Well, we’ve just concluded the first period of play in tonight’s match-up and the game is still scoreless at an even 0-0 and, I’ve got to say, Mike, it’s been a truly disappointing and lackluster affair so far.

Both of these teams came into the post-season having concluded the regular season on a high note with winning records—I mean, you remember those friendly texts they exchanged that heated up over the course of last weekend when the home team commented on the away team’s interest in modern art? Usually, nothing promises better quality playoff action than when the final, non-verbal telecommunication of the regular season turns mildly flirtatious about the works of Sol Lewitt.

But Mike, this just isn’t the level of play that you would normally expect to see from a couple of top-seeded teams squaring off against one another in a do-or-die scenario, especially when they’ve both had a few extra days of rest due to a cancellation that the away team initiated on the previously scheduled match. Where’s the hustle? Where’s the drive? Where’s the chemistry? These are the questions that both teams should be asking themselves during this 20-minute intermission.

Mike, there’s never been an easier opportunity for an opponent to capitalize on a loose puck and turn it into an odd-man rush about household pets and the virtues of cats versus dogs or vice versa, but the away team just seems too stunned by the lack of athleticism on display here to even bother.

And I don’t know if you’re feeling the same from where you and Keith are watching up there in the studio but down here on the ice, you can just feel the absence of emotion and energy. It’s palpable. The crowd isn’t even getting into it at all, either. In fact, the crowd isn’t even paying attention to the action, and mostly seems to be concerned with their own private, side conversations about political scandals, the NBA playoffs, and which items on the menu the waiter recommends.

Now, the home team did come out strong initially and succeeded in overwhelming the away team’s defense by selecting a top-caliber venue for the match, holding the door open for her upon arrival, and smiling with a mouth full of real teeth on the opening face-off. He even got in a few good shots on goal in the first few minutes of play, forcing her to remain attentive and responsive, but after those initial, admittedly less-than-highly-exciting offensive rushes regarding the basic topics of life, work, and geographic upbringing, she covered the puck with a one-worded answer, forcing a stoppage of play, and things just spiraled downhill from there.

Let’s stop and take a closer look at that bone-headed play he made at 08:38 into the first period.

The home team was already faltering but this was the crucial mistake that ended his momentum and set the stage for the complete offensive collapse that followed during the remainder of the period. There—you see the home team has possession of the puck and is setting up in the offensive end. Now watch: he attempts to pull off a one-timer—something about a mutual fondness for rescue dogs—but there! He completely whiffs!

I mean, Mike, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen such a whiff in the playoffs before. And you know, it wasn't the idea behind the play that was so bad; it was the execution. Just watch that replay again. See—he winds up…and misses! And the momentum of the shot just completely throws him off-balance. So now he’s laying on his back, staring straight up at the rafters while the away team just stands motionless and watches the puck as it drifts towards the boards.

Mike, there’s never been an easier opportunity for an opponent to capitalize on a loose puck and turn it into an odd-man rush about household pets and the virtues of cats versus dogs or vice versa, but the away team just seems too stunned by the lack of athleticism on display here to even bother.

She just looks bored and the refs aren’t sure how to handle this level of disengagement from an opposing team. I mean, Mike, the home team—he’s clearly regressed to only playing at the level of a peewee, but he’s trying, you know? But even so, you just can’t help but predict that this round is going to end in a sweep for the away team. She’ll almost certainly advance to face some tougher and presumably more charismatic competition next week, and he’ll hang up his skates and hope that maybe with some hard work and a change in coaching in the off-season, he’ll have a better chance at success next year.

But honestly, Mike, with an outlook like that, it makes you wonder—forfeiture might just be the best option. Preferably if it’s done before the away team starts getting really aggressive on the back-check. The hitting is sure to be the heaviest during dessert if the game goes to overtime, but in all likelihood, she’ll eliminate him long before then.

Wait, now—there’s some unexpected commotion coming from the bench. The away team is starting to send visual signals that she’s looking for a fight. Turns out she never actually went back to the locker room during this intermission and instead chose to remain at the table for the whole recap. And as you can probably guess, the tension here is rising by the second, which might actually just give these two teams the kick in the pants that they need to get into the spirit of the post-season and start playing like they mean it.

But now that we’re only seconds away from the start of the second period, I better finish up this call and put my phone away, so Mike, back to you.


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