The feeling of smug self satisfaction when a hated division rival is eliminated from the post-season is nearly unsurpassable, even when your team failed to make the playoffs altogether (and not without a little help from the team in question).
We gather here today to remember the 2009-10 Colorado Avalanche, who were eliminated from the post-season in six games by the San Jose Sharks last night. May they rest in peace.
After finishing 28th in the league last season, witnessing the retirement of Joe Sakic, and being awarded the third overall pick in last year's draft, you were expected to languish at the bottom of the Western Conference once again this season. That was until you slapped together a team of unproven rookies, barely out of high school teens unable to legally consume alcohol in most states, and the picked-over remnants of 2009's free agent pool that caught lightning in a bottle and rocketed up the standings like something out of a Mighty Ducks movie, surely inspiring jealousy within Oilers management and around the league.
Your penchant for timely goals, strategically placed shinpads, and probability-defying saves aggravated opponents that outshot and out-chanced you on a regular basis and bred resentment amongst fans of teams that ran into lengthy bouts of hard luck while your ability to defy the odds and refusal to regress to the mean until the dying days of the regular season baffled the more statistically inclined amongst us. That's not to say you weren't skilled--your surplus of goal scorers allowed you to trade away leading scorer at the time and noted Flame killer Wojtek Wolski to the up-and-coming Coyotes. Though even when the playoffs began, you proved you still had the blessing of Lady Luck on your side, for a few games at least, and it looked like you might just be able to best the top-seeded Sharks. Alas, Dan Boyle could only score in his own net so many times, and San Jose's territorial dominance prevailed. Your percentages normalized, the fatigue of a long-time backup goalie who started a whopping 71 games during the regular season began to show, and the majority of the hockey world that wasn't fooled by your feel-good story toasted to your long-awaited demise.
I'd like to close out this eulogy with a haiku, if I may:
Avs ousted in six
Lucky little punks. Enjoy
Your first round draft pick.
I got nothing. One division rival down, one to go. See you next season losers.