The thing about sports is, while you may love them, very rarely do they love you back. When they do, though, it’s amazing. Which is what has made the last few years of the Blackhawks so damn fun.
At least until the overtime last night.
It’s hard to truly describe how I feel about last night’s loss. I’m saddened by it, obviously, every Blackhawks fan is. I never expected the Hawks to get as far as they did in the playoffs this year — repeating in the NHL is extremely tough, and to do so in a year when you have 10 players going to Russia for the Olympics is even tougher — let alone come within a couple of unlucky bounces of returning to the Stanley Cup Final, but they did.
And even if I didn’t expect it, it hurt all the same.
After the game ended, I felt like I was reliving the series while watching Game of Thrones. The Blackhawks were (SPOILER ALERT) Oberyn Martell taking on The Mountain Sunday night (we, the fan, were Tyrion Lannister, being smart asses on Twitter to mask our fear). Once the Blackhawks were down 3-1, they were dismissed by many (including you, be honest with yourself), but they fought their way back into it, and just when you thought they were going to pull it out, they had their eyes gauged out and their skulls crushed.
You’re going to hear plenty of people talk about how this season was a failure because of the way it ended. In a way, those people are right. Not entirely, mind you, but there’s certainly a ring of truth in what they say, even if they don’t have to be so absolute. Coming back from a 3-1 deficit in the Conference Final, and getting to overtime of the seventh game before bowing out shouldn’t be considered a failure by anyone, but this is what expectation brings. When you’ve won two Stanley Cups in four years, it’s supposed to become three in five, and then four in six.
That’s obviously not going to happen, though three in six years is certainly plausible. Hell, maybe even four in seven. The Blackhawks would still be considered a dynasty then, wouldn’t they?
And that’s basically what’s made me a lot happier today than I was last night. It’s not that I think the Blackhawks are going to become a dynasty, or that I expect them to.
It’s that they can.
The roster will look different — and I’ll likely take a look at possible changes we could see later this week — but it will still be one of the best in the league. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane will still be outstanding, and as we saw in this Kings series, there’s another star in the making in 21-year old Brandon Saad. Really, the only member of the core that I feel has a chance of not returning is Brent Seabrook, and if we’re being honest with ourselves, Brent Seabrook hasn’t really been a part of the core for a while. His loss, while not as easily replaceable as some might believe, would not be detrimental to the long-term viability of this potential dynasty.
Chicago sports fans have rest of the summer to be let down by the failure of the White Sox, Cubs and the Bulls to land a superstar. Then the Bears will show up, give us a glimmer of hope, and ultimately disappoint. But we’re still going to have the Blackhawks this winter, and for a lot of winters after that. And it’s awesome to know that.
This team is going to be around making us happy for a long time to come, and mark my words, while there won’t be a parade this summer, we’ll have at least one more in the years to come.
And knowing that makes it harder to be upset about the end of this season.
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