The 2023 NHL playoffs are now into the second round and my local NHL team, the Vancouver Canucks are not part of it. The last time they were in the playoffs was the “bubble quarantine” playoffs of 2020, which some people don’t count as a real playoff season since none of the teams got to play in a real home and visitor situation. Before that, you’d have to go back to the 2014-2015 season when the Canucks were in the post-season.
I’ve written this before but not having the team you cheer for in the playoffs is not great but at the same time, it’s very liberating. I see all the fans of the teams in the playoffs celebrating all the wins but they’re also agonizing over all the losses. They get stressed out during the overtime games, some of which are series clinching overtimes. Only sixteen teams make the playoffs, so it’s guaranteed that fifteen fan bases will be disappointed, with the fans of the team that loses in the final having the most disappointment.
When you got no dog in the fight, you’re free from all those highs and lows and disappointment. To get a bit spiritual here, Buddhism teaches us that desire leads to suffering. The act of wanting something, puts you in a bad state, especially if you wind up not being able to acquire that said something. I’m totally paraphrasing here, so feel free to read about the Four Noble Truths yourself. The point is, there are no playoffs games for the Vancouver Canucks to play, so there’s no need for me to get all worked up about hockey games that won’t be played. It seems like enlightenment can’t be too far away for me.
Another way to look at it, in more of a pop culture sense is from the point of view of the ancient movie, WarGames. In it, an artificial intelligence comes to learn that the best way to win a nuclear war between the US and the Soviet Union is actually to not even start the war. Translating to the NHL playoffs, that means that you can’t be disappointed in your team losing in the playoffs if they aren’t in the playoffs at all. Now yes, I am totally hand-waving that one team every year does win it all but let’s face it, even if the Vancouver Canucks limped into the playoffs, they won’t be in a position for many, many years to actually win the whole damn thing.
So yeah, let’s everyone try to get into a state of hockey enlightenment.