We have seen parts of this script before, but not with this twist. We have seen storybook moments revealed before our eyes throughout this season and playoffs, with amazing endings to the couple of series prior to this, but not like this one. We have been on the receiving end of a truly remarkable season by the Blackhawks, full of everything and more that our wildest imaginations could not have written this any better. We have a special team to cheer for in Chicago, so let me try and count the ways.
We have seen this type of game play out the way this particular Cup clinching game began, and we had been on both ends of it. A dominating 1st period by a team that falls short of producing to the equivalent of which their efforts promoted. This Bruins team came out with extreme authority, controlling every aspect of the game, but only found a small 1 goal lead for their efforts. I doubt that I was far from the only fan watching that saw that as opportunity. The Hawks have had many 1st periods where their inability to find the net overshadowed their dominating performance, followed by a drop back down to earth. It felt like the Hawks had too much life somewhere in there by the end of that 1st period storm.
Because we have all learned from watching this year's special organization play some puck that they don't need much, and when you find them down and don't kill them that it will come back to haunt you. These Hawks have a tendency to find a way and maybe even when you should least expect it. But, no one saw this ending coming. No one.
When Toews took opportunity and shoved it through Boston, shorthanded no less (basically), the game started to blur out for me, as the reality of this season coming down to this game began to play out in front of me. What an amazing team, what an amazing year, what amazing accomplishments.
The Lucic goal was a party killer for sure, but you might have felt that coming. This game was playing out like some sort of scheme with the goal of making the Bruins feel comfortable enough, and waiting for the right moment to strike so as to make sure they couldn't get back up. It had to be a death blow, and it had to happen when they least expected it. The Bruins will always fight back.
There is something in this present group of Hawks that doesn't allow them to be denied. It might be the entire recipe, a mixture of sorts, little elements coming together to make a perfect whole (not that the Hawks are perfect). Whatever that is, it allows a team to score 2 goals in a 17 second time span moments after pulling their goaltender. We could look at the Captain, to the administration, to the role players, the wisdom of this team's core players, or this season that taught them the right lessons. I mean, that tying goal by Bickell wasn't even dirty. It was a thing of beauty built out of poise, and creativity. Simple plays leading to something much bigger.
I would like to take this moment to praise Stan Bowman. He accepted a challenge and conquered it. Frolik, Shaw, Saad, Oduya, Rovsival, Leddy, and Handzus. He kept the right players around, believed in a goaltender who fought his way through the system, and added the right ingredients, because the names just mentioned were difference makers. Some, in huge ways.
We all have our ways of celebrating something like this, mine was a little more unique this year than just running around the entire city with a homemade Stanley Cup like I did in 2010. I have to admit though, that the awe of this year, of this series, and last night's game sort of overwhelming to me. Not until today, after fighting my way through the work day, and trying to wake up, and recovering has it really hit me.
I am sort of living this moment through the possible emotions and perspectives that Andrew Shaw might be having. He loves shin pads, and I love watching this kid play. Watching him grab the Cup, and speaking profanity, of his pure delight as he looks up to his leaders in the locker room, and down the road that got him here. This is when I begin to get choked up. I had that dream, I know what these guys gave for it, and my wildest imagination maybe comes close to understanding what they just put out there on the ice to be the best team in the world. I see this through Andrew Shaw and what he brought to this team. And, if he hadn't been knocked down to 4th line minutes, just maybe, he would have been the Conn Smythe winner.
Patrick Kane. This has been a defining year for the Conn Smythe winner. He stepped up big time, quieted the nay sayers, worked hard, persevered, and took his throne among the elite for good. We saw a completely different player only a year ago. I was one of the nay sayers, because I saw a train wreck that was only getting worse, and not an ounce of focus. But, the boy became a man, and stepped up. Cut to last night where he is saying that he coined the new nickname, "The Benefish" for being the benefactor of playing with such talent. To the immediate response upon receiving the Conn Smythe that he felt Crawford was hosed and that this was a team effort in the truest of sense. We will never be able to say enough about this year for him, and look at what it did for an entire organization. Yes, I think Crawford would have been a good choice for the award, and I probably would have gone with Sharpie on this one, as he was the best player on the ice most consistently for the Hawks, but look at what Kane did for this organization this year. I am not opposed to MVP. He did good. Real good.
Kane had this to say about Toews, "he takes us in the right direction, and we all follow." At the heart of any great team is a great leader. Captain Clutch for today, Toews willed this one towards success for the Hawks. Determined to make sure it ended the way it began, with a record breaking start. Bolland, the big time game winner, had this to say, " I don't get that opportunity if he doesn't step up. He constantly reminds me to play with passion and to never give up. We never gave up." Good for Bolland on grabbing the last word. It was a rough season for The Rat. I have been a huge Bolland supporter through the years. This was a fitting end.
This team doesn't lose because Toews won't let them. I have no doubt that he was the fuel behind the Detroit series surge, and no one will ever doubt his contribution to every aspect of the Hawks game. The Bruins ran into a team that can't lose. It isn't currently in their vocabulary. The Bruins tried had hard as they could to beat them, but they never forced them to lose. It might have been impossible. Toews makes sure of it.
I want to end on commending the Bruins for what I will now consider the best series I have ever watched. Their heart, their system, and energy earned them the right to be there, and they should very well have been the team to win it all this year. They just ran into an immovable force. Bergeron was playing with a broken rib suffered from a Frolik hit. The truth of Chara's injuries also came out after the loss. Not that Hossa, Toews, Bickell (hurt so bad that Q was surprised he could still play on a regular shift), and many other Hawks weren't playing injured , but a cheer towards Boston is well deserved.
In the end, a lockout shortened season has been all but forgotten because of what these 2 teams helped build. An outstanding final, a perfect ending for the greatest sport on the planet, and one that will be remembered forever.
Blachawks 2013! The Cup is ours again!
Filed under: Game Recap