Why the Devils Must Not Win the Cup

Don't test me, old man.

I have a co-worker that is close to my own age, and we talk pretty much constantly all day long at work. We share enough interests to get along moderately well, but we're also very different people.

This co-worker (I'll call him Donald for the purposes of this story) is a big basketball fan and, like most people, doesn't care about hockey. However since we have been working with each other for years and I like hockey very much, he's started to read more about hockey and to follow it more closely - and this is a big problem. Because Donald has decided (after watching parts of a couple of games and reading a lot of Bleacher Report articles) that he now knows everything about hockey.

To give you a proper understanding of exactly who Donald is as a person, here is a brief sampling of some of his opinions:

1. He believes basketball is the best sport because they score constantly. In his mind if scoring is good and exciting then the more scoring there is the better and more exciting a sport is.

2. He thinks alcohol should be illegal.

3. He believes hockey is bad because of the hitting. He says that hitting is "cheap" and is not a skill. In Donald's opinion basketball is better than hockey because it's purely based on "skill." Donald thinks it would be pretty easy for him to play in the NHL because all he would have to do would be to learn how to skate and hit.

4. One time we got in to an argument about race and he said that there are "only three races," apparently having a somewhat archaic view of race. I corrected him and he doesn't believe this any more, but the point is he was PASSIONATE and STUBBORN about an opinion which was completely ridiculous and based in ignorance.

5. He thinks a college degree is useless and higher education is a huge scam that doesn't teach you anything worthwhile (and in an amazing coincidence he doesn't have a college degree).

6. And, worst of all, he doesn't really care about hockey but he cheers for both the Ducks AND the Kings and gloats whenever either team wins. When I explained to him that trying to be both a Ducks and a Kings fan meant that he was really neither he rejected the idea.

Hopefully you're all with me here and understand what I'm dealing with.

Here's the problem: prior to the beginning of this season, for some reason Donald started talking about how great the New Jersey Devils were. He couldn't name anyone on their team outside of Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise, and Martin Brodeur, but he was convinced that they were the greatest. They finished the previous year strong but had been awful for the first half of that season, so I didn't share his positive assessment of the team.

So we made a bet.

Donald predicted that the New Jersey Devils would win the Stanley Cup in 2012. I, of course, AS ANY RATIONAL HOCKEY FAN WOULD HAVE DONE, took the opposite view. I found pre-season Stanley Cup odds that listed the Devils as having something like 27 to 1 odds against and I confidently bumped it up to an even 30. If the Devils win the Stanley Cup I pay Donald 30 dollars. If they don't he pays me one dollar.

It became clear pretty early on in the season that the Devils would make the playoffs. That didn't worry me. Plenty of teams make the playoffs.

I was really hoping the Panthers would beat the Devils in the first round, but New Jersey managed to BARELY beat Florida. I still wasn't worried - after all, if the Devils barely managed to beat one of the worst playoff teams in the past ten years, what hope did they have against better teams?

Then they beat the Flyers pretty handily.

And now I am worried.

The Devils can not win the Stanley Cup. They must not win. For the good of the league and humanity, someone has to stop them.

It's not the money that's the issue here. It's pride. It's my sanity. Donald is already insufferable when he talks about hockey, and if he actually gets this right I will never hear the end of it. It will be a victory for smug ignorant douche-bags all over the world. If the Devils win then the only response left to me will be to murder Donald and then flee to a new state and change my identity.

And I don't want to have to do that again.

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