And now, the real season. The little boys have taken their toys home to Mommy, leaving the field of battle to their betters. The greatest prize in all of Sport awaits the victor. It will sit patiently, waiting, as it has for 108 years. It will wait to see who can meet its only demand. 16 wins. 16 wins bought and paid for in blood, sweat, teeth, heart, soul and tears. That is all it asks. And yet it will demand more than 15 teams have to give. Only one team can remain standing at the end. Only one will have earned the right to call themselves “Champions”. This is why we watch. This is why we love and this is why we cheer.
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in Canada now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Stanley's day.
With apologies to the Bard, it's Playoff time. Now let’s get it on.