I've always felt that the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs must be the hardest to play. The emotional high of just making it into the big show is over. That'll come back in Round Three for the conference championship when it's down to two teams. And it'll definitely be there for the finals.
But in Round Two, the thrill has worn off. The adrenalin is mostly helping stave off the pain from bruises that won't get a chance to even start healing for four more weeks. And everything about your team and your game that is less than perfect starts to show.
I've always equated the Second Round with the Second Night of a theatrical run. Opening night is all nervous energy and the excitement of finally getting the beast on its feet. Second nights are notoriously where things screw up and you realize that you need to stay on top of your game or it'll slide away altogether.
Similarly, down there on the ice, skills once taken for granted don't seem to come as easy. Points leaders don't score. Goalies brain cramp. Grinders catch the rare opportunity to capitalize on a mistake.
Tempers fray. Discipline hiccups. You realize just how hard winning this thing is going to be and wonder if you really have what it takes.
I realize we've all got a busy day ahead. There's clearly a feeling that some small measure of evil is gone from the world. But depending on your partisan commitment, there's maybe a worry that the "X" you Canadians put on you ballot today might just allow some imperfection to return or remain.
Whatever your position on the political spectrum, it's paramount that you vote today.
Win or lose, standing up for what you believe is always noted and taken to heart by both the victor and the vanquished. And whether or not you agree with the final decision or not, your fellow citizens have spoken in the right way to change or continue how things are done, so let's all accept their wisdom and move on.
The wisest poolies as we near the halfway point appear to be:
Mr. Pascoe. Now leading by two points.
Mr.Stubinski. Now alone in second.
Mr. House. Now alone in third.
Oh -- and look who's up a notch to sit all by hisself in 4th!
Well handled, Sir! Well handled.
See you all on Friday.