The 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs are set to begin Wednesday, and the Detroit Red Wings, for the second consecutive season, are not one of the 16 teams that qualified.
Instead, the Red Wings’ summer vacation begins early, and Red Wings fans will have to wait five long months before seeing the team on the ice again.
But don’t fret, you can still enjoy the playoffs even if the Red Wings aren’t playing.
I’ve put together a comprehensive guide for all Red Wings fans on why you should and should not root for each of the 16 teams.
Why you should root for them: During the past three seasons, the Washington Capitals have been eliminated in the second round. Part of you hates watching them flame out in the second round after spectacular regular season performances. Alex Ovechkin is one of the best players to never win a Stanley Cup. He deserves it.
Why you should root against them: If watching a team consistently fail to meet expectations gets you to your happy place.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Why you should root for them: Former Red Wing Thomas Vanek is back in the playoffs after a three-year drought. He hasn’t reached a Stanley Cup final and watching him lift a Cup would be fun.
Why you should root against them: A Pittsburgh vs. Columbus second round isn’t nearly as desirable as a Pittsburgh vs. Washington second round.
Why you should root for them: Watching American hero Phil Kessel win never gets old.
Phil Kessel is an American hero. pic.twitter.com/7aK4IvJRAB
— HR PufnStuf (@mccoyadam) February 3, 2018
Why you should root against them: They were the last team to beat the Red Wings for a Stanley Cup back in 2009, and Max Talbot still haunts your dreams. Also, everyone is sick of seeing the Penguins in the final.
Why you should root for them: If the Flyers reach the Eastern Conference final and Petr Mrazek gets six wins, the Red Wings’ 2018 third-round pick turns into a second-round pick.
Why you should root against them: Part of you secretly wants Mrazek to flop so you can justify the Red Wings keeping Jimmy Howard.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Why you should root for them: If Steve Yzerman wins as GM of the Lightning, you’re holding on to that slim chance he’ll want to come to Detroit in two years after Ken Holland’s contract expires. Also, they probably have the best shot of beating Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference final.
Why you should root against them: You think Dan Girardi’s name shouldn’t ever be on the Stanley Cup.
New Jersey Devils
Why you should root for them: Watching Edmonton Oilers beat writers’ collective heads explode, as Taylor Hall continues to put up MVP numbers. Also, Brian Boyle.
Why you should root against them: They made hockey boring in the late 1990s, and you still haven’t forgiven them for that.
Why you should root for them: Can’t think of any.
Why you should root against them: Brad Marchand.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Why you should root for them: Mike Babcock got the Red Wings a Stanley Cup, and you enjoy seeing him succeed elsewhere in the NHL. Also, a young team making a long playoff run could influence Holland and Jeff Blashill’s personnel decisions next season.
Why you should root against them: They are still the Maple Leafs after all, and we’ll never hear the end of it if they do go all the way.
Why you should root for them: They were two wins away from winning the Stanley Cup last season, and it’s always fun to see a redemption story. Also, this guy.
Why you should root against them: You hate fun.
Why you should root for them: They were dead last in the Central Division last season, so it gives you hope the Red Wings eventually can be competitive sooner rather than later.
Why you should root against them: You’re still living in the 1990s and remember how much you hated Claude Lemieux, Peter Forsberg and Joe Sakic.
Why you should root for them: There are a lot of Michigan-born players on this team, four to be exact. If the team residing in Michigan isn’t playing, at least we can root for the players born in Michigan.
Why you should root against them: Nobody wants to see that Patrik Laine beard get any bushier.
Why you should root for them: Just like the Capitals, they flame out in the playoffs, losing in the first round the past two seasons and losing in the second round the two seasons before that. Eric Staal was good again this season, and a long playoff run for him would be fun.
Why you should root against them: Ryan Suter and Zach Parise picked the Wild over the Red Wings in the summer of 2012, and you get a lot of joy out of watching the Wild lose year after year while having $15,076,924 of cap space tied up in two players until they are both 40.
Vegas Golden Knights
Why you should root for them: Disney couldn’t have written a better script. No one thought they would make the playoffs, much less win the division and have home-ice advantage through at least the first two rounds. They are the story of the 2017-18 season. Also, Tomas Tatar.
Why you should root against them: You’re tired of hearing about the historic season the Golden Knights are having. Also, if you think Tatar should be winning with the Red Wings.
Los Angeles Kings
Why you should root for them: The legend of Brad Doty must live on.
Why you should root against them: They won a couple of Stanley Cups in the early part of the decade. They don’t need anymore success.
Why you should root for them: Former Michigan State Spartan Ryan Miller may get the start for Game 1, and we love our hometown heroes.
Why you should root against them: Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
San Jose Sharks
Why you should root for them: These two beauties deserve a Stanley Cup after coming so close two seasons ago.
Why you should root against them: Maybe Joe Thornton will throw Evander Kane’s tracksuit into the shower if they lose in the first round for the second straight season.