As if you needed another indication that the Sidney Crosby(notes) vs. Alexander Ovechkin(notes) Show had sucked up all the air out of the Eastern Conference, the No. 1 seed is on the verge of being eliminated on home ice tonight and, well, it's not exactly leading SportsCenter.
(Then again, it's hockey, so ...)
And yet here we are, as the Carolina Hurricanes are ready to knock out the Boston Bruins on the road. We might see a glamour pick for the Stanley Cup that steamrolled Montreal in the first round, getting bounced by the Southeast Division runner-up.
We've been more than respectful to the way the Hurricanes have earned this, but seriously: What the hell happened to the Bruins?
The postmortem will likely span from a lack of emotion in comparison to the Habs, the "we're playing poorly at the wrong time" meme that Coach Claude Julien has spelled out recently and maybe just maybe a scintilla of acknowledgement regarding the Hurricanes' talent and outstanding play.
OK, scratch that last thought: It's obviously all about the dreaded trap, which Carolina doesn't actually implement but is now accused of using. Seriously, isn't Claude Julien complaining about another coach using the trap like Go Daddy complaining about the forced sexuality in someone else's Super Bowl ad?
Anyway, Game 5 is tonight and the vibe is one of creeping finality. Manny Fernandez(notes) is attempting to cover the stink in the Bruin's locker room with cherry-flavored Febreeze. Zdeno Chara(notes) is getting blasted for being a minus-4 with no points in this series and failing to actually climb Kilimanjaro. Stanley Cup of Chowder is praying that the mistakes end and the intensity begins. NESN believes that anything is possible in a city that saw "a Kevin Millar walk turn the Red Sox toward the most improbable comeback in baseball history?" (We're still unable to wrap our brains around the Red Sox as a paragon of postseason destiny and fortitude. Not even four years later.)
Tonight's game is a must-win. If you don't believe us, then believe a remarkable new hockey pundit we've discovered on YouTube named Martin Stone.
If it means more Martin Stone ... let's go Bruins.