"...there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs, and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine."
Where do I begin. Where do I even begin to begin?
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I'm hoping that a video might be worth a few hundred, at least.
That's Jack Johnson being named first star of the game. That's 19,000 fans who screamed their heads off for so, so long - and better than a quarter of that crowd, at least, stayed to watch the Minnesota / Colorado game on the jumbotron afterwards until that bittersweet end.
Full credit to Chris Mason, who was insane tonight - though we like to bitch about "where was that against Detroit?", the fact is that he and the rest of the Predators could have simply laid down. What did they have to play for? If anything, a win would have badly hurt their draft odds.
Instead, they came out and gave a hard effort, highlighted by an incredible goaltending performance that simply couldn't hold up under some truly ridiculous pressure.
Such a ride. Such an incredible, amazing, heartstopping, insane ride.
Thank you, Bob.
Thank you, Dubi.
Thank you, JMFJ.
Thank you, Cam.
Thank you, Shea Weber (though Nashville fans should give him a bit of a break - if he hadn't tapped it past Mason, Brandon Dubinsky was right there and likely would have done it instead.)
Thank you, JD.
Thank you, Jarmo.
Thank you, J.P. Mac.
Thank you, Scott Howson. (Yes. Seriously. Think about the guys who made this run so incredible. Howson had a hand in acquiring or drafting nearly every one.)
Thank you, Columbus fans. Nationwide was roaring tonight, and after that second goal...wow. You couldn't even hear the goal horn for all the cheering, let alone anything else. What an amazing atmosphere.
Tonight feels like a sea change for this team. Even though they were undone by circumstances beyond their control, we saw something today. It feels like this team really has become something greater than the sum of their parts, and something truly special is coming together here.
I said this on Twitter, but I want to say it again here: No matter what else, tonight was amazing, this month was amazing, and the fans in Columbus are amazing. Embrace that. Nobody can take it from you, no matter what happens.
Now, we see what happens on Monday with the draft lottery. The Jackets have something like one percent odds of hitting the #1 pick.
Given what we saw this season? I like those odds.
This is going to be a fascinating summer, and a lot of very interesting things are in the air. Realignment, the draft, free agency, the captaincy, and much, much more.
Here's to the future. May it all burn bright.