Dear Western Conference,
Well, it’s been a slice. So many memories and so many big games have been played between our franchises since 1981 when the Western Conference as we know it got fairly well set. Ah, memories both good and bad. Some of you we’ll miss more than others. A few of you we won’t miss at all. In the words of the late Sam Kinison, some of you we hope, “Slide under a gas truck and taste your own blood.” I thought we could take a look back at these last 30 years, the last 20 of which the Wings have carried many of you in conference reputation, into the new age of NHL hockey.
Anaheim – What started out as a ridiculous marketing ploy replete with hideous colors and Pringles duck beaks, has turned into a worthy adversary. Many times in spring our teams have met and many times games went into overtime or were played with ill will. This is as it should be. Plus we took your coach. We won’t miss you because duh Anaheim, but you weren’t dregs either. My favorite memory? Well until these overtime wins this past two weeks it was Brendan Shanahan getting away with clearing your own crease of your own players for you to win the series in 2OT’s in 1997:
Calgary – A wonderful stopping off point on Thursdays before those Saturday night games in Edmonton. Calgary. A few playoff series. Nothing to really connect us over time. Mike Vernon did himself proud in both cities. A good fan base that now has to watch Jiri Hudler suck nightly. We wish you well Saddledomers.
Chicago – Sure most of your players have been assholes and your bandwagon fans insufferable but we are connected by the strongest bond the NHL has. The greatness of this rivalry predates 1981. Ted Lindsay was forced to slum it in Chicago this rivalry is so old. We’ll miss the great stories about Patrick Kane and which cab driver he beat up over 20¢ or where he wandered around the street drunk all night. We’ll miss Crazy Eddie Belfour but Martin Lapointe’s family jewels sure won’t. But since 1981 who could forget your one shining moment and just HOW you chose to celebrate it:
Colorado – Those sure were some good times when your team was all dicks and Joe Sakic huh? Cowards who hit from behind and employ THE worst television announcers was your calling card for the longest time. You did get one thing over on us and that was Uwe Krupp. Man, that one still hurts but maybe not as much as the Wings wrecking your franchise for over a decade after that 7-0 game seven red-assed beat down in 2002. You haven’t been the same franchise since. Oh we’ll miss you but only because we put you in that hospital bed and enjoy pointing and snickering.
Columbus – You’re coming East with us. Another division needed fodder so we could have four of the Original Six in one division. Sure it’s an arranged marriage and you’re getting an Ug-o partner but the Wings need what they need. Put on a new shirt and take a shower for the trip and you’re riding in the trailer.
Dallas – Boy, these anecdotes make me smile. All this harkening back and all. Remember Dallas when the NHL had to come run your rink during the 1998 playoffs because your building gurus forgot the recipe for ice? That choppy, s***ty, bouncy ice you used to provide that by the end of a period looked like on my rink on Lake Louise in Ortonville Michigan on the first 40º day each year. Anyway your Cup title does come with an asterisk shaped like Brett Hull’s foot.
Edmonton – Man was it fun watching your teams in the early 80’s. That was some fun hockey. It changed the game the way the 49ers changed the NFL and Barcelona has changed soccer. We just didn’t think you’d hold onto the Cup like a goddamn Pope. Those two playoff series in the late 80’s were some firewagon hockey weren’t they? Goose Loonies, Petr Klima and hey thanks for Kirk Maltby. One thing we’ll never miss, that goal horn of yours. It’s the worst horn sound there is. It sounds like the last sound you hear just before a bad car accident. There, I said it.
Los Angeles – While we’re on the topic of things you do to piss me off that Eric Cartman shrill ‘Go Kings Go’ chant over the loudspeaker will never be missed. Ever. Never. Anyway, your teams have been a quite colorful pain in our side for the better part of fifteen years. We never know which uniform color scheme you’ll show up in from one week to another (Ask Kings team President Luc Robitaille about the colors on his 2002 Stanley Cup ring) but you’ve also won your share against the Wings. Until last year you were only the Kings of the 10:30pm start. For that reason alone the Kings will look good in the rear-view mirror.
Minnesota – First you were there with Dino Ciccarelli next thing you know you’re in Texas with Derian Hatcher and Mike Modano. Now you’re back in Minnesota with a jack hole owner who bids hundreds of millions of dollars for players he’s about to lock out because signing players to hundreds of millions of dollars is ridiculous. The Wild. LOL, see ya.
Nashville – How you guys kept Boris Bandenov behind your bench coaching all these years while Rocky and Bullwinkle never thought to look in Nashville was genius. Nashville is a fun town. Lots to do. One of the best experiences you can have after a game in an NHL city. But, you’ve been in the league how long and you have NO banners? NONE. ZERO. We understand Columbus, that’s Ohio. Good luck in Kansas City or Portland, write when you find work.
Phoenix – Well, we’d say good luck desert dogs but you, like Nashville may be shoving off to elsewhere. We sure liked you more when you were Winnipeg. The white out was great and a real original thing at the time. Know what was cooler? Kris Draper. Do you realize his four Stanley Cups cost the Red Wings a quarter each? Yep, 25¢ per Stanley. If you bump into Moe Mantha say hi.
San Jose – Is Jamie Baker dead yet? Just asking. We sure played some great playoff series these two teams. You’ve come a long way since you broke into the league in the ‘teal craze’. All those wins, all those playoff appearances, and nothing to show for it. Well, in the future should you actually decide to make the Stanley Cup Final perhaps we can meet again. Because as of this morning we’re burning the road map and no longer know the way to San Jose.
St. Louis – Well old friends, I think we may miss you most of all. All the Probert and Kocur vs. Butcher and Chase and Twist battles. We could always count on a brawl with the Blues. A few playoff series between us, most of which we won but the Blues and their fans were always good. Say hi to the Cavallini brothers and we sincerely hope you break your 1967 jinx but certainly not at our expense. Ah memories of St. Loo:
Vancouver – Have you guys found Dan Cloutier yet? We’re getting a little worried. Did the hippies kill and eat him after your game 7 loss to Boston? Did he fall into a crevasse on Vancouver Island? Let us know when you find him, we like him in Detroit. He could win a city council seat. We’ll miss those 10pm Saturday night starts in old Vancouver town on the CBC. We’ll miss the fawning over the Sedin twins. Wait, no we won’t.
So it’s SO LONG Western Conference, with a tear in our eye and a middle finger out the back window we head east. You’re all still welcome to visit but please use the side door and make sure the neighbors didn’t see you. We’ll be adjusting to our new home and for once dealing with the fact we don’t have the most Stanley Cups in our division.
That’s going to change
Your Betters in Hockeytown
(Feel free to share YOUR WC memories below)
Edited by Jersey Wing, 31 May 2013 - 10:03 PM.