The Tampa Bay Lightning’s impressive series streak is over, their attempt at a dynasty has fallen short, and the Colorado Avalanche are once again Stanley Cup champions, after a 20-year wait. After dropping a chance to win it at home in Game 5, the Avalanche claimed a record-tying 10th comeback win, taking Game 6 by a score of 2-1 in Tampa.
The Avalanche looked like the best team most of this season — and most of last season, too — so it’s fitting they finally put it together after all their ups and downs.
Big congratulations to former Islander Devon Toews, whose skill and mobility was a perfect fit to a fast and skilled team. Amazing season for his frequent partner Cale Makar, who adds two more massive pieces of hardware to his trophy case.
And a tip of the hat to the Lightning, who went farther in their dynasty chase — 11 consecutive series wins — than any franchise since the last actual NHL dynasty, that being the four consecutive Islanders Cups from 1980-83.
Many have tried. All have fallen short. None came closer than the Lightning to giving us another look at the impossible.
(Aside: In recounting their impressive ride this year last night, Jon Cooper remembered every opponent but the Rangers. Teehee.)
- It’s Pride Month, so here’s the story of a happy couple who met 40 years ago at the Islanders game. Still in love, “all because of the damn hockey and the Islanders.” [Isles]
- The NHL Draft is next month, and here’s a classic story of Duane Sutter’s draft day, when he almost missed the call to the Sutter farm from Bill Torrey. [Isles]
- Brendan Burke’s resume expands: He’ll fill in for John Sterling on five Yankees (that’s a local American League baseball team) broadcasts in July. [Newsday]
- With Barry Trotz pulling himself from consideration to take a coaching gig this season, where do his home province Jets turn next? [Sportsnet]
Stanley Cup & Elsewhere
- A game-by-game recap of the Avalanche run, which included only four losses. [NHL]
- Whenever a team wins the Stanley Cup, the “what did we learn?” question emerges. For Gabriel Landeskog in the on-ice post-game, it was simply “Get yourself a Cale Makar.” But with those in short supply, maybe it’s “the NHL will embrace offense as a route to the Cup.” [Sportsnet]
- Cale Makar adds Conn Smythe (and Stanley Cup) to his hardware that already includes Norris and Hobey Baker, etc. [TSN | NHL]
- The NHL reports growth in fandom and viewership from women and young people, and says the U.S. broadcast partnership with TNT and ESPN/ABC is going well. [TSN]
- Draft Profile: Late bloomer Nate Schaefer of WHL Seattle has gotten a lot of attention. [TSN]
And now, the NHL offseason begins. Both the draft (July 7-8) and free agency (July 13) are pushed back to July due to the late 2021-22 schedule, but they’re right around the corner. Here we go...!