It seems only fitting that, as we near the two year anniversary of this blog that no one reads on WordPress, that I get to write a similar post to my first one on this site. It’s still one of the best things I’ve ever written. We came so close to another one last year, but this year we get another one.
Yes, that’s right, the Chicago Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup for the third time in six seasons. Stand and be amazed. Honestly, you should. I’m still stunned. I can’t believe they did it. With each Cup they’ve won, I’ve been more surprised that they could do it. I expected them to win the Cup in 2010, so that was no surprise. If you read my blog in 2013, you’d know why I didn’t think they’d win the Cup despite them having the incredible streak during the regular season and having won the President’s Trophy. This year I didn’t expect them to make it out of the second round alive before the playoffs started. Maybe not even the first. I had some valid questions in 2013, I had serious doubts this year – just for comparison’s sake. Of course, a lot of a team’s chances to win come down to the teams they end up playing, but we’ll get to that later on. (This blog will be filled with celebration, frustration, and rants – because no matter how happy I am about this, there are several rants that must happen. It wouldn’t be fun otherwise. You may not like me after one of them, but I’ve been left no choice other than to do it.)
Words cannot describe how disappointed last season made me. I was disappointed by that loss all summer. They only needed one more goal to beat the Kings and they couldn’t do it. And they loss to a random fluke goal too, which sucks. They were down 3-1 in that series and fought back to force game 7, had a two goal lead two, maybe three times in game 7 at home but gave those leads up before the OT. I didn’t watch that game live because I was at a live WWE PPV at the time. I kept up with the score but that’s about it. The OT started around the time I got out of the arena. I was sitting on a bus when I saw that they lost. I still haven’t watched the highlights of that game, outside of the bullshit OT goal. There’s no question that the Hawks would have won the Cup had they just won that game. They’d have killed the Rangers just like the Kings did. And Kings fans acted like it was some big accomplishment that they beat the Hawks, like it made them so much better than the Hawks. NEWS FLASH. You won the series by ONE GOAL. A FLUKY ONE AT THAT. The Kings’ win was by luck.
The main thing that killed the Hawks’ playoff run last year was their fantastic ability to give up the lead. If they had a two or three goal lead before the halfway point you could be almost sure they would lose it. Or if they didn’t lose it, they’d come awfully close to it. Just like if they were down by 2 before halfway through, you could be pretty sure they’d tie the game. But this is definitely what came back to bite them against the Kings, because they gave up a lead in game 2 and lost by four and gave up the lead so many times in game 7 and that’s what cost them. The earlier you get a lead in the game, the worse it is.
Coming into this season, the Hawks only made a few changes to the roster. They sent Nick Leddy to the Islanders for no good reason and Handzus retired. Brad Richards was signed for 2 million for one year and that ended up being a good move, no matter what anyone else might tell you. He’s a definite improvement to Handzus for cheap. Dan Carcillo came back because reasons.
I’ve spent so much time over the past few weeks focused on the playoffs so much that now I need to remind myself of events of the regular season. The word that describes the regular season best is probably frustration. The Hawks basically went into the regular season with four defensemen since Leddy was gone. (Versteeg should’ve been gone, or Bickell. Ok no one’s going to take Bickell.) And the Hawks’ fantastic ability to lose a lead followed them into this season. And it never went away.
The Hawks opened the season with a shootout win over the Stars, and then what seems like a slaughter of the Sabres at 6-2. But I remember they went up 2-0 in the first few minutes and gave up that lead before they got most of those goals in the third. A boring 2-1 OT loss to the Flames was followed by a boring 2-1 OT win over the Preds, when Toews won with a SHG. Finally the Hawks seemed to get their bearings when they beat the Flyers 4-0, until they lost the next two 3-2 to the Preds (giving James Neal a hat trick and giving people another annoying excuse to say “The Real Deal” James Neal) and 3-2 to the Blues. Backup goalie Scott Darling would make his NHL debut against the Senators in a 2-1 win and he looked good. The Ducks beat the Hawks 1-0 before the Hawks would win an absolutely ridiculous game in a shootout against the Senators 5-4, again with Darling in net. This game was noteworthy as Hossa scored his 1000th point.
November started off poorly as the Hawks lost to the lowly Maple Leafs and then lost 1-0 to the Jets on a goal that happened 16 seconds into the game and that was it, after they couldn’t score any goals against rookie goalie Michael Hutchison. The Hawks have a tendency to make nobody goalies look like gold. Then, another game where the Hawks seemed to turn the corner, a 5-0 win against Montreal in Montreal – Crawford shutting out is hometown team. The only negative is that Patrick Sharp was injured and was out for a while. But then the next game the Hawks had a 2 goal lead against the Caps and lost 3-2. A 5-2 win against the Sharks followed but that game I’ve completely forgotten – I forgot that one happened two months later and I was wondering when the home game vs the Sharks was. The only game I went to this season was a 3-2 shootout win over the Lightning which I remember being annoyed that it needed to be a shootout. A terrible 4-1 loss to the Red Wings followed before the Hawks killed the Stars 6-2. They beat the Flames 4-3 in another game they couldn’t keep the lead – they were up by 2, then it was tied, then they scored, only for it to get tied up again, before they finally were able to keep a lead. They killed the Oilers because Oilers, before losing terribly to the Canucks because someone got a hat trick. The rest of November started the only big winning streak the Hawks got all season. 3-2 over Colorado, 4-1 over Anaheim in one of their best games of the season, and 4-1 over the Kings in LA.
December was clearly the best month of the season. The winning streak went five more games- 4-1 over the Blues, 4-3 over the Canadiens on a last minute Brandon Saad goal (Also Roszival scored so lol), 3-1 over the Preds, 3-2 SO over the Devils which should’ve been easier because of their rookie goalie, and 3-2 over the Bruins. Corey Crawford had an off-ice injury somewhere in this month because he fell at a Rise Against concert, so Darling started a lot of games. The winning steak ended against the Islanders when a 2-1 Hawks lead in the third suddenly became a 3-2 Isles lead in a minute. A boring win over the Flames was followed with a ridiculous win over the Wild, when the Hawks would score three in the second to make it 3-1, just to lose the lead in the third, but Kane would then score to get it back. Crawford would return for a 3-2 shootout loss to the Blue Jackets. Then the Hawks would shutout the Maple Leafs 4-0 on a night when they’d found one of their equipment managers, Clint Reif, dead in his home. You’d think that would turn things around, but then they were killed by the Jets 5-1 at home. The Jets would prove to be the bane of their season for a while. A 5-2 win over the Avalanche was followed by a ridiculous 5-4 SO win over the Preds. The Preds would go up by 3 eight minutes into second, but the Hawks would tie the game with three straight goals after ten more minutes. (It’s not the only time the Preds would give up three goal leads against the Hawks.) But the Preds would get the lead back a minute later. Bickell tied it back up with a minute left in the game, and then they won in a shooutout. That’s the kind of win that turns things around, right?
January was bad. Another 3-2 loss to the Capitals in the Winter Classic also saw Kris Versteeg get injured. Another ridiculous 5-4 OT win over the Stars where the Hawks couldn’t seem to keep the game tied. The Stars would score, and the Hawks tied it, and then it was 2-1 and the Hawks tied it immediately, just for the Stars to make it 3-2 immediately. The Hawks tied it before the second, only for the Stars to make it 4-3 in the third. With four minutes left Brad Richards would whack the puck towards the net from the goal line and tied it, and I remember stating that it was ridiculous. Sharp won it a minute into OT. A 2-0 loss to the Avs where they let up 2 within a minute into the game and Varlamov stopped 54 shots was bogus. A 4-2 win over the Wild was followed by a 5-2 loss to the Oilers. (THAT GAME DIDN’T HAPPEN.) Another 4-1 win over the Wild was followed by a 4-2 loss to the Jets again. And then a 6-3 loss to the Stars, which the Hawks had tied at 2 and then 3 before losing. The Hawks killed the Coyotes 6-1 and beat the Penguins 3-2 in a shootout – another win that I felt would turn it around for them. Then a 4-3 loss to the Kings where they were up 3-2 in the third. But then another 4-1 win over Anaheim in another one of their best games of the season, as the Ducks were one of the best in the league. They played two nearly perfect games against the Ducks IN Anaheim and won convincingly. And then a 2-0 loss to the Sharks which was basically 1-0 5 minutes in and that was it.
February started with an absolutely terrible 3-0 loss to the Wild where they were completely outplayed. But then the Hawks would finally beat the Jets 2-1 in OT and then beat the Blues 4-2 in what was a great game. I thought that would turn them around, but then they lost 3-2 in a shootout to the Coyotes – but I remember they were absolutely robbed of an OT win in that game because a clear goal was waved off. The Canucks beat the Hawks 5-4 in OT when the Hawks were down 4-2 with 5 minutes left, tied it with 55 seconds left, then lost in OT because Roszival was on the ice in OT. A 3-1 win over the Devils was followed by a 2-1 SO win over the Penguins. They lost 3-2 to the Red Wings in a shootout in a very good game that could’ve went either way. Then a 4-1 loss to the Avs was followed by an absolute shitfest against the Bruins, losing 6-1. And after that, a 3-2 win over the Panthers meant nothing when Patrick Kane was injured and projected to be unable to come back until a potential Conference Final. Once that happened, I thought it was over. The way the season was going, I already didn’t think they could win the Cup. Without Patrick Kane it was basically a guarantee. It allowed them to what turned out to be an acceptable trade for Antoine Vermette, and signing Kimmo Timonen, which made no sense. A 3-0 win over the Panthers after the bullshit rumor of the Hawks fighting in the locker room earlier in the day because some dumbasses decided to pretend Patrick Kane slept with Patrick Sharp’s wife or something – a rumor that seemingly followed them for a while despite every Hawks fans knew that was bullshit. And then a 4-0 loss to the Lightning ended the month.
March seemed to turn things around for a bit. A 5-2 win over the Hurricanes was followed what seemed like a heist, stealing those two points from those Oilers in a 2-1 SO win which was a terrible game. A great game against the Rangers ended up in a 1-0 OT loss. A 2-1 win over the Coyotes was followed with a 6-2 win over the Sharks and a very good, 4-1 win over the Islanders. The Hawks repaid the Rangers with a 1-0 shutout in NY, but then they were shutout by the Stars 4-0. A 3-1 win over the Hurricanes was followed by a bad 4-1 loss to the Flyers which pissed me off and then a 5-2 loss to the Blue Jackets. A 4-3 win over the Jets (Hurray) was followed with a 4-1 win over the Kings.
The Hawks beat the Canucks 3-1 and pulled out a heist, robbing those lowly Sabres of some points after being up 2-0, then going down 3-2 in the third, IN Buffalo where the crowd was mad the Sabres were winning because they were tanking for McDavid (AND FAILED BECAUSE OILERS), then Toews scored two goals in the last two minutes to get the lead back. Then they lost the rest of the remaining games in the season 2-1, twice to the Blues and once to the Wild, and a 3-2 loss to the Avs to end it.
48-28-6 was enough for third in the division for the second season in a row. Now, having read ALL of that, you can’t be surprised why I had serious doubts going about the Hawks’ ability to win the Cup. Nothing about that regular season was fun. I was depressed and with the Kane injury I was wondering what the point of this season was, and their defense was bad since they only had three really good ones and one decent one, and then there was Roszival and and Timonen; Andrew Shaw can’t stop himself from taking bad penalties, and Bryan Bickell is worthless. Patrick Kane would come back at the start of the playoffs because voodoo, wizardry, and bullshit, but he wouldn’t be able to fix those things.
A lot of how the playoffs turn out, though, is who you play. Sometimes things look bleak but then, as things happen in the NHL, things go a completely different way than you expect. In some cases, St. Louis overtakes Nashville for the first spot in the division, so you don’t have to face the Blues in the first round. And you get the Preds, whom, while difficult, you’ve beaten three of four times this season – and they’re cooling off closer to the end of the season which is what allowed the Blues to pass them. Sometimes the Kings, the defending Stanley Cup Champions, blow it and don’t make the playoffs.
The first round against the Nashville Predators was unpleasant, like most of these series were. But this series was more annoying because of the unwashed, unwanted group of Hawks “fans” that are called Corey Crawford haters. The Hawks went down by three goals in game one in the first period, which comes as no surprise to people who are actually paying attention. Darling came in for period two and the Hawks fought back to tie the game before the period was over, after goals from I believe Hjalmarsson, Sharp, and Toews. Duncan Keith would score in the second overtime to give the Hawks the win, but not until after he got away with a trip in the first OT. Game 2 was a shitfest, 6-2 loss, with Crawford back in net for the whole game. The Crawford haters will tell you that he let up 9 goals in 4 periods. The intelligent hockey fans will tell you that only 3 of them were his fault, and only 1 of them mattered. The first goal was Roszival’s fault for going left instead of right. Goal 2 was borderline goalie interference that can’t be called because he was behind the net. Goal 3 was a PPG. Goal 4 was a PPG. Goal 5 he was screened. Goal 6 is probably on him. Goal 7 bounced off Keith’s stick. Goals 8 and 9 are definitely on him, but neither of them mattered because they were already down by two so they don’t matter. 9 goals. Only one significant goal he should probably have stopped but it was also debatable.
So, Crawford haters, explain that. Explain how everything is Crawford’s fault when almost none of it was. GOALS ARE NOT THE GOALIES FAULT MOST OF THE TIME. IF YOU ARE A HOCKEY FAN, YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS. But you aren’t hockey fans, are you? You’re sports fans that are hovering around the Blackhawks because they’re good and they’re winning and that’s all you care about but if they start to lose you’ll disappear. You’re the same idiots that will blame everything that happens in football on the quarterback (although that’s a little more legitimate) or in baseball on the pitcher. You really aren’t intelligent. You’re scum and belong in the fanbase of the Oilers and Sabres. If you’re a fan of this team, you don’t spend your life complaining about its goalie. You support them. You want them to win, right? So stop bitching and start supporting. You can’t support them by being negative. You are a joke. Corey Crawford as infinitely better at what he does than you are at what you do. And he’s better than you. And he’s got two Stanley Cups. What do you have? A pathetic little mind? Go watch Cristobal Huet if you want a bad Hawks goalie. You, Corey Crawford haters, are tied for being the worst groups of people alive. (You are tied with: A.J. Lee haters, Republicans, and religious psychopaths. Those last two are redundant but it is what it is. I really wouldn’t want to see what a religious psychopath republican that hates Corey Crawford and A.J. Lee looks like.) Do us all a favor and euthanize yourselves.
Games 3 and 4 (and the rest of the series) saw Scott Darling start despite Crawford not having deserved the pull, and he played well. The Hawks would win game 3 4-2, after seeing two one goal leads evaporate moments later, but finally two more goals in the second would hold up. Game 4 went into a third overtime tied at 2, until Seabrook scored (Who else?) a minute into the period to put the Hawks up 3-1. The series was basically over, it was just a matter of time. The Hawks wouldn’t lose 3 straight. Game 5 saw a stretch of around ten minutes without a whistle, and a 1-1 tie going into the third, until the Preds got three quick goals in the third to take the game 4-2. I didn’t expect them to win game 5, but they always seem to make a habit of leaving themselves the chance to win before losing, just to annoy you. Game 6 started badly, even though I knew they’d win. (Because they basically never lose game 6’s.) The Preds went up 2-0, and then 3-1. Darling was pulled and Crawford was back in. (Which is good because if they were going to win the Cup it was going to be with Crawford. That’s not to say these three goals were Darling’s fault because they weren’t, but it was important to put Crawford back in.) And with that, Toews would score on a power play (which, while still bad, still seemed to come through when they needed it most this playoffs.) And I knew that, with the way they were winning faceoffs in that period, when they had one with 8 seconds left in the period in the offensive zone – I was just like, if they win this faceoff, they’re going to score before the period ends.
Sometimes, you just know: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uxjm9e3nvmI (Just for the record, you know the game is over when the Hawks celebrate a goal in the neutral zone.)
That remains my favorite goal of the playoffs. Duncan Keith would score the game winner with three minutes left in the third after the Hawks finally seemed to fix their shit defensively after the first period – once they’d done that I knew it was over. The Preds borrowed the Hawks’ ability to lose a lead this series and that’s why they lost. I felt that, if nothing else, beating the Predators who, the year before hadn’t made the playoffs and this year was sitting at the top of the division inexplicably for the longest time, was one good thing I’d be able to take from this playoffs, no matter how far the Hawks went. I was so sick of the “The Preds are so good” story when I knew it not to be true considering they are the Preds. Before the playoffs began, I was so unimpressed that I’d posted on facebook: “Spoiler alert: First, maybe second, round exit.” So you would think I was awaiting imminent doom – but then, like last year, things happened in other series that I didn’t expect and they were given a small break.
Keith Game Winner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEViIuoktyc
Other first round highlights:
1. The biggest disappointments of the rest of the first round were the Anaheim Ducks defeating the Winnipeg Jets in 4 and the Washington Capitals beating the New York Islanders in 7. I didn’t expect the Jets to win but I at least wanted them to win a home game. And I was hoping the Islanders would win because I wanted a Rangers/Isles series I didn’t get.
2. I was annoyed with Tampa Bay taking as long as they could to defeat the Detroit Red Wings. It should not have been that hard.
3. But the best parts of the first round were the Calgary Flames beating the Vancouver Canucks, and most importantly, the Minnesota Wild eliminated the St. Louis Blues, meaning the Hawks would play the Wild for a third straight year, and the Blues were out in the first round for the third straight year.
After finding out that the Hawks would play the Wild in round 2, if the Hawks were to lose, I would have to call bullshit. I could not possibly accept them losing the the Wild – especially when they’d beaten the Wild two years in a row – and especially when they were under the grand delusion that Devan Dubnyk was a good goaltender. I don’t care no matter how much they think he saved their team’s playoff hopes, he was in Edmonton and sucked. He was in Arizona and sucked. He was in Nashville and sucked. Let’s face it – he’s not good. And I would not accept an elimination from this team to perpetuate this delusion.
And the Hawks didn’t disappoint. In fact, it was a relatively easy series, all things considered. The Wild never got a lead the entire series and the Hawks swept them in 4. There were only really two cringeworthy points in this series, and that was giving up the three goal lead in game 1 and the final few minutes of the series when they almost tied the game. But other than that there was never really any doubt, as Saad scored in the first two minutes, and that basically was a sign of things to come. They took the two game lead into Minnesota and Crawford shut them out in game 3, so it was only a matter of time, even if they didn’t win game 4. But I should’ve realized that since game 4 was on my birthday, it was a four game series since they never lose on my birthday. I guess the Wild just really like making the playoffs and lose to the Hawks. And Devan Dubnyk – yea, bye. If they didn’t make it, at least they killed the Preds and Dubnyk stories I was absolutely sick of.
Other second round highlights:
1. The Anaheim Ducks took care of the Calgary Flames, Tampa Bay took out Montreal and the Rangers took out the Capitals in seven after being down 3-1.
Now that the Hawks had made it into the Conference Finals, I started to expect them to win again despite my previous doubts. The Ducks were a good team but the Hawks beat them twice handily IN Anaheim during the regular season in probably their best games of the regular season, and their only loss to them was by one. And everyone was talking about how we should be scared of the Ducks and how the Ducks are so good and how the Ducks are going to win and I’m sitting here like, why? Why should I be afraid? Are they good? Yes. But so are the Hawks. And a lot was said about Roszival being hurt and how that was going to be big and I’m sitting here wondering how. Any other defenseman can go out there and be a not great defenseman just like Roszival. What was killing them was playing the third pairing for so little after that – it certainly wasn’t that the other defensemen the Hawks had weren’t better than Roszival.
And the series was tough, but I was never scared. The series would’ve been over even quicker had Quenneville didn’t inexplicably sit Vermette and Teravainen in game 3 for Versteeg and Nordstrom. I know a lot of people seem to enjoy blaming everything on Versteeg with their #DamnItVersteeg hashtag thing but he’s rarely deserved that. Nordstrom on the other hand didn’t need to come in at all. But that would’ve been a six game series had they not made the lineup changes. After losing game 1 despite playing very well, they won game 2 in three overtimes in the longest game in Blackhawks history, after Kruger tapped in a rebound off a Seabrook shot. (I mean, who else?) Seemingly all of the multi-OT games in the last three seasons were games the Hawks were in. And the Hawks won all but one of them. Game 3 was bogus as mentioned previously, and game 4 was almost bullshit too. The Hawks went up 3-1 in the third, only for the Ducks to score three goals in the next minute. That’s basically the story of the season right there. At that point I was basically done with that game, and done with everything. But then Kane scored because of course. Why wouldn’t they tie the game after that? Of course they did. Then Vermette scored in double OT to win it – they won, but how does one be happy about winning like that? I knew going into game 5 that whomever won game 6 was going to win the series. Game 5 will piss me off for the rest of time. They go down by three in the first, but then start to play well and get to 3-2 after two. The Ducks score one with eight minutes left, so you think it’s over. I turned it off and followed on my phone. Toews scores two goals in the last two minutes because of course. Why wouldn’t they tie it? But then the Ducks win a minute into OT because Bickell is still worthless. So at that point I was just like “Is it game 7 yet?” because there was no way the Hawks were losing at home. And sure enough they won 5-2 in game 6. And game 7 showed exactly why I was not afraid of the Ducks one bit, as the Hawks went up 4 before the Ducks even got one. And they won 5-3. And the Ducks were done. (Random fun fact: Corey Crawford’s first ever NHL start was in March 2008 against the Anaheim Ducks, the year after the Ducks won the Cup, and Crawford shut them out 3-0.)
Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the New York Rangers in 7, after shutting out the Rangers twice in New York. Some of those games were 6-5 or 5-1, and the others were 2-0. It was weird. It also killed my bracket that had a Hawks/Rangers final.
It was clear to me that whomever won between the Hawks and the Ducks was going to win the Cup, because the Eastern Conference remains much weaker than the West and neither of those two teams would beat the Hawks or the Ducks. So when the Lightning won, I knew it was really just a matter of time. I wasn’t nervous, I was just waiting. It just seemed inevitable to me. Tampa was good, but they weren’t good enough to worry me. I like Tampa, and I still do. They’re the best in their conference, but it’s a different standard. They could win, but if they did it would be because the Hawks screwed it up. Of the three Finals the Hawks have been in, this was definitely my least favorite one. The Boston one will always be the best. The only reason I like this one is because they got to win at home, finally. The rest of it was nerve racking just seeing if they were going to find a way to screw this one up – they definitely should have won, but the regular season showed they could also screw things up spectacularly.
The most annoying parts was perhaps the commentators calling Tampa’s line the “Triplets” even though they are unrelated and look nothing like each other, and the Ben Bishop injury saga. The Hawks won a very boring and uneventful game 1 2-1 on two goals in two minutes in the third, stealing the game from the Lightning. Game 2 was ridiculous – they kept trading goals. 1-0 Tampa, 2-1 Chicago, 3-2 Tampa, 3-3, and then 4-3 Tampa after Sharp took a penalty after coming out of the box. Sigh.
I’m sorry guys, but I have to do this. You all leave me no choice. The amount of bullshit I saw about Sharp taking a second penalty and “costing” them the game is pathetic. So you’re telling me that someone taking a penalty calls for them to be benched? For a game? For the REST OF THE SERIES? For the rest of his time as a Hawk (Read: Get him out of here)? Grow up and get over yourselves. Patrick Sharp is one of the best players on this team. You do NOT bench one of your best players over a penalty. The first one, you should’ve already realized, the guy dove. You can’t even blame him for that. And you want to bench him in favor of who? Joakim fucking Nordstrom? Think about what you’re saying before you say it, please. Yes, let’s bench one of the best players for some nobody. You only bench him if you have a suitable replacement that’s just as good. There is none. The fact that I’ve even had to defend Patrick Sharp last postseason and this one is an absolute joke. (and I didn’t have to until this moment, which I was happy about until you all ruined it). “Oh he’s not producing any points!” you say? It’s funny, there’s more to hockey than points. You should know that if you’re a hockey fan. Also, um, you realize Hossa has a similar amount of goals and he had a similar season, but I don’t see anyone at all saying he should be benched, do I? But Patrick Sharp – the guy who’s been here longer than any of their star forwards – the one that’s been just as good and just as important as any of the other ones but NEVER gets the credit for it over them – is the one that’s getting the blame for playing poorly. You never seem to say anything at all when he’s playing well but the second he does something bad you’re all over him. He’s officially the Corey Crawford of forwards. How about some credit for his multi-30+ goal seasons? How about his two, now three Stanley Cups? Gold medal? How about the fact that every time Sharp gets hurt the team starts playing poorly because he’s not there? And when he gets back they’re suddenly better? You never seem to give him any credit at all and you just want to talk about him doing poorly in the playoffs, as if a team losing is ever because of one particular person. Where’s this complaint about Bickell? Where’s this complaint about Hossa? Sharp has as many goals in the Finals as did Kane and Toews. You complaining about them? No? You realize that, in 2013, Patrick Sharp should’ve won the Conn Smythe over Patrick Kane, yes? (Maybe Crawford deserved it over both, but either way.) And if and when Sharp isn’t on the team next year, you should take into account that he’s ONLY gone because of salary cap and nothing more. He’s not leaving the team because of so-called poor play. He’s just as important to this team as anyone else is, and you WILL miss him when he’s gone, because the team sure will. I would start giving him the proper respect he deserves while you still can – until then, I have a hard time even considering you fans of this team. Because if you were as good of fans as you think you are, you would know how important he is and quit your bitching. Or at least throw the same criticisms at other players who’ve done the same. I wonder if you thought the same when Kris Versteeg took two penalties in game 4 of the Western Conference Final in 2009 against Detroit? You probably don’t even remember it. I do. I don’t remember this reaction for it, though. Versteeg wasn’t benched. He remained on the team. They won a Cup. Sharp’s won three. And a gold medal. And he deserved one MVP.
Also, this is hockey, not some other sport. You don’t scream for players to be benched on a game to game basis, you ice your best roster that is physically capable of playing. You certainly don’t put in a rookie over an veteran, star player unless injury forces you to. (Remember when Ben Smith played instead of Marian Hossa (injury) in game 3 of the finals vs. Boston? How’d that game work out?) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpMtuF_mTyg
Anyways, rant over. Hopefully we’re still friends. I assume you have tough skin.
The Hawks lost game 3 3-2 on a goal within the last five minutes, which bothered me. It set them up for Hawks in 6 which I’d predicted, but I didn’t want to have to do it the hard way. I wanted them to just win the home games because that’s all they needed. But then they won the next two games 2-1, with game 5 being their best start of the finals so far.
With it going 3-2 into Chicago, we’d made it to the first and only time the Hawks would be able to win at home. And with the Hawks finally having a good start, Bishop being hurt, and several of Tampa’s forwards being hurt, I was confident. And after a scoreless first thirty minutes, Keith scored with only a few minutes left in the second: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zewTop3Qai0) And then Kane scored with five left in the third to make it 2-0 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5C2cDBksts). It was basically over, and with one last faceoff with 17 seconds left (Because why not?), Crawford makes one last save to shut them out (and give a big F-U to those who hate him), we get this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaY_N8JA7fw It makes sense that Keith won the Cup winning goal, Kane got the insurance goal, and Crawford got the shutout since those were probably the three most important players of the playoffs. (You could argue Saad, Toews, and Seabrook too.)
Keith wins the Conn Smythe and rightfully so, and the Hawks have won three cups in six years with three different Conn Smythe winners who are still on the team. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xa60IwHEZRo
So, the Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup for three times in six seasons.
Each time has been more of a surprise than the last. And there’s no question now that this is a dynasty. People were calling it a dynasty after the second Cup, which I don’t think is possible. It’s just two Cups in four years. Now that it’s two in three and three in six, that’s a dynasty. The Red Wings were the last dynasty and they had three in six – so if they had a dynasty, the Hawks do too. They’re obviously not the best dynasty in NHL history or anything, but they are a dynasty. And it’s the only one in the salary cap era, which makes it somewhat more impressive that they’ve done it, but it’s still three Cups when other dynasties have more. Now we just can’t allow the Kings to do the same.
Jonathan Toews has 3 Stanley Cups, 2 goal medals, a Conn Smythe, and a Selke.
Duncan Keith has 3 Stanley Cups, 2 gold medals, a Conn Smythe, and 2 Norris’s.
Patrick Kane has 3 Stanley Cups, a silver medal, a Conn Smythe, and a Calder.
Brent Seabrook has 3 Stanley Cups and 2 gold medals.
Patrick Sharp has 3 Stanley Cups, a gold medal, an an all-star game MVP. (LOL ok)
Marian Hossa and Niklas Hjalmarrson have 3 Stanley Cups.
I was trying to find the picture with just the seven who won all three but I couldn’t find it, so that will have to do.
Some other notes:
1. All of the Hawks’ Cup runs have looked like this:
Round 1: The Nashville Predators, the team Ryan Suter’s on, or both.
Round 2: Rival or Divisional Rival or both
Round 3: A California team (and a different one each time)
Round 4: An Eastern Conference team with a really tall guy on it. (Pronger, Chara, Bishop)
2. Some interesting coincidences:
A) Dan Carcillo was involved in all three Cup runs, either because he was on the team or he was playing against the Hawks.
B) In 2010, Patrick Kane skated around Kimmo Timonen to score a Stanley Cup winning goal. In 2015, Jonathan Toews handed Kimmo Timonen the Stanley Cup after winning it with them.
C) Brad Richards won the Cup for the first time since winning it with Tampa Bay.
D) In 2007, the Chicago Blackhawks got the number 1 draft pick instead of the Philadelphia Flyers because of how some lottery balls bounced. Chicago got Patrick Kane, Philadelphia got James Van Reimsdyk. In 2010, Kane and the Hawks defeated Van Reimsdyk and the Flyers to win the Cup. In 2015, the Hawks and Van Reimsdyk’s brother Trevor won the Cup, before JVR got another chance at it.
3. The salary cap is going to cause some players not to be here anymore next year, as always. A lot of people keep talking about Brandon Saad as if he’s going to be anything but a Hawk next season. He’s not. Get over it. They guy who looks both like Seth Rollins and Sami Zayn at the same time is going nowhere. But, sadly, Patrick Sharp likely will be. I do not foresee a way to keep him that doesn’t involved getting rid of someone else – likely Saad. And it sucks. But if you have to pick between Sharp and Saad, as much as I love Sharp, you have to keep Saad. It hurts me to say that. It really does. But Sharp is in his thirties and Saad is in his early twenties. And Saad will make less.
So, Hawks, here are your options for trading Sharp, that you MUST abide by:
A) You must get a very good return for him. A first round pick and a good prospect at the least.
B) You CANNOT trade him to: Vancouver, Detroit, St. Louis, Nashville, Arizona, Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa, Buffalo, Philadelphia, Washington, Colorado, Anaheim, Los Angeles, Columbus, New Jersey, Minnesota, Montreal, Dallas, Florida, Carolina, or Pittsburgh.
C) Ideally you will trade him to San Jose (my second favorite team), Winnipeg, Toronto (Third favorite), Tampa Bay, Boston, New York Islanders (Rangers to a lesser extent)
You have like 8 options. Choose wisely. Or you lose a lot of my respect.
So, that’s all I’ve got to say. Now we see if they can do four in seven. And of course, the only question there is now is this: Is it October yet?
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