In the end, they just weren't quite good enough.
We'll have plenty of time to dissect what went right and wrong for the Wings this year. Hell, we've got months before we need to start looking at what the Wings need to do to get even better. Right now is a time for gentle reflection.
This team was better than expected. Their own GM thought they might not make the playoffs. They struggled out of the gate. With a week left in the season it looked like they might not make the playoffs. And they just lost to probably the best team in hockey in overtime of Game 7 in a series in which everyone thought they'd be swept.
To the Blackhawks, kudos on a hell of a series. That's a damn good team over there, and it was not without reason that people picked them to win this series handily. Personally, I think falling behind to the Wings will give them the confidence to overcome anything, and I fully expect them to win the Cup. That's not a reverse jinx; they're really that good.
To the Wings, all I can say is I'm damn proud of you and how you came through at the end. You came up a little short but it wasn't without effort and will and talent and all the things that made you exciting to watch. I feel infinitely better about the future of this team after witnessing the last month of the season and this unexpected playoff run, and I can't wait to see what changes will be made to make this team even better.
That was the last playoff game the Wings will play as a member of the Western Conference. They left it with their heads high after putting up a hell of a fight against a great team. The East should be very scared.
The season is over, but it was a fun ride. Tonight is for celebrating what they accomplished, not regretting what they missed out on.
Let's Go Red Wings. Clap, clap, clap-clap-clap.