Five excuses we'll hear

1. "They didn't have to travel as much as we did."

While we know it's hard for ordinary folk to get their heads around the rigors of traveling on a luxurious charter aircraft, it is a drag. Ask the Detroit Red Wings, who have made a habit of repeatedly winging back and forth to the West Coast the last few springs, what it takes out of them, especially compared to the relatively easy travel gig the Eastern Conference teams enjoy.

2. "The ice was terrible."

This usually comes up when a skill team gets outworked by a less skillful team. Guess what? Two teams, one ice. Enough said.

3. "There were some terrible calls out there."

Outside of Rangers coach John Tortorella, who broke the mold at the Winter Classic by complaining about the refereeing after winning in Philadelphia, complaints about the men in the striped shirts invariably happens when a team feels that it has either been unduly persecuted with too many penalties or given the short end of the stick when, in their eyes, their opponent gets away with flagrant fouls. Either way, it's a tired story that usually comes when a team is about to slide into the abyss.

4. "We came out flat."

This is always offered up after a team gets buried early in a game, although one wonders how, with so much at stake, any team can fail to muster the emotional level needed to start a playoff game. Guess it sounds better than "we stunk" or "we partied too much last night."

5. "We had a lot of injuries."

And yes, injuries are valid points when dissecting losses, although it's funny how no one ever comes out and says, "Gee, were we lucky to win with all the injuries we've had." Similarly, using an injury as an excuse is considered bad form, even if it's accurate.