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01-05-2012, 10:16 AM
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I think, as a fan, it's a little more than just another game. I was certainly cheering for it like a playoff game.

As a team morale boost, bellwether, etc., it may not be that overrated, look at the winners:

2008 Pittsburgh - 2 seed in the East, won the Conference
2009 Detroit - 2 seed in West, won the Conference
2010 Boston - 6 seed in East, lost in Conference-semi's
2011 Washington - 1 seed in East, lost in Conference-semi's

So there is some tangible impact (although, there really isn't a huge pool of winners to draw from).

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