First off, thanks to the Wings for a heck of a season. A disappointing finish, but given the adversity this team faced, from the Stanley Cup hangover to the post-season injuries, I couldn’t be prouder of these guys. This hurts like crazy, but thinking about Nick Lidstrom having surgery in the third round and coming back to play has me in awe of this group’s will to win. That they fell short should in no way take away from that.
To the Pittsburgh Penguins, congratulations. You did something I didn’t think any team could do: win a Stanley Cup Final Game 7 in the Wings’ building. You took the championship on our home ice, in front of thousands my fellow fans who paid for those tickets out of shrinking paychecks, in the heart of a state needing something positive to happen like you wouldn’t believe and from a team that knew all that and for whom that knowledge was a driving force. I’ll never forgive you for it, but I have to respect that you did it.
I can already the praise songs and see the love letters sung and written to and about Sydney Crosby, and while I don’t want to go to far down the “sour grapes” route, I will say that the knowledge that Sid will now be marketed even more than before (didn’t think it was possible, did you?) has me feeling sick already. I’m already expecting to see him ranked with the all-time great leaders by those with little or no perspective.
One last thing along that line of thought. This warms my heart: “Mr. Ilitch … kept walking when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman approached him under the stands and tried to shake his hand after Friday night’s game.” No more words need to be said, eh Wings fans?
Back to the Wings a moment: of all the guys on the team, I’m especially disappointed for Chris Osgood. The guy did everything possible to earn this team the Cup, and falling short by one goal is killer. I hope that this run has opened a lot of folk’s eyes and that he can get some of that crowd off his back. Not too much, though! I like “chip-on-the-shoulder” Ozzie. If he’s up against the media and fans again next year, I guess it wouldn’t be the end of the world.
Now, I want to thank all of you who took the time to stop by the blog this season and take part in the discussion. Doing this is infinitely more fun when the community is lively, so I can’t overstate how much I appreciate your input. You guys are great, and helped make this season even more memorable than it might have been.
There’s a lot more to say about this team, their run and the players. With the end of the season, however, I’ll probably take a lighter posting load, though I won’t drop away for an official break until after the first few days of free agency.
We saw how the team turned the disappointment of losing to Anaheim in 2007 into a championship a year later. It’s hard to be too positive after a loss like this, but I will say that if any team can do it again, this one can. As IwoCPO said, “98 to 12.”