First of all, ho-ho-hollllly shit. What a series. Probably the best of the first round. I'm not positive, but I think I just watched an unlikely rivalry develop between Washington D.C. and Long Island over the course of two weeks. No matter what side you are on some more hatred between franchises is exactly what the NHL needs. Unbelievably physical, unbelievably close games. While the series could have gone either way, it's safe to say that the better team won. The Capitals absolutely dominated game seven, and despite my rooting interest are worthy of their appearance in the second round. With that said, every fan of hockey, that doesn't reside in Washington D.C., just missed out on a golden opportunity that has been 20+ years in the making. A Rangers/Islanders playoff series.
You thought a Capitals/Islanders series produced a lot of animosity? An all New York Eastern Conference semi-final would have made the Isareli/Palestinian conflict look like friendly fire. I was pretty critical about the new playoff format when it was first developed. For as awesome as it would have been for the new playoff system to force a civil war in New York, it's just as nauseating that we have to be subjected to a Rangers/ Capitals series ...AGAIN. I'm not even joking. despite how good the hockey may be, I may not even tune it for a single minute of that series. I just can't watch those two teams play again. I'm done. I am oversaturated. If I have to hear about the Ovechkin/Lundqvist dynamic for more than two minutes I might Van Gogh myself. In contrast, I would have been completely engulfed by an Islanders/Rangers series. I would have paid more attention during that than my last STD test.
I suppose it's a bit hypocritical of me. The new playoff format would have been responsible for an all New York series and all would have been well, at least for me. On the other hand, the very same playoff format is responsible for me being subjected to, what feels like, the same series I have seen every year for the last ten years. All matchups aside, I think it's better that rivalries manifest themselves organically in the playoffs. After all, the best part of series that feature bad blood is the novelty of them. I think an annual occurrence forces them to lose their luster. I understand the NHL's attempt to build their brand, and I better get used to it because it's not changing anytime soon. However, at the end of the day, we are all losers for not getting to see one of the best rivalries in hockey take it's true shape over the course of a week or two of playoff hockey.