This NHL season was one unlike others I've remembered. It started out with more body injuries, head shots, cross-checking, blind shots, incorrect calls, uncounted goals, miscalled goals, etc.... And, it ended with a game-winning goal being scored without anyone but Patrick Kane knowing about it. Bizarre from beginning to end. Fun, but bizarre.
This was the first time in 18 years that we weren't sure whether the Detroit Red Wings would make it into the playoffs. To say that was bizarre is an understatement. It was fun, yet rather nerve-racking to pay attention to how many points the low-seeded teams had and how the Wings were fitting into the equation. What a strange trip it's been. Having become accustomed to the Wings being one of the top-seeded teams for so long was quite a strange reversal.
To have the season start without knowing the plight of the Phoenix Coyotes is another story. The team was bankrupt. No purchase offer was accepted. So, the NHL purchased the franchise. The team went on to become one of the top-seeded teams for the season. Another bizarre story.
To have the low-seeded Philadelphia Flyers gain entrance into the playoffs via a shoot-out is another story. How rare is that? And, their climb to the Stanley Cup Finals makes for another Cinderella story. So much fun to watch and root for.
Playoff hockey is usually fun, but this season was especially true. Seeing the Washington Capitols, seeded #1, being knocked out of contention early was unexpected. Fun to watch, but unexpected. The Pittsburgh Penguins, last year's Stanley Cup Champions, were eliminated before the finals. (I personally liked seeing that happen.)
Tying goals were scored in the last .2 seconds of a game to force OT. Games were won by 3-0 down teams. Etc..etc.
The best part, though, was watching Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Four minutes into OT, Patrick Kane takes a shot. Then...he raises his hands, skates around the net and gloves start hitting the ice. I thought a fight broke out. Then, it looked like a celebration. I didn't see a goal scored. No goal light went on. No ref called a goal. When it dawned on me that the winning goal was scored...wow! What a way to end a season! So apropos.
What started as a crazy regular season ended with the strangest winning goal I never saw.
Kudos to the Chicago Blackhawks for ending their 49-year Cup drought. Lord Stanley's Cup is going back to Chicago. It was way too cool to see Scotty Bowman during the victory celebration and interview. It's his 12th Stanley Cup. Wow....
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