A couple of days after it happened, Nick Leddy still shakes his head at the way the Blackhawks' season ended.
"Words can't really describe it -- it's amazing," the young defenseman said of the Kings' game-winning goal in overtime Sunday. "It hits you in a weird spot and you think you kind of have it in front of you and to look back and see it in the net ... definitely didn't feel good.
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"There were bad bounces the whole game, but for that one to hit off me -- my wrist, then my side -- and then go in definitely didn't feel good."
The Central issue:
Other than returning to the Stanley Cup Final, there are only a handful of areas the Blackhawks need to improve upon next season.
One would definitely be winning their own division, something they didn't accomplish this year and paid the price for early in the postseason.
"It's a tough division, probably the toughest in the league," Patrick Kane said. "You look back at the year and say you would've wished you finished a little higher in the regular season so you don't have to face St. Louis in the first round.
"I think we should strive to win the division every year and that'll help us."
Sunday night's Game 7, featuring the last two Stanley Cup champions in an epic overtime battle, surpassed Game 7 of the 1996 Eastern Conference Final between the Florida Panthers and Pittsburgh Penguins (ESPN) as the most-watched non-Stanley Cup Final NHL playoff game on record with over 4.1 million viewers.
The game surpassed Game 3 of last year's Stanley Cup Final between the Blackhawks and Boston Bruins as the most-watched NHL game ever on NBCSN and the most-watched non-Olympic program ever on the network. It also had more viewers than USA-Russia game during the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
He said it:
"I've heard that. I think that guy has so much potential. He's proving that. This season he was unreal. This series he was one of our best players. This guy, you know, watch out for him. I think he's got a real bright future. He's an unreal hockey player."
-- Marian Hossa, on comparisons between him and Brandon Saad