This is not meant as a metaphor for either teams' season... or is it?
The last game of the season's always kind of sad, especially when you're not going to the playoffs. Driving home, knowing that you won't make that trek to the arena again until preseason starts in September... it's a bummer. Blues fans got to feel that last night, but on a high note - the Blues absolutely creamed the Ducks, 6-3, with four goals in the 3rd period. Keith Tkachuk had assists on two goals, and should have had one himself if not for the intent to blow rule. He had a tremendous send off, both from the team and from the fans. All of Scottrade was chanting "Keith Tka-chuk!" by the last minute of the game - it was chilling. Walter got a great ovation from the crowd after the game, and it got louder when he said that there would be a Cup coming to St. Louis, and that he would be a part of it. I hope that the front office finds some position for him. He loves this team and this town, and guys like that - guys who want to be a Bluenote for life - they deserve a chance to be one.
We might see Paul Kariya's last game as a Blue tonight in Nashville which is the Blues 2009-2010 closer. This season might have been a disappointment in that the Blues didn't make the playoffs, but they'll probably crack 90 points again, are 8 games above .500. Chris Mason has back to back 30 win seasons. Yes, if we were in a weaker Conference we'd be in the playoffs this year. The West is absurd. But there's so much to build on for next year, and the cap space to do it. I'm optimistic.
The Thrashers have a chance to extend their home closer win streak to five years, but they get to do it against the Penguins. Point-less since the OTL to Pittsburgh, the Thrashers get to face the Penguins in their hardest Fan Appreciation night match up in quite some time - please stop by The Pensblog for some pre-game fun. They haven't beaten the Pens since 2008, and sit right at .500 right now. This is the 3rd highest point total in franchise history. How very Thrashers-like for us to get that that many points and still wind up under .500.
Despite the fact that this seasons win number is in par with last year's and the year before last's, it was nice to be playing relevant hockey up until April. It will also be nice to not see Atlanta's name pop up during the draft lottery on Tuesday night. There were a lot of things to enjoy about this year, and while it's frustrating to see the best start in franchise history wasted by the worst December in franchise history, as far as 10th anniversaries go it wasn't half bad. Here's hoping Kubina and Afinogenov return next season, Kulda hangs around, and we get to see how Kane looks with a year under his belt. Pavelec should be sharper, too. We also won't have a huge dark cloud hanging over our heads all season long - we'll be able to just play.
No, I'm not happy about how this season ended up for either team, but I'm going to go to the Thrashers game tonight, meet up with some friends who just so happen to be Penguins fans before the game, and have some fun. Win or loss, I'm just thankful for some hockey in Atlanta, and I won't be able to wait for next season.
Is it training camp yet?