It stings now. Of course, it stings. You don’t make investments this a lot of your soul, don’t spill this a lot of your blood, to merely shrug your shoulders and say, “Wait ’Til Next Year.” See, that’s the humorous half about Next Year: there’s by no means a assure it will arrive. It’s why you struggle so onerous to seize a second.
And will sting for a while.
“We had a real shot,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz stated with a sigh.
There will come a day when the cloud of disappointment lifts, when the shroud of what-might-have-been dissolves, and what will stay are the snapshots of a joyous, superb trip. The Islanders had been underdogs in each collection they performed on this postseason.
They stunned the Penguins. They startled the Bruins.
And make no mistake: The Lightning knew what they only escaped on their approach to a shot at a second straight Stanley Cup. They know that they had to play their best recreation of the hockey season, and that’s what they did.
They wanted a short-handed purpose from Yanni Gourde to get there. They wanted 18 saves from Andrei Vasilevskiy. They wanted to put each ounce of expertise, talent and playoff expertise on the ice for 60 minutes. You may inform from the leap they believed they had been higher than the Islanders.
But that they had to show it. Friday night time, they proved it. Barely.
Friday night time, they had been one purpose higher than the Islanders, and sure: the damage will be magnified a bit as a result of the Isles surrendered that purpose on the facility play. The Islanders, a roster stuffed with would-be deans of self-discipline, someway allowed the Lightning to beat them in the one 5-on-4 shift of the night time — and it was with the Islanders up a man.
They by no means may get the equalizer.
“It hurts no matter what,” Josh Bailey stated. “But that situation …”
You may inform he was watching that purpose yet again in his thoughts’s eye. And it induced his actual eyes to water.
“It’s so hard to get to this point,” he stated. “It’s tough.”
So had been they.
“I appreciate it,” Scott Mayfield stated of this 19-game march to throughout the entrance doorstep of the Stanley Cup Final. “It’s an honor to play with these guys. I don’t think back-to-back years making it to the final four that that’s a fluke. I don’t know if anyone believed in us at the start of the playoffs, but we believed in ourselves. We’re a confident group.”
“It stings right now,” Mayfield stated.
Yes. It does. Of course it stings. Of course it will be tough for them — and for you, much more — to ponder that there’ll be extra hockey video games happening with out them. That Montreal-Tampa Bay collection may as nicely be performed on Antarctica, for all the eye the gamers will give it, and their followers.
Bailey wasn’t the one one whose feelings had been overwhelmed on the last horn; they had been all uncooked, all gutted, all on the verge of dropping it. They shook palms, as a result of that’s what hockey gamers do. They wished the Lightning nicely, as a result of that’s who hockey gamers are.
And they in all probability wished to scream on the sky.
You get that shut to dancing on stars, get that shut to enjoying for the Cup, you wager you need to shout and roar and cry. That’s the fantastic thing about this sport, in any case. You take any 40 hockey gamers and inform them there’s a recreation on some out of doors rink in Saskatchewan, with nothing greater than a keg of Labatt Blue on the road, most of them will say, “What time?”
This was for greater than a keg of beer. This was for a shot on the Cup. This was to add a fifth banner to the gathering that’ll be unveiled within the new area subsequent yr. This was for at the very least two extra video games at Nassau Coliseum. It seems they closed the Old Barn with class Wednesday night time. But that wasn’t the intention. They wished extra.
When it didn’t occur, there was agony of their voices and disappointment on their faces. Yeah. Hockey gamers are completely different. This was like the highschool soccer workforce dropping within the state playoffs. You don’t see a lot of professional athletes act this manner, even on the finish of a season.
You see that yearly with hockey gamers
“Wasn’t our time,” Mathew Barzal stated, on the verge of weeping.
Not this time. Not this yr. Maybe subsequent yr. Soon, you’ll give you the chance to take into consideration subsequent yr. Soon sufficient, the sting will go away. Just not now. Just not but. It stings.