Jonathan Toews was nominated for the Selke Trophy. This announcement comes hours after the Hawk's 2010-2011 season came to an end. It reminds me of what was lost and gained this challenging year, of the ups and downs, the dominating moments and then those games when the Hawks seemed uninterested in winning. Through it all, Captain Serious was there as an anchor, a foundation, and the motivation to get his team into the playoffs. This team and Toews have seen many challenges since he and Kane's draft, and most have been met with determination and maturity.
Your 2010-2011 Chicago Blackhawks.
A very recent opponent was also nominated for the same award. Ryan Kesler had the honor as well along with Datsyuk, and this offers some perspective on the series that has everyone talking, some with a positive outlook, some with hate in their eyes, some with depression, and a few who's words look more like vomit spewing from their oral cavity rather than communication.
I am a Blackhawk's fan, that is more true than most things in my life. The four feathers hang from my shoulder on down to my elbow as a testament to that faith. However, I am also a pure fan of hockey. It was my childhood from adolescents through puberty on into early adulthood. Few things have mattered more. Of the 6 NHL hockey jerseys I own (my Larmer jersey the pride of the bunch) 2 are Hawks, and another 2 happen to be of the Vancouver Canucks. It just so happens that during the early 90's the Canucks were my second favorite team. I rooted hard for Trevor Linden, Cliff Ronning, and even louder for Pavel Bure. I hope this offers some perspective.
Everybody makes dumb comments from time to time, and the adrenaline that comes after a hockey game only adds to the emotional responses. The Canuck's comments in question have created a subtle stir. Though Henrik might have wanted to pick his words a little better, they are still being blown out of proportion. My advice to them would be to move on and look to the future. You only won one series which you almost lost and I can remember watching your city's team fall to the Rangers in the Finals as a hopeful fan. It is a long road to Lord Stanley, respect that the Hawk's understand that more than you.
I am reminded of the all too amazing 2009-2010 season and the road it took our Hawks on. There is much to be happy about. But, this past series was a great example of the recently deceased season. As pointed out in brilliant fashion, the Hawks lost on a defensive turnover, how fitting. They came within a few inches of advancing against a team that should have been the clear winners, and that is still an achievement. The fact of the matter is that of the 23 periods played, Vancouver controlled about 11 of them from my vantage point. At least 3 were toss-ups and the Hawks got the better part of the rest. That is by no means a convincing win, especially when you take into account the utter embarrassments in their own house.
This was not the Hawk's year, it was Vancouver's and yet the winning mentality of some Hawks almost prevailed. This year we saw far too many games lost when the Hawks had leads, the drive apparently not there. The only thing consistent about it was the inconsistency. The switching of lines, the at times dreadful power-play and other times brilliant to watch, the horrifically dead PK that seemed to gain life late into the season, the new faces, the rise of one new face for the club's goaltending situation, the fall of a Norris trophy winner, the injury plagued Hossa, the list goes on and on. Many questions were raised as to the competency in coaching, and ability to motivate the team, many of those questions might be better answered next year.
A few more comments on this final series for the Hawks before calling it a day. My mind keeps recalling the first goal of the 7th game. Nick Leddy missed his man and fell out of position on a great drive to the net by the Nucks. Possibly, exhaustion had set in on the young and promising defenseman. It was a mistake rarely seen in his early weeks as a Blackhawk. It might be that some players were called upon a bit too much while others were neglected. I have to question Q's decision to have a different winger with Kane and Toews on every shift, question the lack of using Campoli over Campbell in big situations, not putting Johnson on the ice more often and the ability to manage the "star" players well enough. Too many big-time players had a rough year, and it was seen in game 7.
It felt like a long series. The Hawks played 4 elimination games in a row and that will do it to you. Crawford became a bright light of promise while Hossa showed a complete lack of offensive sense. Keith was giant in 2 games, but silent for the others. Bolland proved his worth as a playoff guy, while Luongo leaves his city with looming doubt.
Part of me was ready for this season to be over, however much I wanted one more game. But I will watch on. I stated at the beginning that San Jose would raise the Cup this year, and I stand behind that today. The Preds are my wild-card. I think beating them will be hard for any team, especially the Nucks who had the liberty of not facing them too often. I feel for Luongo, but I also doubt his ability to be good enough to take Rinne down. The Ducks found a hole in his armer, but I don't see that happening 2 series in a row.
I will watch from time to time, though not as closely as I did for the Hawk's games. There will be frequent posts here at PowWow, but not as frequent as before. There is still much to talk about, players to examine, trades to look forward to, a draft and a Stanley Cup Champion. Thank You to everyone who visited the site, especially those who leave comments. I can not find another blog where the comments are as insightful and I am very lucky for that. Keep stopping by and enjoy the summer off.