It isn’t over, so they say, until the Fat Lady sings. But for some around the NHL, she has already bellowed out her tune and for others it’s just a matter of time until she pays their arena a visit too.
The Fat Lady has already kicked off her 2013 Spring NHL Tour with opening performances in Sunrise, Florida, Denver, Colorado, Cal-GARY, Alberta and Nashville, Tennessee as the teams located there have officially been eliminated from postseason consideration. Her manager has also made travel arrangements for Edmonton as wells as Raleigh, North Carolina. And if you’re a fan of the Lightning or Flyers, ask not for whom the Fat Lady sings, for soon she shall sing for thee.
April is a very busy month for the chubby chick as you can very well see.
Now in case you’re wondering if the rotund one with the great pipes would be at all offended by the descriptive way I refer to her, let your heart not be troubled. “You go right ahead, darlin’. I’m comfortable in my own skin”, she told me last night, “And as you can see that’s a good thing because I require quite a bit of epidermis to cover this frame of mine.”
Another thing I discussed with the Round Mound of Sound is how it seems she’ll be performing quite a bit in the southeastern part of the country, much more than usual. I already mentioned she’s been seen onstage at the Grand Old Opry in Nashville, played Sunrise already and will shortly return to the Sunshine State to perform in Tampa. Carolina will soon be on her mind as well. In fact, for the first time in many, many moons hockey fans in and around Atlanta will have to travel as far away as Washington D.C. or St. Louis if they wish to see NHL Playoff hockey live and in person this spring.
And while fans in these southern locals may not like it, this really suits her just fine. “It’s good to get down to the warmer climate of the south”, she said. “After the winter we’ve had up at the Met in New York City, I could use it too. I mean, global warming my fat BE-hind!”
One of the more surprising venues she’s been called in to sing at is Nashville, where the Preds were officially eliminated from postseason contention last Monday via a 5-2 loss to Vancouver. The Predators seemed to have the type of team that could keep it together down the stretch but the citizens of Smashville are left singing a sad country song nonetheless. Now the Preds are left to simply play out the string over the last couple weeks of the season, something that isn’t very easy to do for some.
”We still have to play hard,” Nashville captain Shea Weber said following Monday’s disappointment. ”It’s obviously tough. We have to find a way to battle here in the last games and try to get some wins.”
In Carolina, the Canes have been in free-fall for about a month, tumbling out of contention for the Southeast Division title by way of a 2-14-1 skid since mid-March. And it’s something Jordan Staal has taken personally.
“I really wanted this season, coming in here, for this team to win and for me to be a part of that,” Staal said prior to a game against Washington last week. “I feel like to a certain degree I’ve felt like I was letting the team down.”
“I’ve never been in this situation before. It’s not fun. You’ve got to let some (frustrations) go and just go work and hope that if you keep working good things will happen.”
Jordan Staal joined brother Eric with the Canes last summer when he was traded there by Pittsburgh in return for Brandon Sutter, Brian Dumoulin and Carolina’s 8th overall selection at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
Meanwhile, out at the ranch in Dallas, Texas…the Stars are fighting for their proverbial playoff lives as they are locked in a struggle with Detroit and Columbus for the final spot out west. The Stars return to action Thursday night in Dallas where they have a date with Canucks. And they will do so with starting goalie Kari Lehtonen back between the pipes. He has missed the past three games with a lower body injury.
“Obviously you’d like to be in front and have someone chase us, but that’s not the case,” Stars coach Glenn Gulutzan opined about where his team finds itself in the standings. “But we still control everything.”
Certainly they do. Their five game win streak was halted by a 5-2 loss in Chicago earlier in the week, but their fate still remains in their hands. They close out the season next week against the two teams they are chasing, the Blue Jackets and Red Wings, and they currently hold tie-breakers with both.
While the Stars seem to be in good shape to avoid having the Fat Lady sing her song of finality on their seasons, the same probably won’t be true in Phoenix. After dropping an important game against the San Jose Sharks Monday, they’ll now face the likes of the Blues, Blackhawks and Wings on the road…a place that has not been very kind to them all season. They depart the desert of Arizona four points removed from a playoff spot with six games left to play and three teams to climb over.
So at this time, the Coyotes seem to have about as much chance of slipping into postseason as the Fat Lady does slipping into a thong bikini when she prepares to sit poolside in Phoenix waiting their return from the road next week.
Regardless, she’s contractually obligated by the NHL to perform in 14 cities and she’s well on her way already. And from the looks of it, she’s going to be spending a great deal of her 2013 Tour in the south. So hope she has some sun block on hand…perhaps maybe a few gallons will suffice.
Or a tanker full…?