Everyone on this blog would agree that the 2011-2012 New Jersey Devils exceeded expectations. There is no need for me to repeat their triumphs in both the regular and postseason.
However, as I sat in front of the television yesterday, and saw yet another advertisement for the "2012 Kings Stanley Cup Gear", I had nothing on my mind other than that the Kings won the Cup -- good for them. There were no feelings of anxiety, sadness, or even reflection on my part about "what could have been" or any of that nonsense.
In a weird way, after I saw that commercial I felt motivated to hop onto Youtube and watch some highlights of this past year. There are already some great tribute videos about our season on the internet. The first one I watched, the Henrique OT Goal vs. the Rangers, perked me up. I knew that "Henrique, it's over!" was just as powerful to we Devils supporters as "Matteau! Matteau!" to New York "fans". After a few more videos, I felt ready for the 2012-2013 campaign to begin.
The season is still a few months away, free agency is around the corner, and my anticipation for the next Devils' game is similar to the way it was before some playoff games this year. It sounds strange, and I am not denying that it is.
In many ways, I will always remember this past season simply because it was the furthest in the playoffs that one of "my teams" ever went (that I can remember). The only other team I pour my heart and soul into is the NFL's New York Jets, so some of you know how much suffering supporting that franchise entails. But, because I am in college, 2003 is somewhat of a distant memory for me. I remember seeing the Cup at a bagel store in New Jersey. Jim McKensie, a fourth-liner on that team, brought it in for a surprise visit. I was aware the Devils had won it all that year, but there is no way a ten year old, even one that attended Devils games that season, could feel the same amount of joy that I would have felt had the Devils won this year.
With that being said, I am not upset that they didn't pull it out. In fact, the only time I was upset against the Kings was when they scored their first powerplay goal following the Bernier major. After that goal, I had moved on. By the end of that penalty, I still thought we could come back from three down, but I realistically knew there was little chance. I decided, for the rest of that game, to not stress over it. I swear that when the Kings scored their fifth goal I had a smile on my face. I have watched enough hockey, and am too big a fan of the sport, to get upset over the Devils season ending. I was excited for the Kings because it wasn't the Rangers, or the Flyers, or even any other team that had won at least one Cup skating around and celebrating. It was something new for their fanbase (at least their diehard fans) that has been a long time coming. Good for them. Time to move on.
If there is one thing sports guarantees, it's that there will be another game.