Tampa – So does it end that way? With a frame-by-frame breakdown of a deadly goal, like Abraham Zapruder shooting from a haystack?
All the good times, all the memories, all the glory, do you want to raise your voice in collective anger? Is it possible that Lightning was finally done with a conspiracy of peace?
Let’s hope not.
Let’s hope the ever-vague complaint coach John Cooper hinted at in his brief postgame news conference on Wednesday night was just a disappointment for the man whose team may have run out of endless supplies tomorrow.
In Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, Tampa Bay lost 3-2 to Colorado in extra time, giving the Lightning a single defeat from the end of their career on the NHL.
This is the headline. That’s the news. That is the reality.
But the coming days could be filled with screengrabs, slow-motion videos, and madness complaints that Lightning missed a chance for a three-peat because the referee failed to blow the whistle when there were too many players on the ice in the avalanche. The last moment.
“You know, I’m part of some heartbreaking defeat and defeat,” Cooper said. “The group with which there are only quarrels, quarrels and quarrels. And they advanced to the third Stanley Cup final in a row. And in the cap era when it’s very hard and the rules are put against you because the league wants equality.
“And I love it about the league. And that’s what makes it hard… but it’s going to sting a lot more than the others… just because they were taking it… it was possible … I don’t know… it’s hard for me. I’m having a hard time speaking. I’ll talk to you (Thursday). When you see the winning goal, you will see what I mean. And my heart breaks for the players. Because we were still playing. ”
So has that actually happened?
Yes? Maybe? Possibly?
At least one version of the video shows Nazem Qadri jumping on the ice just seconds before Nathan McKinnon reaches the bench. Just as McKinnon was descending from the ice, so did Colorado’s players celebrate as Qadri scored the winning goal.
The official box score given by the league activists just moments before Cooper’s news conference was even more appalling. Each goal includes a list of players on the ice at the time it happened.
On Qadri’s goal, there is a list of seven players for the avalanche. Of course, that is more than allowed. The league then removed Eric Johnson’s number from the list of players on ice in its online box score and announced in the media workroom that Johnson was not on ice.
In fact, it was a weak response from the NHL.
Between the confusion in the initial box score, the visible video evidence, and the shock of the accusation against Cooper, the NHL should have quickly addressed the controversy.
Instead, after 1 p.m., the league finally issued a statement stating that the on-ice officer had not seen many men on the ice and that the play was not subject to video review.
But the statement basically leaves everyone hanging. The referees did not see many men on the ice, but the league never said whether the initial call was appropriate.
And so there is a cloud over their victory over the Avs, Lightning has bile in his throat and millions of fans have been amazed at what happened.
And this is a crying shame. Because it was a great game and it could have been a wonderful moment for two great teams.
And even though Lightning lost, this night was everything you always loved about this team. Skill, perseverance, selflessness and fearlessness.
And if this is to be the end – if this is the final match of the season at Amali Arena – it was a fitting message, even if the last moment ended in confusion.
If Lightning fell short of his third consecutive title, it wasn’t because of a lack of effort. The owner spent the money, the general manager traded deadlines and the players left their hearts on the ice.
At some point, we may have asked them a lot.
Getting this distance without Braden Point, your top scorer in the last two post seasons, is effective enough. Nikita Kucherov is also in pain and Nick Paul is not completely well.
And then, as Game 4 progressed, Lightning lost Eric Sernak. Anthony Cirelli also went down with a right hand injury and when he came back he could no longer take the faceoff.
“We’re grinding, we’re giving our all, it’s definitely not for lack of effort,” said captain Steven Stamkos. “As I said, this is a sacrifice at this time of year. No one else outside the dressing room knows. Sometimes you think you know, but you don’t. This time of year is challenging for both teams.
“You have people who are playing through a lot of things right now. The kids are just fighting and our group is going to fight. ”