Your 2010-2011 Chicago Blackhawks.

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.

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 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.

Comments

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  • Thanks HH for keeping the tradition of Blackhawks blogging alive in an on-topic constructive way. I always look forward to your next post and love reading the other regular commentors replies. Of course only the constructive ones. This is the perfect place to talk Hawks positives and negatives while showing our loyalty.

    I guess we have to live with the trolls and ignore them. It's too bad they feel the need to clog up our bandwidth. I don't understand that mentality. I would never go to an opponent's team board and diss them.

    Keep up the great postings HH, I consider you and the regulars a great community I'm proud to be a part of.

  • Excellent way of putting it HH. I don't want to repeat my entire comment to the Nucks fan from the last post, but you hit on the same theme here. Teams that know what it takes to win will win important games even when they get outplayed. Outplaying someone may mean something in the regular season, but int he playoffs it means nothing. For a season full of inconsistency, I can't complain about the way they played the final four games of the season. With Toews leading the way, AGAIN, the Hawks pushed it as absolutely far as possible. Because of the cap, Bowman has some crucial decisions to make. We're going to have a lot to discuss.

  • In reply to nklhd12:

    For example, no one bugs me more than the Flyers. I bet 90% of their goals come off of rebounds from (literally) crashing the net. Outside of Brier and Gagne the skill level drops off considerably. They barely play within the rules, but the are within the rules. They win because the know how to win. I will have real trouble watching a Flyers vs Canucks Cup matchup. But I don't think either will be there in the end.

  • In reply to nklhd12:

    By the way, I think this is the most balanced Canucks blog: The White Towel http://communities.canada.com/theprovince/blogs/whitetowel/default.aspx. I can't vouch for the commentors though!

  • In reply to JerryManderings:

    Probably obvious to everyone, but eliminate the period at the end of the link when pasting into your browser and it will work.

  • In reply to iplagitr:

    Thanks for the tip. I learn so much here. I should have known that being an Internet pro.

  • In reply to nklhd12:

    HH, this may be one of your best pieces to date. Excellent work. Nearly everything resounded in some way with my overall outlook, even right down to being a fellow-owner of a prized red Larmer sweater. Thanks again for putting in the time and effort here. The fact that normally very few trolls target this blog is a testament to how fair and above-board the writing and responses are.

    After the intensity and expectations of last season, including so many Hawk players going to the Olympics... the grind to June 10, the trophies, medals, parades, appearances on TV, the accolades, the parties, the fulfillment of a dream and then the dismantling of the team... there was bound to be an enormous let-down for these guys. It showed all season, and was perhaps never more apparent than in the last couple games. An intense hunger was never really there, and the yoke of being the defending champs proved to be a heavy burden in every game. And as HH suggested, all this carried through to the fan base. It was a frustrating season to watch, and a significant part of me was definitely ready for the nightly unpredictability to come to an end. Even one final victory against Vancouver would have been bittersweet as very few would say they were the better team this year. And looking at their physical and emotional energy level in game 7, I would have predicted them to be all but swept in the next round anyway. This season really does make you appreciate what some past teams have accomplished in winning consecutive Cups - or even making it back to the finals in consecutive years.

    Like the rest of the regulars here, I'm a huge fan of the game in general. I look forward to watching the rest of the playoffs without the anxiety that goes along with the Hawks being involved. The parity in the league has introduced so many unbelievable OTs and game 7's that it's impossible to figure out why so much of the country is still content with watching early-season baseball. But I digress, and have already written too much. The young Hawks will learn from this season and be a better, more driven, and more rested team next time around. Something to look forward to.

  • In reply to iplagitr:

    I forget which host said it on the NHL channel "On the Fly" show last night but it was dead on. I'm paraphrasing: "It's the little things that individual players do that add up to the big team win." This years Hawks, especially on the final play in OT, forgot to do the little things.

  • In reply to JerryManderings:

    That's hockey, Jerry. Each game is like a war within which are many small battles. These small battles often go unnoticed by the fans and it is probably why coaches have so much faith in players we, as fans, often see little value in.

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    And that, my four feathered friend, is what I zone in on. That's where I learn my craft.

  • In reply to JerryManderings:

    Jerry, I think I speak for all when I say it's been great hearing from you again for the past couple weeks.... although I totally understand the time commitment which prohibits more frequent activity.

    Reading the regulars' viewpoints here from around the country and Canada is great, but I always wonder how cool it would be if we could all go to a game together at the UC. Now that would be awesome!

    Meanwhile, writing from the east coast, I can only hope that the Bruins give the people here in New England something to talk about besides the tired Red Sox / Yankees rivalry.

  • In reply to iplagitr:

    You can join me tomorrow at the Rose Garden to watch the Winter Hawks and Blackhawk prospect Mac Carruth in goal against Kelowna in game 5 of the WHL western Conference finals.

    BW

  • In reply to beaverwarrior:

    Portland?

  • In reply to JerryManderings:

    Portland Oregon. Yes Sir.

    BW

  • In reply to beaverwarrior:

    That'll only cost me $1752.80. Pick me up at PDX tomorrow at 9 am. I'll be wearing a Whitey Stapleton home white.

  • In reply to JerryManderings:

    Pat, I guess I can spring for the Tickets and beer...

    But only if you can tell me the four differences between the Blackhawk's and the Winterhawks Sweaters.

    BW

  • In reply to beaverwarrior:

    BW, I'll take a stab.

    1. The shoulder patch has P instead of a C.
    2. The yellow hair lines are not the same.
    3. The second feather is all green and 3a: the lines in the feathers are all black
    4. The profile of the face has been altered slightly and there's a thicker black line around the face and logo in general.

    That'll be much cheaper for you, BW, as I'm only six hours away. I can drive it.

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    FF,
    Darn good try.Skin tone. Chief Blackhawk is a darker brown. You really can't tell till you see the two sweaters side by side. Life aka "kids" prevents a trip up today. Tell ya what, If The W-Hawks do get to play for the Ed Chynoweth Cup. I'll pay for the tickets and the beer.

    BW

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    Here's an example of the lunacy, and arrogance of the Canucks' franchise.

    http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/tells+Vancouver+auto+dealer+ditch+Canucks+sign/4699365/story.html

    That was Thursday, and they have targeted more businesses today. Some were for charity. While the article states the NHL is behind this, make no mistake it is the ownership group of the Canucks. Unbelievable!

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    How dare they not pay the licensing fees to the
    Canucks!

    I see similar behavior from the UofO down here in Eugene. It could be because they know they're the only game in town and get away with it.

    BW

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    Luooooooooooooooooooooo! let's in an absolute stinker at the end of the game and then the Nucks fall in 2nd OT. After being bored to tears by Vancouver's desire to just keep chipping the puck and not take any risk in the third period, I got the payoff for staying up. What I found very interesting was that after watching the nucks appear to sit on the lead and not do much, they unleashed a flurry of activity after getting scored on. The Preds, kinda like Yotes, are one of those teams that just KILL you if you let them hang around long enough. Hats off to them for staying with it. I hope some Hawks are watching that.

  • In reply to iplagitr:

    Being the only one who actually uses his real name it's tough for me to go out on a date with you.

    But I agree, it would be fun. Maybe we should meet for the Blackhawks convention? Or half way say, Detroit! Hahahaha. Let's invite the guy (and son) that was basically a Blogging Match.com, Mike Kiley.

    All this commenting here and on the other quality Blackhawks blogs has taken me away from my work for the last few days. It's been completely fun and I count on most of you all as my Blackhawks friends. So I think it would be cool but definitely weird. Maybe even a let down. Or not. I'm game. Get it, game? Let's do it.

    PS, I play guitar too, well I used to when I was younger. See my new avatar.

  • In reply to JerryManderings:

    Well if all of us going to a game together would be weird, we should all get out on the ice for a little rat hockey instead... in Detroit... wearing full Hawks regalia.

    Nice picture - but why don't you play anymore? Looks like you were established enough to hit the stage!

  • In reply to iplagitr:

    Weird but it would be fun. Pick a game and I'll do all the arrangements and get the tix. We can call it a reunion. If you're serious we'll do it off-blog.

    I don't play anymore because no one wants to hear REO Speedwagon and Deep Purple.

  • In reply to JerryManderings:

    "Ridin' the Storm Out" and "Smoke on the Water" are timeless favorites!

  • In reply to iplagitr:

    Some might say classic rock. Some might describe me the same way.

    I just bought my tix for Deep Purple with Orchestra June 18 at Ravinia. Classic rock, classic venue, probably a classic crowd.

  • In reply to JerryManderings:

    Sweet! Steve Morse has been my absolute favorite player in the world since I first saw him play live (with his band, not DP) at Park West in '91. I've gone to see his band and/or DP at least 20 times since then...

  • In reply to iplagitr:

    Great column on the Blackhawks website. Blackhawks Magazine: Inside Crow's nest

    http://blackhawks.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=561231 (no period)

  • In reply to JerryManderings:

    This was great, especially since CC keeps to himself most of the time.

    Lots of good player-statements in other articles these past couple days saying exactly what we hoped for.... acknowledging they didn't have enough energy / spirit this year, and it's leaving them with a desire to come back strong next year to prove themselves.

  • In reply to JerryManderings:

    Leave a comment...

  • In reply to JerryManderings:

    If you're going to be a responsible reporter, you need to publish the truth! Nick Leddy was not the only guy responsible for the 1st goal in game 7. He's probably 1/3 responsible; Keith got beat by Kessler (1/3), and the real responsible party was no backcheck by a forward (at least 1/3). If you don't know the game, don't print B.S.

  • In reply to Mplspuckguy:

    Nothing but truth published here. Read it again. The writer never blames Leddy alone. Simply says he missed his man, which is true. Also credits Vancouver for a great drive to the net, inferring some other Hawks were being outplayed. Hockey is a team game, we all know that. HH is as fair as they come, and is not anti-Leddy. Read the next couple sentences and it's obvious: "... the young and promising defenseman. It was a mistake rarely seen in his early weeks as a Blackhawk..."

  • In reply to oneteam:

    Could not have said it better myself Carp, thanks for the backing.

    And yes, I am a huge fan of Leddy, which is why the play stood out to me. Your right Mplspuckguy to incorporate other's, especially Keith into the equation, but he just got flat out beat. Leddy stays higher (which he should have) and the Nucks get blanked in regulation by Crawford. No hate towards Leddy, just an assessment.

    I have never claimed to be a "reporter," just a fan who knows a thing or 2 about hockey.

  • In reply to puckpowwow:

    HH, you're certainly not a reporter but one might think that by how eloquently you write. I haven't told you so but I'm always impressed.

    One could say it was Seabrook that contributed to Campoli's decision to bank off the "glass" by not being an option to outlet to. He wasn't even in the frame. Campoli beat Seabrook to attempt to block the last shot. I'm still fans of both of them.

    There's an article on the Hawks site with an interview with Bowman. Very interesting lead. My fav part was calling Sharp a core player that is a priority to lock up, and Crawford too of course.

  • In reply to puckpowwow:

    great article.

    Sometimes I wonder if its not better to lose the final game against the home crowd. I remember attending a game 4 play-off game when the Wings got swept by the Devils, at home. It was inspiring to hear the ovation as the fans saluted their team for a great season, even though it was ultimately disappointing. That said, I'm happy that the 'Hawks made a good fight of it. It was a class effort your team made.

    As I reflect, I think about why I wanted the Blackhawks to win. The obvious answer is that I wanted Vancouver, perhaps the best team in the regular season, to be knocked out so that the Wings wouldn't have to face them. I was happy to see Chicago squeak into the eighth spot because I figured they are capable of showing why they won the prize last year. The other obvious reason to root for Chicago is to give a good, long rest for the injured and tired Winged Wheelers.

    That said, when I think back on it, it occurs to me that Chicago is a team I could have rooted for, even if the Wings were to fail. Sure, there is a rivalry between the two clubs, but I think I have always respected the Black Hawks, even if I didn't realize it. I enjoyed watching Roenick, Belfour and Especially Chelios, one of those guys you love or hate, depending on the colors of his sweater.
    But back to the 21st century, the BlackHawks have recently won or lost(in the playoffs), with considerable class.

    I also realize that I don't like the Cannucks but I can't explain why, unless it's only because they had so much success this season. If that's all there is to it, its little wonder why many hockey fans have ill will for the 'Wings. Do fans of other clubs hate the Wings for no other reason than that they have a good year, sometimes? I know that Don Cherry has always hated them because they have relied so heavily, in these past twenty years, on Europeans. But not everyone is a Cherry.
    I guess I'm just rambling here. I'll wrap this up before I time-out, with a toast:

    Nice job Hawks, and Go Wings!

  • In reply to paradox:

    I can't speak for anyone but me, but it's not hate for the wings that I feel. Actually, I have enormous respect for how disciplined and how well coached they are. Unless plagued by injuries, like they were last year, it is a given they will be in the playoffs and that they will be tough. I think Kronwall is a douchebag, but my respect for Datsyuk is as strong as my disdain for Kronwall is.

    Now, when it comes to the fans of the wings, that is a different story. Because of the wings success, after sucking badly for a long long time, there is an air about quite a few of those fans that winning is all that the wings have ever done and that they have forever set the bar for what it means to be a good hockey team. More often then not, the fans of the wings that I see are usually trolls on a Hawks site and they show up in big numbers to rub our face in a loss and disappear when the tables are turned. So far, this site has been pretty good in that respect and I hope more fans show up to shoot the breeze on hockey and keep the ribbing in good taste. You've been preceded by another wings fan who was initially a little......outspoken about the might of the wings and their 11 cups. That mellowed a bit as the season wound down.

    Stop by again sometime.

  • In reply to oneteam:

    How about last night's Preds-Nucks game. Whooooeeyyy, Pecka Rinne was brilliant. Give the Nucks credit for bringing it against the Preds in game one, but Nashville was obviously off of their defensive game.

  • In reply to puckpowwow:

    Man that game was worse than watching paint dry. Preds were awful and Rinne gave them a chance right until the end. What a waste. Trotz was p'd after the game.

    I'm pulling for the Preds too, but don't like they're chances. Not enough shooters on that team. Anybody but the hometown boys.

  • In reply to oneteam:

    Well said, Carp!

  • In reply to Mplspuckguy:

    The Woohoo's are still coming out of the woodwork aren't they? Keep up the great work HH.

    BW

  • In reply to iplagitr:

    Well, gitr, after writing a lengthy response, I must have timed out as it refused to let me post it and all was lost. Just as well, but the Coles notes version is. This team in spite of their mercurial season, proved to me during the last three games of the series that they still have the heart and determination of champions. That will never leave them. There'll be more to come. Championships that is

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    I can't believe you're leaving me hanging on the rest of your response! Haha, that's OK, the time-out has happened to me as well...

    So I guess we were both just a little off in our prediction that the Sabres would be the big upset of the first round... The Flyers really came to play the other night, huh? Their energy resembled the Nucks effort over the Hawks.

    I will say I did get the rest of my not-so-difficult first round predictions right (although I have no proof of that!). The Pens / Bolts was a toss-up, but figured the Pens with no Crosby or Malkin would eventually fall. Great comeback from the Bolts.

    I'll also say that although I'd definitely like to see the Preds take down the Nucks, I'm definitely not as confident of that actually happening as so many others on this blog and others seem to be.

  • In reply to iplagitr:

    I don't think the Preds will do it either, but I would love to see it happen.

  • In reply to iplagitr:

    I was disappointed to see the Flyers advance. Miller looked off to me. After what happened last year, I'd be surprised if they beat the Bruins.

    I missed on the Ducks, Pens, and Sabres advancing, which is why I hate making predicitions.

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    Flyers goaltending was just about as hot-and-cold as you can get in that series. I would pick the Bruins to win as well... but on the rare occasion when I write predictions down like this, they seem to be wrong. Case in point, the only one I actually wrote a post for in the first round was the Sabres / Flyers series.

  • In reply to iplagitr:

    RWF, I grew up just outside of Toronto. Every Saturday night my dad and I would sit and watch HNIC. (My father was a passionate Wings fan, as back then they had their farm team in a nearby city. The Hamilton Red Wings. We'd go and watch them play quite often, against the St Catherines Tepees, the 'hawks farm team.) Anyway, we watched and enjoyed nothing more than watching the Leafs lose. I don't know why either but some 50 years later

  • Don't go all mushy on us HH. We all appreciate your efforts, which I think shows in the thoughtful responses

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