Every year, 29 teams face disappointment.
The possibility of elimination becomes a reality for all but one team. You can break down stats, rosters, salary caps, or whatever it is you think is important, but you cannot determine a team's success, especially in the postseason.
The further your team advances, the stronger the blow is once they are eliminated. As a Sabres fan, seeing Buffalo get knocked off by the Bruins was tough, but not compared to the rest of the Eastern Conference.
I couldn't even begin to describe what it must feel like for Washington, Pittsburgh, or even New Jersey. Each of them were defeated in their own arena, leaving their fans stunned. With such high expectations, how are fans supposed to cope with a round one defeat?
What do you do when that moment creeps closer? The clock becomes the enemy, but time is running out too quickly. As the clock gets closer to zero, you begin thinking of how your team can pull off a comeback, but it's improbable.
Unless it's a one goal game, it's all over. Your faith dwindles down to nothing as the clock ticks down to zero. Then it hits you, like a Scott Nichol sucker punch from behind. That one moment that 29 teams face every season has arrived and the infamous saying "there's always next year" comes into play.
Soon, you will find yourself analyzing the team and why it wasn't good enough to advance further. Eventually you will get over it, but until then what are you supposed to do?
The true fans will stay and wait until their team leaves the ice before heading home. It's the bandwagon fans that will head for the exits before time runs out. Fans need to support their team, regardless of what has happened.
In Game Seven between Pittsburgh and Montreal, the Penguins fell behind 4-0, but fans were still on their feet attempting to rally their team. The support was recognized, and Sidney Crosby was quoted with saying:
"I will say one thing—the crowd, and the way that they responded down 4-0, was pretty incredible and I think we can all say thank you for that and appreciate it. That's the loudest I have ever heard it. It's not the way we wanted to finish here, but they should be proud in the way they supported us."
I want to hear your thoughts. What do you do after your team is defeated in the postseason? Let me know with a comment below.