“Meanwhile, the Pistons are playing the Cavs as if they all have vacation plans and flights scheduled to leave Detroit next week immediately after Game 4.”


Another day of playoffs in Detroit, another day with no drama.

As I wrote on Monday, it doesn’t feel like the post-season around here.

The Red Wings continue to toy with the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Cleveland Cavaliers are doing the same with the Pistons.


In Columbus, the joint was jumping. The Nationwide Arena crowd was ready to bust loose, as their Jackets were hosting their first playoff game in team history.

Then, 67 seconds into the affair, Tomas Holmstrom shoved a giant, sweaty hockey sock into their mouths.

1-0 Detroit.

Dan Cleary scored with less than a minute to go in the first period for a 2-0 lead.

Hockey people will tell you that the only thing worse than giving up a goal in the opening minute of a game is to give one up in the closing minute of a period.

The Blue Jackets did both.

The final scores of the three games the Red Wings and Jackets have played have their own beat.

4-1. 4-0. 4-1.

If this was middle school algebra, I’d ask you to name me the score of Game 4, based on the given pattern.

And you’d get a gold star on your paper if you answered 4-0.

Which will also be the final outcome of this first round series, no matter what score they play to in Game 4.

For extra credit, you could also put it this way: Red Wings 12, R.J. Umberger 2.

The Jackets are coming off soon. To be dry cleaned and stowed away for the summer, not to return again until training camp this September.

It’s hard to see the Red Wings fumbling and losing Game 4.

These aren’t the Dallas Stars in the Final Four.

Last spring, the Red Wings couldn’t put the Stars away in Game 4 in Dallas, then came home to Detroit and got stunned once more, before finishing matters in Game 6 on the road.

This series doesn’t have that feel. At all.

It’s impressive how the Red Wings have started these playoffs. Totally business-like, without remorse.

Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock told me so, before the playoffs started.

Last week in a conference call, I asked Hitch if defending Cup champs are more vulnerable to upset in the first round.

Nuh-uh, Hitch said.

“I believe Cup champions are just as excited as all the other teams in the first round,” he told me. “If they lose, it’s usually later on, after all the wear and tear.”

I bet he wishes he wasn’t so damn prophetic.

Meanwhile, the Pistons are playing the Cavs as if they all have vacation plans and flights scheduled to leave Detroit next week immediately after Game 4.

No fight. No resistance.

No pride.

I didn’t think it would go down this way, with the Pistons this meek in their capitulation from the heights of being an Eastern Conference elitist. I figured there’d be a little piss and vinegar out of them.

Instead, all the Pistons are doing is hemorraghing self-respect and their reputation as playoff toughies.

It’s hard to see that series going longer than four games as well.

It all adds up to a two-week bye from angst and nailbiting.

Ah, but Frank Sinatra sang it in “That’s Life.”

You’re riding high in April,
shot down in May

So beware, Red Wings and Cavs fans.