I don't want Michelle to win in SLC because she would've (likely) retired afterwards, not getting that fifth World title. And we wouldn't have gotten Concierto de Aranjuez or Tosca. Maybe I'm the only one (no wait, I think Mathman also likes Tosca ), but I adored these later performances. Also, I wanted to see Michelle become three-time Olympic medallist. I wanted her to make it to Torino and medal, regardless of colour. But as the saying goes, you can't always get what you want...
For me, "winning by default" happens when everyone makes major errors, including the winner--the winner just happened to make fewer mistakes. Think Alexei Yagudin at 1998 Worlds (he didn't even win the long program--Eldridge knocked himself out by bombing the short). If everyone else goes down and you skate well, I don't think that's an undeserving or underwhelming win. I mean, was Shen/Zhao's win not incredible, even if they weren't at their peak in 2010? If Michelle skated in Torino with the same fire and attack as she did at 2004 Nationals, she would've been a very worthy champion, imo (and saved a night of messy skating to boot).
If only she'd fixed her hip earlier... I know the hip isn't what ultimately knocked her out, but I suspect it made her more injury-prone, which culminated in Torino.