April 13, 2016

Who do you root for in the NHL playoffs? No one.

by Dan Bilicki In: Baseball, Basketball, Ice Hockey

The NHL playoffs are upon us and for the first time in very long time, there are no Canadian teams remaining. Yes, despite being the country that undoubtedly cares about the sport of ice hockey the most, none of the seven teams based here could make it.

We’ve seen a lot of pieces since the final Canadian team bowed out of the running about who you, as a Canadian NHL fan, should root for in the playoffs, since your local squadron didn’t make the cut.

I have an easy answer for you: Root for nobody.

Why do you need a rooting interest for the playoffs? If you’re a true fan of your team, you shouldn’t turn your back on them because they stunk it up this season. It’s fun to hope on a bandwagon, but don’t you feel a little bit dirty inside cheering for a team that isn’t yours?

There is one exception here: Cheer against the teams you hate.

Can you not stand the Red Wings because you’re from Toronto? Cheer for the Lightning!

Can you not stand the Wild because you’re from Winnipeg? Cheer for the Stars!

Can you not stand anyone because you’re from Montreal? Cheer for the refs!

But wait, there are two better options for Canadian fans to root for. Regardless of whether or not you’re from Toronto, the country should be going all in on the Raptors once again.

Who would’ve thought that the Raps would be the only team playing a playoff game in Canada in mid-April? And this season there’s a very real chance that they’ll finally pick up their first ever seven-game series win.

Who knows, depending on their second-round opponent, this team could make the conference finals – or even further.

There’s also the Blue Jays to cheer on. Granted, they’ve struggled out of the gate after last year’s incredible late-season run, but that’s all the more reason to tune in and encourage them. Remember, ratings mean dollars into the payroll.

Sure, they may not play on ice, but the Raptors and Jays are this country’s best sporting option to watch these days.

Well, at least there is one more day that all fans of Canadian teams can cheer: April 30, draft lottery day.

Follow me on Twitter @danbilicki

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