If you missed game 7 between the Washington Capitals and the Montreal Canadians last night, then you missed the greatest upset in hockey history. I'm not exaggerating the magnitude of the upset either; it was definitively the biggest upset ever.
Until yesterday only seven #8 seeds have upset the #1 seed in the first round the NHL playoffs. Of those seven times, the greatest seed difference amongst the sixteen playoff teams each year was the 1st overall team losing to the 15th overall team. The greatest overall point difference was 29 points when the Edmonton Oilers upset the Detroit Red Wings in 2006. This upset captured both those records.
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What the Montreal Canadians did last night was to become the first ever #16 seed overall to beat a #1 seed. They were also the first ever #8 seed to come back from a 3-1 series deficit. Their point difference at the end of the regular season was 33 points (121-88), which is also the largest point difference ever. It still ceases to amaze me that hockey is still not on the radar enough that most people would not have known these things and the missed out on the experience to see something that may never happen again.
Hockeys had its ups and downs, no question about that, but any sporting event that has the chance to be historic should be presented to all of us for the chance to view it. Now this isn't saying that every outlet did a poor job of doing so. ESPN had it on the front page and displayed it prominently to make it known that it was the biggest game of the night, if not ever in hockey upset history. Radio shows, other networks, and most sports blog web sites didn't mention it. This was a series that had one of the most popular players with Alex Ovechkin and the hype just wasn't there. Maybe I'm at fault too; I didn't say one word about it. I knew about it, was excited about it especially being a Penguins fan and wanting Washington to lose, but I didn't write anything about it. Rarely do I even write about hockey. I'd like to write more, but it just seems to be a tough sport to cover in my eyes and in others. I don't know who is really to blame, but I think the Penn State Women's volleyball championship match got more publicity than this did. Is that a good or a bad thing? You be the judge.
I guess what surprises me the most about this is the fact that everyone claims to love the hockey playoffs, but we still hardly hear about them. I'm guessing you go up to 10 people on the street and ask them to name you all four second round match ups for the NHL playoffs and you'll be lucky if one gets it right. People claim that overtime playoff hockey is the most exciting overtime in all of sports and we've seen a good amount already during these playoffs and it still doesn't receive much hype.
The NHL playoffs have been great. There is no other sport that would ever give us the unpredictability that the #1, #2, and #3 seeds in one of the conferences could actually all lose in the same year. Maybe people just want the best teams to be there at the end. I'll take it this way; I'd rather have the upset excitement.
We're a nation of sports fans that love upsets and the NHL playoffs have given us that. Maybe you missed the greatest upset in NHL history yesterday, but at least I can try to do my part to try and get you to watch now. So far from what I've seen, you're in for a treat even if you just start watching now.