We were out in one, but it was also the most intense first round contests of any sport I’ve ever witnessed. The first two games we practically threw away. Halfway through the third, a shock came to the entire team as Seabrook was blindsided by a dirty hit by Toress (VAN). It was brutal by Old School Standards. By modern standards, it should have been at least 5 minutes in the box though I was furious with anything less than a full suspension. But no, two minutes.
It didn’t matter. That woke the team up. Sometimes it takes something brutal to unite you as a unit. From then on, it was dominating once again. Granted, they lost Game 3. Games 4 and 5 were played as if they were a different squad all together. They played hard and Crawford instantly from Rookie to Headliner. It went from a 7-2 landslide at home to a 5-0 shutout in Vancouver. The Hawks were back.
By Game 6, the stunned Canucks regained focus. Game 6 was what everyone expected the entirety of the series to be: a battle of Defenses. Back in Chicago, the Hawks scraped by 3-2 in overtime. When they had to finish in Vancouver, it went down even further losing 1-2 in overtime.
Losses are tragic, but this is one of those that could be a moral victory. I never expect a team that backs into the playoffs to excel, but they did. They turned their Rookie Goalie into a Wall competing against Legendary Luongo on the same ice where Luongo won the Gold for Canada in the Winter Olympics just a year prior. Next year, I will be excited from October to May. You can count on that.
I haven’t had a lot of time to spend with Hockey for the same reasons as any Championship team finds it difficult to repeat: the season was incredibly long. I suffer from great superstition, just like many other fans. This is my reasoning for never washing my Kane jersey during the playoffs. The playoffs take forever and hockey jerseys are made specifically to be worn in winter in rinks next to large swaths of ice. Wearing it to work in the middle of of May can make even the hardest fans a bit whiny and miserable. I honestly have no idea how people survived the Blackhawks Championship Parade when it was in the 90’s and you’re crammed around the entire populace of the Greater Chicagoland Area and then some who weren’t at the Sox vs Cubs game.
This year, I knew my schedule would be even more restrictive. I was so right. I could tell at the beginning of the season when I was debating getting NHL Center Ice this year, I was coming home close to 9 pm every night. Also with the dreaded Byfuglien and Niemi trades, this year was going to be rough. In hindsight, I’m glad I missed a majority of it. Injuries plagued the team as well as trying to resync when half of your team is gone.
I knew it wasn’t going anywhere. Right now, every memory I have of this season is overshadowed by my memories of last season when we were dominant and sweating blood and awesome. I am not nearly attached to still playing the Goalie Carousel into the end of the season. I was only able to catch up during the last few weeks, when we were slowly but surely backing into the playoffs.