Jun 24, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Chicago Blackhawks players including Corey Crawford (lower right) pose for a team photo with the Stanley Cup after game six of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. The Blackhawks won 3-2 to win the series four games to two. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
1. The 2013 Stanley Cup Champion, Blackhawks were lucky.
Let’s be clear, the 2013 Cup Champion, Hawks were a great team. However, they may have been one of the luckiest Cup winning teams, ever. After absolutely steam-rolling the entire Western Conference, during the lockout shortened 48-game regular season, the Blackhawks won the President’s Cup, with relative ease. It is likely due to the condensed, shortened schedule, that they did not ever go on a real slump.
The Western Conference Semi-Finals, against the Detroit Red Wings.
After eliminating the Minnesota Wild, in an easy 5-games, the Blackhawks were not mentally prepared, for the Red Wings. After winning Game One, against Detroit, without much of a resistance, the Hawks were upset, in Game Two, at home.
With the series tied at 1-1, the next 2 games were to be played, in Detroit. Everyone remembers what happened next. The Red Wings defeated the Hawks, in both games, to take a 3-1 series lead, putting the President’s Trophy winning Blackhawks on the brink of elimination.
THIS was the great slump, of the 2013 season, for the Blackhawks. THIS was the great gut checking moment, that got the Hawks to stop relying on solely their ability. THIS was that soul searching period that rejuvenated the Hawks and made them a better team.
Everyone remembers, the Hawks came storming back to eventually win the remaining two games, of the series, with their backs against the wall, winning the series, and eventually the Stanley Cup.
As wonderful and dramatic as that was, let’s not do that again.
There is no denying that there was a lot of luck involved, in that series, and that season. This is not to take anything away from that wonderful season and series at all. It is just safe and reliable, to have to overcome poor play and bad habits, in the playoffs.
The playoffs are about getting hot, at the right time. Just look at the 2011-2012 Stanley Cup Champion, Los Angeles Kings. That season, the Kings barely squeaked into the playoffs, as the 8th and final seed, in the Western Conference. However, the Kings got hot at the right time, and recorded an outstanding record of 16-4, in the playoffs, and the franchise’s first Stanley Cup.
Once again, this is not meant to take anything away from the 2013 Blackhawks. It’s just that getting into a slump, and getting hot again, within the same playoff series, is not something to count on. In fact, it’s almost safe to bet that, that may never happen again. Typically a team that gets into a slump at any point of the playoffs, is usually quickly eliminated.
This is why the 2013 Blackhawks are one of the most remarkable teams, in NHL history.
Basically, the best way to look at this current slump, that the Blackhawks are in, would be to look at it as a necessary step, in the process of an 82-game NHL season. It’s best looked at as a virus scan and removal. A way of working out the kinks or getting the bugs out.
The Blackhawks will be a playoff team, but to be a Stanley Cup team, they will need to go through this slump and overcome it.