So this is how Blackhawks-Red Wings will end. With a Game 7 for the right to play the defending Stanley Cup champions in the conference finals. It feels right.
Sure, it’s not as if one of these teams is relocating or being contracted or something. And they’ll still find each other on the schedule every year, albeit less frequently. But rivalries are fueled by the playoffs. It’s why if you were to ask anyone under the age of 15 who the Blackhawks’ nemesis is, they would answer (correctly) “the Canucks.” After tonight, the only postseason meeting that could occur would be in the Finals, and while that would assuredly be amazing, it is just as assuredly unlikely.
I’ve made my peace with it. Sure, it’s kind of weak to be the only Original Six team out west, but the realignment is what’s best for the league, and I would rather have a healthy NHL that can more effectively negotiate broadcast deals and avoid work stoppages. And as we’ve seen with the aforementioned Canucks, new rivalries can be just as fun and heated as the old ones.
But that’s for tomorrow. Tonight, there is Game 7. And it is glorious.
(Hey, seriously, if this game goes into OT, I might die, so thanks for reading and all that.)