches are all jolly. But more about that tomorrow.