NHL playoffs, you done good

Former Islander Brent Sopel and family enjoy the moment of every fan's dreams.

I've mentioned before how the NHL playoffs are like a drug to me. It's a different kind of rush (and stomach-churning anxiety) if my team is in it, but even when I have no rooting interest I can't escape the thrill of four rounds of do-or-die best-of-seven series in the best league of the most riveting sport on earth. The thought that you can play seven games -- a fair number, to be sure -- and still end up with the "best" team losing adds to the allure.

It starts with the chaos of eight series overlapping in the first round, narrows to a two-series focus in the semis, and then comes to a rousing yet anticlimactic halt with the hoisting of the Cup. The best moment of the year is also the year's final scoop of dirt on its grave. It's bittersweet. A bunch of people in Chicago are celebrating, a bunch more around the league can no longer distract themselves from the question of, "Now what?"

Anyway, CBC's 2010 playoff montage (below) captures these feelings perfectly.

It helps that I like the song (Smashing Pumpkins' "Tonight, Tonight"), but it's a great four-minute tour through the drama and the characters of the last two months, some of whom I'd already forgotten...

I chuckled at seeing some of the first-round victims -- there's Buffalo, there's Colorado, look at that New Jersey -- because it seems so long ago now, their stories faded from memory. And there are the Canucks, in the brief moment when it looked like it could be them and not Chicago. That's the other thing about the playoffs: It's "only" two months, but the intensity and the drama make it feel like an eternity. Every single playoff win for your team -- there can only be 16, and that's only if you're extremely lucky -- feels like a new baby; every series win feels like you've won the lottery. Yet those feelings can disappear in an instant.

Just thought this video should be preserved here in our fair corner of the Web. By God, this game really has its hooks in me. The vast majority of us are here to discuss the Islanders, but I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who has come around to share thoughts on the playoffs and your reasons for loving this game.

Islanders fans, we'll get to be in that video sometime soon. (How long we last, how far we go -- well that's as uncertain as the team's venue in 2015). But now formally begins the season of "Now what?", where Garth and the gang continue the work of getting us there.

"The impossible is possible tonight, tonight."

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