It was fun while it lasted, but it's time to regain some perspective

I was going to write a rant. I was going to go off on how people who don't regularly follow the Tampa Bay Lightning shouldn't jump to conclusion about this team after only one game. Then I was going to try to prove that they weren't a boring team by looking at some statistics and talking about them - assuming that they told the story I thought they would.

Then I realized that no one cares - and no one should care, as a matter of fact.

This was one game; one-eighty-second of an entire season. This wasn't even a snapshot of either team. The game was an aberration - not just for the Lightning, but for the Philadelphia Flyers as well. The Lightning doesn't typically play like they did, neither do the Flyers, and games between the two teams are definitely not that weird as a general rule.

To put it shortly, all of the outrage over this single game is pointless. There is no conspiracy, no grand master plan to ruin the game of hockey. The Flyers did something unusual to counter what the Lightning often do, and it was on national TV. If this game has been locally broadcast in both cities, what happened on the ice would've been written off as an oddly comical thing and nothing more.

Believe me, I was just as upset as the rest of Lightning Land. I was on Twitter last night trying to defend the team I write about and watch all season long. I sort of continued that this morning as well. So I was all worked up and cranky about it - just like everyone else.

Then it hit me this afternoon. Seriously, what was the point? It was one game out of an entire season. The only reason that it was getting this much attention was because it was nationally televised. That's it. And many people bought into believing what the Versus crew had to say about it.

Which isn't to say that people are gullible, just that someone was reinforcing what people were already leaning towards believing, anyways. Positive reinforcement is a powerful thing. And some of the people who were undecided were swayed towards way of the announcers opinions and/or spin.

You don't have to be happy about it, of course, but there's no reason to attack anyone over it. Or be defensive about it, either, for that matter. People are going to believe what they want to believe, after all, and nothing you or I say about it is going to change anyone's minds.

All of this "the trap is going to destroy hockey" panic is pure nonsense, as is this belief that the Lightning play a boring brand of hockey. It was true for that one game, but it hasn't been true for either team in any other game this season. So why believe it? Why panic over it? Why buy into the hype that has little basis in reality?

Instead, we should all be laughing at the people who believe that the Lightning will destroy hockey and send it back to the Dark Ages of clutching and grabbing. If they want to give themselves ulcers over it, and devote pages and pages of inaccurate reporting to the fear and rumor-mongering, then let them. We know the truth of it, since we watch the Lightning play all the time - as do Flyers fans who watch their team all the time, as they had an equal stake in things.

This is nothing but another attempt at manufacturing a rivalry. Do we as fans want to be a part of another Pittsburgh Penguins-Washington Capitals debacle? I hardly think so. I don't know about you, but I'd rather we keep our rivalries real.

So take a deep breath, grab the beverage of your choice, sit down, and have a good laugh. Because the whole thing's rather silly, really. And I think I'm done being part of the joke, aren't you?

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