The Stanley Cup playoffs are an exciting, interesting time… for the fans of 16 NHL teams.  For fans of the other 14 teams, this time of year is reserved for coming to terms with the end of your favourite team’s season.  This can be tough to do.  You’ve rode with this team for the past seven months, celebrating the highs and dealing with the lows.  You’ve spent hours upon hours dedicated to the hopes and dreams of your favourite franchise.  And now, suddenly, it’s over.

Well, for some teams it didn’t end all that suddenly.  There are a few NHL teams (we’re looking at you Edmonton and friends) that never really had the chance to dream.  They were seemingly eliminated from playoff contention back in October.  You’ve likely already dealt with that fact and moved on with your life.

For fans of teams like Calgary and Toronto who just had their playoff dreams snuffed out, we’ve put together a few suggestions for how to deal with the sudden loss.

Cry

It’s okay.  Even if you’re a “real man,” your team being eliminated from postseason contention is one of those times when it’s okay to cry.  It’s right up there with watching a classic car get destroyed and showing up at the beer store two minutes after closing time right before May 24 weekend.

Somewhat ironically, crying is also considered acceptable if your team finally wins the Stanley Cup after years of struggling, but you’ll have to worry less about that ever happening.

Pretend You Don’t Care

It’s a universal way to move on with your life: Pretend that no one really cares about the thing your team just lost at.  Sure, people may look at you funny when you say “Pfft, the Stanley Cup is stupid anyway,” but it will make you feel better and that’s what this process is all about.  You could also try the “I knew they’d never make it” approach and start heckling other fans of the same team for having the audacity to believe.  Who do they think they are anyway?

Blame Someone

This almost always works.  If your team is out of the playoffs, there’s got to be someone you can blame for this failure.  Maybe it’s the goaltender who missed a routine save or the defenseman who couldn’t clear the puck from the zone.  Perhaps it’s the coaching staff for assembling an awful power play or for just not inspiring the team when it mattered.  Maybe you can blame the entire organization for not creating a culture of winning.  That’s a good one.

Whoever it is, blame this person or group like there’s no tomorrow.  They’re the reason you’re feeling down right now and you should unleash your rant against them on every friend, relative, co-worker and Internet forum you can find!

This works even better if there’s a highly-paid player on your team who underachieved this year and even better if that player is about to become a UFA.  Ship him out of town!  If he’s not going to be a UFA, “Trade the bum!” works as well.

Start Watching Another Sport

Hey, baseball just started up!  That’s the sport you really care about, right?  No?  Well it is now!  The best part about baseball at this time of the year is that it’s still very early in the season, so very few hearts have been broken yet.  Latch onto a baseball team and put your heart and soul into supporting them.  If they fail miserably and don’t make the postseason, you know what starts up again in October, right?

Repeat the cycle until you either finally claim victory or die with your dreams unfulfilled, whichever comes first.

Jump On A Bandwagon

Sure, you love your team, your players and your traditions, but you also love eating chips while watching guys on television be athletic.  That necessitates finding another team to support.  Pick a team out of the 16 that did qualify and hop on their bandwagon.  Sure, this could leave you broken hearted once again, but at least you’ll get to watch a minimum of four-to-seven more games before  you have to go outside.

However you chose to mourn the end of your team’s season, we hope you cope well with the disappointment and that you’ll be back again next year ready for this whole crazy process once more!

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