Sports ‘n’ Things: Wingless playoff means loss of Trail ties

"More importantly to Home of Champions folks is that the Red Wings ouster removes the last two direct links to the area..."

Very disappointing to see the Detroit Red Wings generally outplay the Tampa Bay Lightning and yet lose the game and the first round series Wednesday.

The loss means the Canadiens must play a T-Bay team that has won every game between the two this season rather than one they swept – a team with a high powered offence versus the Habs’ lack of an offence at all – which prompts foreboding in us Habs fans, “All World Carey Price,” notwithstanding.

More importantly to Home of Champions folks is that the Red Wings ouster removes the last two direct links to the area from further Stanley Cup contention.

Landon Ferraro, who got into the Detroit lineup very late in the season but was a regular for the playoff round, was born in Trail. He impressed everybody involved with the Red Wings with his mature, responsible play, not least Mike Babcock, which led to late game minutes, including key faceoff action.

Not born here, but connected to and liked here, is second-year defender Danny Dekeyser, the former Smoke Eater who topped  Detroit blue liners in minutes played, ramping those minutes up in the final game when the other top-two guy, Niklas Kronwall, was suspended.

This all means, I guess, that only fans of remaining teams, particularly Montreal, Calgary and Chicago, will have much rooting interest in the remainder of the playoffs – along with a large cadre of HAB NOT whiners who will cheer the Lightning or any other opponent when the Canadiens take the ice.

It has been a chore, sometimes, staying interested in games not involving a special interest for me – what with the rugby-style faceoff techniques, and 60s-style clutch and grab defending  going unnoticed by officials – but there was my long-time team and the local connection(s) to Detroit to generate some enthusiasm. Now there is just, “Go, Habs, Go,” for so long as that lasts.

• Not that into hockey, or not into it for the rest of this season?

There is baseball at Andy Bilesky and Butler and Pople parks most weeknights. As the weather warms away from winter, why not drop by and take in a game or three.

Ball players at all levels enjoy your support as much as hockey players (most of which left playing are unaware of our existence) do.

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