Tonight the Thrashers take on the Florida Panthers, a team desperately dueling with the NY Rangers for the final playoff spot in the East. An Atlanta win would be a severe blow to the Panthers. The Thrashers pretty much pushed the Sabres out of the post-season and have a shot at kicking another team to the curb tonight.
The truth is that I'd rather see the Panthers get in and the Rangers miss--but I recall the Washington Capitals showed us zero mercy when we needed two points in the final weekend of the 2005-06 season. Nothing creates rivalries like eliminating another team's season.
I grew up in watching the NHL in the 1980s. Back in those days the first two rounds of the playoffs were played entirely within your division. After a couple of years I learned to hate every other Norris Division team (except the Blues--who never seemed to beat my team) with a deep hatred (I still hate you Blackhawks, Leafs and North Stars!!!!!!). If we knock out Florida with they burn to beat us next year?
In other news the Columbus Blue Jackets finally clinced the playoffs--which means the Thrashers and Blue Jackets are now tied again for the fewest playoff appearances by an active NHL franchise.