Yesterday afternoon at about two o'clock every Chicago Blackhawk fan's heart stopped. As it turns out the not necessarily must win, but must get at least one point game the Hawks had against the Detroit Red Wings was lost. In the locker room it seemed as if there was a funeral and the very diligent and tough "Captain Serious" Jonathan Toews was left speechless. How can the defending champions really not be able to defend their cup?
All the Dallas Stars had to do is win their game against the lowly Minnesota Wild and they would have been in the Stanley Cup playoffs. A team Dallas had beaten three previous times this season, a team that had dropped its last twelve games, and a team that the Dallas Stars were sure to beat. It was ultimately believed with the Chicago loss to Detroit, the Blackhawks had surely punched their tickets to "Golf World". Minnesota however had other plans, because they went out on their ice and in front of a sellout crowd sent the "would be" western conference eighth seed packing.
So once again the hockey gods spared the Chicago Blackhawks the humiliation of being the fifth team in the NHL history to not make the playoffs after winning the Stanley Cup.
Now the Blackhawks will square off with the President's Trophy winning Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks probably would not have it any other way. Vancouver is the heavy favorite to win the Stanley Cup and with good reason. Daniel Sedin who finished the regular season with a league high 104 points and he finished fourth place in goals scored with 41. There is also his twin brother Henrik, the reigning Hart Trophy winner, best defensive forward candidate Ryan Kessler, and world class goalie Roberto Luongo. The Canucks are definitely the favorites, but so were the Washington Capitals last season and they were eliminated by a little team from Montreal.
The "Great One" himself once said there are multiple seasons a year in the NHL and the playoff are always up for grabs. The Chicago Blackhawks have had the hockey gods looking down upon them, but in order to beat Vancouver they may actually need to use their talent. And that might not even be enough.