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A Guide To Enjoying The Playoffs, Or How I Learned To Stop Rioting And Love The Game

The playoffs are here and unlike previous years, the Canucks do not have the heavy weight of expectation burdening them. After last year's Tortsfire, many had the Canucks on the outside looking in. But as we discovered this year, hockey without all of that pressure can be a lot of fun to watch. We here at Nucks Misconduct are happy to provide you with a guide to help get you back to actually enjoying playoff hockey.

Derek Leung/Getty Images

I will be honest here: It wasn't until February that I really believed they'd be okay this season. This is a team in flux, and with all the change, the biggest one was the identity of this team. While I would hesitate to say it's fully formed, as we got into the home stretch, the Canucks quietly went about being a team that was a real pain in the ass to play against. Sure, there were still some bad nights, and frustratingly a lot of them came against bad teams. But against some of the league's best, they were at their best, and even when they weren't, they still often found ways to win.

So they were able to survive a season of change, adjustment, injury and drama, and now find themselves matched up against a very familiar foe: The Calgary Flames. And while they finished ahead of the Flames in the standings, many are picking the young gun Flames to take this series. This is exactly what I was hoping for, and this guide will help explain why it's a good thing, along with some other tips to help you remember just how much damn fun it can be watching this game, and this team.

The first thing you need to do is relax. Seriously, this is the laid back West Coast, so let's perpetuate that stereotype this year and stop losing our collective minds over stuff. And that means the following:

1- Haters gonna hate: The biggest thing you need to remember, is that in this era of social media, you will be bombarded with stuff about the Canucks, and a lot of it isn't gonna be positive. We've screamed and yelled, we've 'Embraced The Hate', and tried all manner of things in the past. This time, just let them say what they want. I refuse to let idiots ruin this for me. PJ Stock, Jeremy Roenick, Mike Milbury, Glen Healy, Mark Spector and Damian Cox (among others) are gonna do their thing. This Canucks team hasn't been the dominant team from a couple years ago, but they're not a team that you can write off, and without an LA or San Jose hurdle in round 1, there's a good chance of getting on a roll here. So don't worry about what they say. Let them pen their articles pushing narratives about stuff that defies reality and logic. Let them tweet their nonsense. None of it matters. This time, the Canucks are underdogs. You can't freak out just because some talking head didn't say something nice about the Canucks, or even about us as fans. They have ZERO impact on the game, and when you realize that, what they say has zero impact on your enjoyment of it.

2- Remember that the expectations are lower: The mere fact they're back in the post-season after the debacle we witnessed last year, is a bonus unto itself. New faces, combined with bounce back years from a number of players helped the Canucks get back into the post season. Take it 4 wins at a time, and if they bow out, remember: It's not a failure, disappointment or let down. This team is retooling for the future. The fact they're playing hockey for a minimum of the next week or so is awesome, and anything past that, gravy.

3- Pick your battles: If you're on Twitter you know: the post-season in Hockey Twitter can be as much a cesspool of idiots as it is a valuable source for information and enhancement of the fan experience. Adjust your outrage meters accordingly. You shouldn't be worrying what fans of teams who aren't in the post season say, nor should you be chirping them for missing. Trash talk is fine, but knowing where and when to use is going to make things way less stressful for you. You'll occasionally find someone who says something funny, but for the most part, it's high school in 140 characters or less. The mute button is your friend.

4- The Search For Canada's Team needs to die: Is your team in the post-season? No? Sorry to hear that, but quite frankly, I don't give a rat's ass who you cheer for. Don't like the Canucks?

Think the Flames will roll in this series, or if your trash talk game consists of riot jokes, no Cups references and the insistence on calling the Sedins 'sisters'?

Seriously, we've heard it all. So go ahead, spew your idiocy. It really does little but either amuse me or make me feel sad for you. And for god's sake: any person who gets paid to write that produces an article or segment on 'Who is Canada's team?' should hang their head in shame. It's the National Hockey League, it's not the Olympics. Wanna cheer for Tampa Bay? Go for it. Are you a Blackhawks fan? Ew, gross... but still, have at 'er. And should the Canucks be fortunate enough to get out of the West, what the rest of the country thinks about the Canucks matters exactly squat. It is a club championship. If you wanna cheer for them, that's awesome. But I don't care if you don't.

This team (at times) can be a hell of a lot of fun to watch. The Sedins are back playing some damn good hockey this year after we were told they were history. We have a guy on the team with the ability to score like we haven't seen in ages on this team. We have 2 NHL caliber goalies, 4 lines that can score, and well.. a couple defencemen. It's gonna be a hell of a lot of fun watching people write off the Sedins all over again and then find out why they love playing against the Flames so much, and that unlike the past if you shut them down, this team has 3 other lines capable of damage.

So that's it, folks. Relax. Watch the games, and enjoy this run. It's really starting to feel like 1994 this time around, so I guess it's kind of fitting they've drawn the Flames in the first round. And remember, there's a lot of things in this world that people should rise up in the streets over, and none of them have anything to do with sports.