Never thought this day would come.
It’s not that I don’t like Hockey, I’ve just never really got around to it. Sure I’ve watched a handful of games but never found a true passion for it. The very first time I ever took any interest in NHL is when the Hawks won the Cup back in 2010 and even then did I call myself a fan. I sorta followed the motto, “If everyone is doing it, I should too” which I highly suggest you don’t do in many cases in life (hint, hint, wink wink) but in this one, I guess I’d follow along.
Now, before I start, I am not a hardcore Hawks fan by any means and if you want to call me a “fair-weather fan” because I am beginning to watch the Hawks during their time of success, OK, but believe me this could be a completely different story if the Bulls were still playing.
Anyways I start by saying there are two things I for sure know about Hockey. The first is that the greatest sports moment in American History is when the 1980 US Olympic Hockey team took out the greatest Hockey team that ever lived in the Soviet Union. The other thing is that if you live in Chicago, or in Illinois for that matter, you better be a Blackhawks fan or else…You get my point.
This has been quite the year for Hawks and I know I’m not the first to say that but it shouldn’t go understated. There was the streak where they went 24 straight games to start the season without losing a game which virtually handed them the Number One seed in the playoffs. The emergence of Corey Crawford solidifying a strong presence in net, something they haven’t had since Niemi left back in the off-season of 2010. And now in the playoffs, while the core of Toews, Kane, Hossa, Keith, Seabrook and Sharp have all played respectably well (Especially Sharp) it has been about the lesser known guys during this Hawks hysteria which if we flashback to 2010 was the same theme of that run (knock on wood). These type of guys who aren’t afraid of, well, pretty much anything let alone the Red Wings or the “Great” Jonathon Quick are a big reason the Hawks have a 2-0 lead heading out West to LA. It’s the guys like Bickell, Boland, Saad, Oduya and Frolik that have led the Hawks to so much success this season and in the playoffs. But in this town, this playoff run means much more than just the Cup for Chicago Sports fans.
Chicago sports for the past decade or so ( for the Cubs the past 2 Centuries) has been so close to Championship glory that it has been starving for so long. Despite the Sox winning in ’05 and Hawks in ’10, this city has suffered some harsh losses. The Bears came close in 2006 but fell short in the Super Bowl and thanks to the guys up in Wisconsin haven’t been able to make it back since. The Cubs are on the rise but yet another probable losing season looms as Wrigleville awaits the much anticipated 2015 season. The Sox have been just so-so which could be worse than the Cubs because they always contend until September then let up the division lead and their playoff hopes and crush Sox fans and Hawk Harrleson’s heart each year since ’05. And then of course there’s the Bulls who seem to not only have the Heat to worry about but now the Pacers, let alone the health status of their two best players Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose. Still one player away from a Championship.
If you haven’t caught my drift yet, it’s that no matter what fan you are in Chicago, if you like the Hawks, then all is good in this town. And how could you not like them? They’re tough group of guys with an Iron Man for a captain and his sidekick, who can’t grow a beard to save a life, has a lighting slap-shot that few, if any goaltenders can stop. Every time Marian Hossa scores, Twitter erupts with countless “Love Hossa” Tweets (Cheif Keef reference) and seriously, who doesn’t think Patrick Sharp is the most dreamy man, let alone the most underrated winger in the NHL? And I haven’t even gotten to the newest Bench Mob in Chicago yet that rivals the like’s of Watson, Lucas, Brewer, Asik, Gibson and Korver.
The Hawks are Chicago’s winning team it so desperately needs. Every game is a spectacle. From Jim Cornelison belting out the National Anthem to 20,000 yelling and cheering to Chelsea Dagger being played every time the puck reaches the back of the net for the Hawks, it’s not hard to like this team. But the best part about them is that they are pretty damn good too. With just 2 wins from reaching the Stanley Cup Finals and the chance to once again parade down Wacker drive is putting every one in a Blackhawk state of mind. And while I may be too consumed with dreaming of another Bulls banner, it doesn’t mean I can’t root for another on the Blackhawks side in the Madhouse on Madison.