After last night's 4-3 overtime win over the Los Angeles Kings, the Chicago Blackhawks are headed to the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in four seasons.
Let's recap the 2013 season :
The Blackhawks won the President's Trophy for best record in the league. In fact, had the season not been shortened by a lockout, the Hawks were on pace to tie the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens' record for total points in a season (132).
Four Blackhawks are nominated for five NHL awards. Jonathan Toews for the Selke and Messier awards, Joel Quenneville for the Adams, Patrick Kane for the Lady Byng, and Brandon Saad for the Calder.
Their goaltenders, Corey Crawford and Ray Emery, have already won their award. They took home the Jennings Trophy by allowing fewer goals than any other NHL team.
They plowed through the Minnesota Wild in five games (as they should have). They stormed back from a 3-1 series deficit against their oldest rivals, and perpetual thorns in their side, the Detroit Red Wings. They eliminated the defending Stanley Cup Champion Kings in five pretty convincing games. During the course of that series, they had the NHL playoffs' most dominant goaltender, Jonathan Quick, pulled and looking ordinary. Patrick Kane has caught fire, and clinched the series victory with a double overtime hat trick.
Now they're headed to the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins, and Hawks fans have already given up. Reading my twitter timeline and Score texts, you'd think the Chicago Blackhawks were the Chicago Steel.
"Be honest. Hawks are screwed. Boston is on a different level right now."
"Bruins D really this good? If so, don't see the Hawks beating them."
"Hawks bad of a matchup (will) Boston be?"
This is just a sampling of the tweets, Facebooks and texts I've received since Boston eliminated the Penguins. There are dozens more...all with the same message. The Hawks are doomed.
I'm certainly not saying that the Bruins don't have a chance to beat the Blackhawks. They do. They are almost certainly the toughest playoff team the Hawks will face. But where's the confidence Hawk fans? We've seen this fear of failure throughout the playoffs this season. It seemed every time the opponent would score a goal or (gasp!) take a lead, the United Center became the Funeral Home on Madison.
Listen, I know it's been tough to be a Chicago sports fan. We've been hurt so many times, but this team is different. These guys are different. If they haven't earned your faith yet, how can they?
So I implore you to puff out your chest. Talk some crap. It's the Bruins fans that should be worried...not the other way around. Vegas agrees. The Hawks are favored in the series (-145 according to sportsbook.com).
I predict Hawks in 6.
Thanks, as always, for reading.
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Filed under: Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, brent seabrook, bryan bickell, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Sports, danny mac show, dave bolland, duncan keith, hockey, jay zawaski, joel quenneville, jonathan toews, LA Kings, marian hossa, Michael Handzus, michal rozsival, minnesota wild, NHL, nhl playoffs, Patrick Kane, patrick sharp, playoff beard, playoff beards, stanley cup, Stanley Cup Champions, stanley cup finals, wscr