Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Hardest Part

I'll make this quick. The hardest part about the National Championship game last night was that there's no new lesson to glean from it. When you take penalties, you're going to have a hard time winning. When you can't get the puck into the opponent's zone, you're going to have a hard time winning. When you can't get a change in overtime, it's going to be almost impossible to win.

In the long run, maybe it's a lesson about rising expectations. When Michigan won the West Regional, I did not see how, realistically, Michigan could beat North Dakota. I hoped they would, I put together scenarios on how they could, but I just could not see it. But, after 60 minutes of panic and fear, Michigan was one game away from being national champions. I saw all of the old ghosts, the shutout in the national semi-final, wearing the maize jerseys, all of those things, and presumed that fate was going to intervene, especially when it was 2-2 going to overtime. But, alas, it was not to be.

So let's sum up in the best way we can. Hats off to Minnesota-Duluth, a worthy champion. Hats off to Red, for being Red, my favorite coach ever. Hats off to this senior class, because you were probably the most fun group of seniors since the 1997 senior class. Hats off the the Children of Yost, for being the best student section in any sport anywhere in America. Hats off to the Michigan Hockey blogger community, for being passionate, articulate, and an awesome read throughout the season. Hats off to the Michigan Daily's hockey coverage, one of the absolute best groups of writers I have ever read. Hats off to Geoff for driving us to cover Hockey Christmas once more in the way we knew we could. Hats off to all of you for being a part of Hockey Christmas.

Last and certainly not least, Next Year in Tampa Bay.

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