Second post-mortem post in a row. Second series loss endured by PK Subban and Ben Maxwell in the last three days. I'd pile on the vodka except there's a little too much Motrin in my system at the moment.
The Hamilton Bulldogs had thrown more than double the shots on net than the Texas Stars could muster against them, but fell victim to four unanswered goals and missed the chance to repeat 2007's exploits against Hershey in the Calder Cup Finals, losing Game 7 by a score of 4-2.
For now we'll talk about the 31 franchise records that were made on the way to this loss and the 52-17-3-8 record that few expected with a rookie coach behind the bench, constant callups, injuries, and other threats to team chemistry. Much like its parent in the NHL, this team wasn't supposed to be where it was. By the looks of all the newcomers and the number of potential and eventual graduates, it was en route to maybe pushing the 40-win mark, and even that would have been deemed respectable. But they went above and beyond, bringing new faces and even newer prospects to the Conference Finals of the AHL, and each of these made their own mark on the franchise (which quite frankly is really all Guy Boucher asks for from his players). Two goaltenders with both the talent and the experience saved and stole games for the Bulldogs, the defense corps shattered offensive records while providing a mainstay on the blueline, while the "never make it"s and the "too short"s collaborated to burn out those red lights behind opposing goaltenders much like you'd see in that Vapor commercial.
I'll admit I had a selfish want in following this team's playoff run: getting the opportunity to follow two successive Guy Boucher league titles. But the Blue Jackets (among others) are already drooling and it's not because he didn't make it to the final dance. It's for all that stuff that happened way before that opportunity could have even been thought of. Much can be the same for every member of the Hamilton Bulldogs: each of them gets to come out of this a little bit older, a little bit wiser, and a lot more confident and hungry for the next time. Pretty attractive stuff.