So how about last night am I right!? Now, I haven’t posted on this in a loooonnnnnnggg time because it’s been a rough year, but I just had some thoughts I have to share with ya’ll.
- I have to start talking about Duncan Keith. He was truly unreal. That was a playoff for the ages. To average 30 minutes a night, consistently shut down opposing teams top players, and come third in playoff scoring as a Dman is remarkable. Watching him push bigger players to the outside in his own zone, watching him put pass after pass on players tape, watching him always be in the right spot was something to see. What a playoffs from him. And keep in mind we have him for 8 more years at 5.5 million dollars. That’s the kind of scratch Jeff Petry got. And as good as he is, he is no Duncan Keith. Hell, that’s Dave Bolland money. Keith really is a remarkable player.
- If you ask me what the difference was in this series, aside from Keith and Crawford’s brilliant play (more on that last one coming up), it was the depth. Good teams find ways to shut down star players, and both teams did that. Toews with 1 goal. Kane with 1 goal. Stamkos with no goals. But the Hawks third line of Teuvo-Vermette-Versteeg/Sharp and the fourth line of Shaw-Kruger-Desi were amazing, coming through again and again. The stars got us there, but depth won the series. Well, depth and…
- UNREAL GOALTENDING. If any of you still doubt Corey Crawford, enjoy eating crow (hey that’s an unintentional pun). In the Hawks four wins he held the high flying Lightning to three goals. Three! If it wasn’t for a bad first round (and a lot of the goals he gave up there were because our defense didn’t play well but whatever) he would have had a real shot at the Conn Smythe. Crawford has proved that he is a gamer, the players love him, and its time the fans give him that same respect. We don’t win that series without Crawford.
- Quick shoutout to the Bolts. They really are an incredible team. Ben Bishop played an amazing series, only giving up 8 goals in the 4 losses while playing with a torn groin. And no matter what the odds makers say, they are the favorite to win it all next year. The Lightining are only just getting started, and the rest of the NHL should be scared.
- The whole playoffs there were reasons the Hawks shouldn’t win. Our goaltending imploded in the first round. We were going up against Wilhahahah I can’t finish that did anyone actually think the Wild would win? In the third round how were we supposed to take that many hits??? No human can withstand that many hits!!! *Tries not to look at Kesler* *fails miserably* *points and laughs* And then we were going up against the best offense in the league with only 4 Dmen. But guess what? The Blackhawks got it done. I know we in the blogging world hate narratives, but we all should admit that the Hawks have no quit in them, and found a way. That is a legitimate skill, and the Hawks seem to have mastered it.
- Take a minute and think about what the Hawks have accomplished these last 7 years. Not long before that we would have 8000 people show up for a game. It was clown shoes on ice. Now you can’t get a ticket. Hockey participation in Illinois is at record levels! In a league with a salary cap below 70 million to bring about parity we went to five of the last seven Western Conference Finals. We won three of the last six Stanley Cups! Toews and Kane are only 27! Saad is only 22! Teuvo was our offense at the start of that series and the kid is only 20! Not to mention we have a solid system that is about to flood the team with young, cheap talent. Ross, Hartman, McNeil, Danault, Johns, Pokka, TVR (maybe he doesn’t belong that list because he just won a cup) not to mention Panarin. Next years top 6 could be Panarin-Toews-Hossa, Saad-Teuvo-Kane. That sounds pretty damn good to me. And then we fill holes in our bottom six from within the system. The kids are ready. So Is Capocolypse gonna be rough? Yah. But after 2010 we came back only a couple seasons later to win it all, and this time we are better prepared. Long story short, this is a remarkable franchise, and it’s got a lot more left in the tank. It’s a cliché that has been said a lot, but this is the golden age of hockey in Chicago. Enjoy it.
- I just wanted to share a personal note why this is all so important to me. I have been away from Chicago, the greatest city in the world, my home, for 9 years now. And it’s been rough. It’s funny, because when I lived in Chicago I never really cared about the sports teams very much, but the longer I’m away, the more they matter to me. They help me keep connected with the city I love so much, and can’t wait to move back to. So thank you Blackhawks for making me still feel like a Chicagoan. And thanks to all of you for helping expand my knowledge of the sport and for sharing your love of hockey and, in some cases, the Blackhawks.
- IT’S A SUMMER OF STANLEY IN CHICAGO! LET’S ENJOY IT! LET’S GO HAWKS!!!!