It's not that I've given up on hockey. I've been watching plenty of games since my Calgary Flames were bounced ignobly from the post-season due to the ferocious defensive attack of the upstart might Mighty Ducks of Anaheim from Anaheim. I'm probably watching more than I did during round one and I'm enjoying the game as much as ever.

Why is that?

For one, I still have a vested interest in the playoffs. My office pool has no more players from the West but my guys from Carolina and Buffalo are doing wonders for me in the East. As for my auction-draft team, we lost out bad by picking Mike Modano, Brenden Morrow and Michael Nylander, but are still alive and kicking with Joffrey Lupul, Francois Beachemin and Rod Brind'Amour.

I also happen to enjoy great playoff hockey in general, especially with these series being contested right now. The game is as exciting as it's ever been - it's fast, hard-hitting, and leads are suddenly surmountable. If only there were consistency in the officating, which has been at times wonderful and atrocious, this could be considered the dawning of a new Golden Age on ice.

But why my enduring silence here on Puck This! since the end of round one?

The fact is, I'm afraid to say, lest I receive attacks on my character and loyalty, but I'm actually kinda, sorta glad that the Flames are done. And I'm not the only one.

Many of my fellow Calgarians expressed that same sentiment shortly after the team lost. It's not because we didn't want them to win: who doesn't want the bragging rights of a Stanley Cup champion, especially with the obnoxious buffoons residing three hours north on the QEII? We were all disappointed at the quick exit of the Firey Horse-Head Nostrils and will deal with that for the next three or four months.

However, for those of us who were around during the 2004 run, a time filled with nostalgia of legendary proportions, we realized at once how much of a shit-show those two months were. Every day was a Flames day: one was either talking about the game the night before, getting ready for the next game, or in some bar filled with carcenogenic smoke, spilled rye on red jerseys, a dozen TVs and make-shift projection screens. Everyone was geared up. School kids, waitresses, rap musicians, my 55-year-old Philippino woman technician who, at one point, embroiled me in an argument over the merits of having Robyn Regher quarterbacking the powerplay. It went on and on and on and on.

Suddenly, it was over. We attempted to find our bearings and discovered that we went from April to the end of June and missed out on the entire spring season. Stampede was a mere two weeks away, giving us all pause as to the best way to scrape up some dollars and energy to do it all over again.

As magical a time as it was, I don't think anyone who experienced 2004 -- other than drunk-ass teenagers and their like-minded wannabes -- was really aching to do it all over again. It would have been too much.

That's the prevailing view from around town.

But we're still watching hockey. We would just rather Edmonton destroy themselves this time around.