Friday, May 23, 2008

Wings in 6

A lot of people have been saying how Detroit has more experience than Pittsburgh and how valuable this is because experience is super important and therefore Detroit is going to win. Right. Not a lot of people have really been delving any deeper than that. I bet a lot of Pittsburgh fans are agreeing heartily with Jim Leyland's saying, "I'd rather have talent than experience." A lot of them are saying that Pittsburgh is more talented, and that's all you need to know, because experience is overrated.

To some extent, I agree with them, and Leyland, that experience is overrated. A big reason that Detroit is here is because they're really, really talented - from Dats to Z to Lids... I'm not gonna list all the guys. We all know the Wings are really talented. But I do think experience does have significant value, even if it's not the most important thing. And in this case, the experiential difference is vast. And not just in terms of the experience the players have gained on their various careers - the very immediate experience of the first three rounds as well.

Besides their many Stanley Cups and less successful playoff ventures, the Red Wings have dealt with Nashville tying it up, possibly the Wings' most terrifying scare, in the first round. Memories of first round exits come flooding back. The Wings overcame that shit and won in 6. Then Dallas roars back two straight and scares the living bejesus out of me, and the Wings just go into enemy territory, shitty ice and all, Dallas having all the momentum, and win the series.

Pittsburgh... has been up 3-0 in every series. Every goal they score, they celebrate like a series clinching win. They have enjoyed home ice in every series they've played. And those few, very few losses? Go back and watch Sid and Malkin meltdown, slash and whine, slue foot and cry and basically throw tantrums. Pittsburgh isn't just inexperienced. They bring inexperienced to a whole new level.

If the Pens lose their first game? Forget about going down 2-0, just going down 1-0 is whole new territory for them. Having to work at anything, climb out of any hole, overcome any adversity, it's totally foreign to them. On the other hand, if the Wings fall in game 1? Yeah it would suck, and would be the first to descend into the fetal position and weep openly. But the Wings themselves would stay cool, stay calm, come out and try to win Game 2. Pittsburgh hasn't played anyone nearly at the Wings' talent level. That alone isn't why the Wings are going to win - after all, the Wings haven't played anyone as good as Pittsburgh. But combine loss of home ice and the sudden increase in the opponents' skill with a total inability to control emotion?

That's why we're going to win.