History has a weird way of repeating itself, and hopefully we are not in the process of seeing it repeat again through the Chicago Blackhawks. The Hawks won their third Stanley Cup in 1961 with two young stars leading the way by the name of Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita. When the 61 playoffs began Bobby Hull had 4 seasons in and 101 goals in the back of the net already. Stan Mikita had completed his 2nd full season in the NHL. The 1961 team ended a long Stanley Cup drought of 23 seasons, and the young stars helped the Hawks hoist the Cup!
In 2010 the Hawks were able being led by two young stars, Patrick Kane in his third full season had scored 76 career goals (through 4 seasons Kane had 103 goals), while the young captain, Jonathan Toews was also in his third full NHL season. With the Blackhawks Stanley Cup draught at 48 seasons, the young core skated away with Stanley Cup and history was repeated. Young stars hoisting the Cup ending long draughts for the Hawks franchise.
Hopefully, this is where history stops repeating itself! Mikita, Hull and teammates never raised the Cup again even though they made it to the Stanley Cup finals three more times in 1962, 1965, and 1971 with the most painful loss coming in 1971 with the Hawks leading the Montreal Canadians 3 games 2 with game 7 in the Chicago Stadium. The then veteran guys were not able to finish the task at hand. This core of players also only missed the playoffs one season in 1969.
It’s now been two long seasons since the 2010 Cup and Toews and Kane are now about to enter their 6th seasons. They are still quite young but father time stands still for no one, and if history teaches us anything is that there are only so few chances for this core or any core group to be able to hoist another Stanley Cup. The Hawks have reached the playoffs both seasons after winning the Cup, but have been quickly eliminated from the postseason without getting past the first round.
The biggest contributor in 2012 to not let our history lessen repeat itself is General Manager Stan Bowman. He has the pedigree name and the keys to the castle. He has been able to accumulate talent, picks, while being able to free the Hawks from salary cap hell. This off season is where two long seasons and very two very short post seasons needs to come together for Bowman and make the crucial moves to get all the pieces in place for another serious Cup run in the 2012-2013 season. There are a lot of question marks including the ability of Corey Crawford to anchor the most important position on the ice for a deep run in the playoffs, and is Marcus Kruger really a #2 center. What will our defense man look like when the season starts? A lot of these question will be answered June 22 when the draft begins.
Draft day is where Stan Bowman has done most of the dirty duty of clearing out cap space relief while getting talent and picks in return. During the 2010 draft day, he dealt Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel, and Ben Eager to the team formally known as the Atlanta Thrashers for a 1st and 2nd round pick. He also traded Colin Fraser to the Edmonton Oilers for a 6th round pick. During the 2011 draft he sent Troy Brower to the Washington Capitals for a 1st round draft choice, and he freed up a ton of salary cap space by trading Brian Campbell to former GM and tv/radio announcer Dale Tallon and the Florida Panthers for Rostislav Olesz. These trades didn’t help the talent of the current team, but it gave Bowman freedom that he desired most, not to held down by the limitations of the salary cap.
What will 2012 draft day bring us? Will Bowman make the moves that Hawks fans want to see happen by adding talent to this core roster while they are still young? Will Bowman continue to purge talent for picks? Only 12 days from the draft and there are a lot of questions, but you know that Bowman will be active. He has not done a lot on July 1 except try to find deals for “veteran presence guys” and any other bargain basement deals. He also has done very little at the trade deadline even though his one trade for Johnny Oduya hit the spot to spark the Hawks into the final stretch of 2011. If history is any indicator Bowman will be a busy Gm throughout the draft! 12 days from now is Bowman’s big stage, and really he should have only One Goal to accomplish this season….
That one goal is to make sure these two get to raise the Cup again, and enjoy another parade through downtown Chicago and become even bigger legends to our kids and grand kids. Thirty years from now when they are celebrating these legends coming back to the United Center to watch playoff games, it shouldn’t be included with only one Stanley Cup on their resume in Chicago just like it was for Hull and Mikita.
It is time to take action! Learn from History and don’t repeat it!!
LET’S GO HAWKS!!!!