After about an hour of work, I've decided that my idea for tonight's post was way cooler in concept than it was in practice, so I'm going to go ahead and not finish it.
On the plus side, I did find this while working on it, so that's a plus.
Tampa/Boston started the Eastern Conference Final today, and Houston/Hamilton started the AHL Western Conference Final yesterday. Both Tampa and Houston managed to win, which is nice. I realized that, as a fan, there's a huge difference to having your team in the playoffs vs. having your team in the semifinals. I could manage to stay just jaded enough that, if we lost before now, it would suck, but I'd be over it pretty easily. Now, however, you realize that there aren't a whole lot of teams left. Your boys have gotten pretty dang far. And they're not really that far away from winning the Whole Dang Thing. Even if/when you believe at the beginning of the year or the playoffs that your team could conceivably capture a Cup, it's not really until this point that the whole thing starts to seem real. And that makes it a little bit scarier, because now you're believing. You let yourself dare to hope. Which makes every loss that much tougher to swallow. Let's face it, it was a grind just to get to this point. By now, you've probably already dodged at least one bullet (Tampa went to seven games in round one, Houston in round two). It may be awhile before another chance like this one comes around. So please, boys, now that you got me believing in you, please don't blow it.
Because having your season end in rounds one and two hurts like a punch in the gut. To come this close and lose it now? It's...well, it's this.