I had the sense Charlotte would be a serious mismatch for the Penguins when this series was set, and that ended up being the case. The Checkers completed the three-game sweep on Thursday at Mohegan Sun Arena, pulling away from the Penguins in a 7-3 win.

And in a stroke of irony, my laptop finally met its end shortly after the game. Good thing I’ve had all season to hone that typing speed.

Charlotte is that good and that deep on all four lines. I would say it is definitely the favorite to get out of the Atlantic, and then that likely matchup with Toronto is something to salivate over.

From a hockey perspective, I know the sting of another loss doesn’t get any easier. Even after experiencing it for 16 straight years. But try to keep in mind the good things that came out of this season: Zach Aston-Reese and Dominik Simon blossomed as players and are now fighting for the Stanley Cup. Daniel Sprong, despite the ups and downs, showed definite improvement by season’s end and is on his way to reaching the next level. Captain Tom Kostopoulos was able to walk away from the game on his own terms, and Christian Thomas was able to play in the Olympics.

I’m admittedly biased, having been behind the scenes for it all, but it made this season one I will never forget.

On that note, I have two words for all of you that have put up with my dry humor on Twitter and read my onslaught of content this year. Actually, let’s make it 10 words.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!

My favorite moments throughout the season were our interactions, whether it be a question about practice, a small note of encouragement for a story or even just a short vent about the latest power-play dry spell.  I knew I had gigantic shoes to fill when I started during the summer, and I tried my best to carve my own niche into that legacy as a rookie. With the team playing its 20th season next year, I’m planning to take my game up a notch as well.

A special shoutout to my former colleague Seth Lakso, whose legacy continues to live on with his appearance during the second intermission. Your belief in me made the past season and a half a reality.

When I was in my second year of college and dealing with a soul-crushing editorial staff at the school paper, I actually questioned whether or not I was taking the right career path. The past eight or so months were a daily reminder of just how damn fun covering sports can be. Especially when it’s the team you grew up watching in the community where you’ve lived for most of your life.

I’m not lying when I say I will truly miss our banter until next season rolls around. So, please don’t hesitate to shoot me a tweet or email.

In the meantime, keep the faith. You will get a cup someday.

Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.

Catch you guys back here real soon!