The “D-Word” in Chicago
As we revel in the glory of Chicago’s second Stanley Cup in four years, we might be inclined to look at the future and see more championships. Clearly, this is the dream, an ideal, but we must caution ourselves. Personally, I’m incredibly superstitious. I won’t call the game until I see a three-goal lead with five seconds left and a Blackhawks d-man holding the puck on the far end of the ice. I have rituals before, during and after games. Any type of “jinx” cast foolishly toward the world of hockey is agonizing for me.
This is why, against my better judgment, I must address recent comments from – ugh – Pierre McGuire.
Ah, the pipsqueak we always hear pestering good ol’ Eddi O during national broadcasts is at it again – saying things a “professional” should not be saying. It only took 2 Cup championships to change his attitude from total lack of faith to “dynasty” talk.
Sure – we’re all hoping for this to be true. We’re all cautiously optimistic about it. But saying it crosses a line of superstition that can damn the whole thing.
So when can the word “dynasty” be used properly? The magic number seems to be 3. Chicago’s shining example of a sports dynasty is the Chicago Bulls through the 1990s. A powerhouse on the court, the Bulls took championships in three consecutive seasons (1991, 1992, 1993), allowed two years for other teams to feel the glory, and then did it again (1996, 1997, 1998). We all know this. But look at other shining examples of incredible sports powerhouses.
The New York Yankees took back-to-back-t0-back World Series Championships most recently from 1998 – 2000 (not the first time for the most well-known franchise in baseball). The New England Patriots took the title of Super Bowl Champions three times in four years (2002, 2004, 2005) and that was enough to solidify talk of “dynasty” and secured a pristine reputation as a squad (players excluded from that discussion). Manchester United has secured 15 Premier League Championships in the least 21 seasons.
Those are dynasties in their own rights, albeit from recent memory (I encourage you to take a look at dynasty championships pre-1970 for basketball, baseball and football as well). Nobody talks about two championships, but they certainly talk about three.
Now, I’m not saying that the Hawks are set to enter the ranks of such franchises or that they’re not even close to such a group. My point here is that two championships are enough to prove that the team has an incredible amount of skill, talent and discipline but three solidifies the group as consistent contenders.
We’d all love a hockey dynasty to dominate Chicago. And the Blackhawks are looking to do that. The team is finally solidifying a core with great skill and developing youngsters into great hockey players. Four lines of speed, skill and agility is a major strength of the Blackhawks that many teams cannot match. Goaltender woes are – I should hope, at least – quelled for the moment in Crawford, who proved that he can be the missing piece of the puzzle in Chicago. (Let’s agree to not talk about the Power Play).
The pieces are there and are being guided by a fantastic coaching staff and front office – not to mention the fan base that never fails to enter the equation both home and away. Just don’t get too hasty on calling the Blackhawks a “dynasty” just yet. It doesn’t have to be next season, maybe not even the season after that. A win by the end of the 2017 – 2018 season could be the win that ushers the word “dynasty” into the mix, if even then.
And I know – I know this is stemming from some bone-headed comment leaking out of Pierre McGuire’s tiny brain. If I got worked up about every comment that bald pipsqueak rattled off I’d sound a lot like that drunk 70-year-old that always gets kicked out of the bar at 2am on the weeknights. But this needed to be addressed before anybody out there got any ideas. No funny business when it comes to hockey, not when it comes to the Blackhawks. Chicago is the greatest city on Earth – Second to None! – so let’s keep our heads down and prove it.