Here in Detroit, just like every other sports city right now with a team still in the playoffs (but out of the economic pandemic, hopefully), we've gotten together to watch the Red Wings here in Hockeytown for games during the postseason.
I've found when talking to Ohio fans that when the tension between the two states is unleashed, hockey is immediately dismissed from the conversation. Why? Well maybe because Detroit dispatched Columbus recently, but that's not all of it. The Cavaliers are, or were, riding high; therefore, there's going to always be a reason to shove hockey under the rug.
This discussion is much greather than just the Detroit and Columbus, though, and I'm not talking about the things that happen to Michigan fans when they leave their cars at Ohio State games. Now with the Pistons barely treading water after being a force in the East for years, fans around these parts, and even national media were clammering about how the NBA Playoffs were predictable this year, and how exciting hockey is. Predictable ?
Now I'm not going to harp on the NHL. There still needs to be changes made, but the respective changes made to rules of the game greatly assisted the sport in its goal to become relevant again, and the style of play has made things exciting. But by the time you're reading this column, the Red Wings may win the series tonight in Detroit, setting up a rematch between Detroit and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Wait, the NBA is predictable? No, these teams weren't the top seeds, but is this really unpredictable? In the playoffs, the cream often rises to the top. Detroit, the franchise of recent dynasties and defending Stanley Cup champion, and Pittsburgh, the team with arguably the most talented player in the league. In a rematch . But totally unpredictable, right?
Meanwhile, while it looked as if David Stern got his wish from Santa and the Lakers and Cavs were going to lock horns in the finals with the league's two biggest stars going head-to-head, things are about to get thrown upside down. In the West, it's anyone's game, and certainly Kobe may end up getting another ring. But Game 5 in the Eastern finals is going to turn out to be must see television. Tivo The Hills because this is going to be what to watch.
Here's hoping that the officials don't ruin this game, and we get to see what LeBron and this team is (or maybe isn't) made of. If King James misses the miracle shot to win the only victory of the season for Cleveland, we're already talking about how James choked against Orlando, how he carried this group of underachievers this far and how impressive it was. And we're probably going to be talking about that this weekend, anyhow. While it's not the league, or even many fans or my preferred ending, these Conference Finals are going to end up being anything but predictable.