As training camp opened this past Friday, the Hawks entered South Bend eager to stop answering questions and to just start playing hockey. Who is the odd man out to get under the salary cap? Will the Richards experiment work out? Where does Teuvo fit in the Blackhawks plans? The question on all of our minds is whether we will be having a parade come June. This is a question that I have been thinking about since that unfortunate bounce that sent the Hawks home last year. It’s no secret that it’s Stanley Cup or bust this year for the Hawks, but is it fair to put that much pressure on a team? To answer my own question, yes it is fair to put that amount of pressure on a team, a team that Wayne Gretzky said was one championship away from being called a dynasty.
When the Stanley Cup odds were released in July it was no surprise that the Hawks were the odds on favorite to win the 2015 Stanley Cup, at 7/1 odds. The Hawks were one bounce away from a second straight trip to the Stanley Cup and what many believe would’ve been a second straight championship. The Hawks are a team poised to dominate for the next five to ten years even with their salary cap conundrum. The only team standing in their way is the Los Angeles Kings. Now that the Blackhawks are a little more solid up the middle with the addition of Brad Richards they should be able to match the Kings there. With that said, the Kings and the Hawks will duke it out over the next few years to decide who will be the NHL’s next dynasty.
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So if the Hawks don’t win the Cup this year, will the season be dubbed a failure? In my opinion, it won’t necessarily be a failure, but it will definitely be a disappointment. If the Blackhawks can avoid injury and if Brad Richards can solidify that second line, there is no reason why they will not be bringing the Stanley Cup back to Chicago this summer. If the Hawks didn’t want such lofty expectations thrust upon them, then they shouldn’t be so good. Because with a great team, comes great expectations, and the Hawks are a great team.
What do you think? Is this a Stanley Cup or Bust season?
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