If you can’t do math, and I usually can’t, hockey at its best is narrative. Inspiring, frustrating narrative.
With that in mind I have to wish that if there are hockey Gods (and I suspect there are, as I have seen them giving me the finger out of the corner of my eye for many of the last 15 years or so) they have a better ending in mind than the one we saw last night. I sincerely hope they are going to give us the chance to see Daniel Alfredsson play one last time at SBP. We’re owed a real goodbye.
He might not retire this summer, it’s true. But if he does it doesn’t seem fair that his story concludes with a blowout, and saying the honest (but not “right”) things in the post-game scrums.
Don’t get me wrong, in a season built on lucky bounces, unexpected performances and good (even unsustainably good) goaltending, I think we all expected it could end like this. We knew that the sleeping giant might eventually wake up, look quizzically down upon whatever was poking him in the ribs and then absent-mindedly stomp it to a #pesky pulp. On paper, these Sens don’t deserve a better outcome but the blowout finish is not the conclusion this season’s story deserves. It’s not the one we Sens fans deserve, even if its the one history has taught us to expect. The better narrative has the Sens going down fighting in a close, but foregone conclusion of a Game 6 in front of the home crowd. The better story ends with the captain doing a farewell lap to a prolonged standing ovation before he brings out the inevitable clichés: “We gave everything we had and lost to a better team.” “We can really be proud of what we accomplished this year.” And then the dagger we all knew was coming “I’m thinking it over, but I think this may have been my last game.”
So, that’s what I’m hoping for in game five. Not a turnaround, not a momentum shift, just a delay of the inevitable. One more extra, mostly-undeserved chapter before the end of the story.