Jun 13, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Antoine Vermette (right) celebrates with left wing Teuvo Teravainen (86) after scoring a goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the third period game five of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
There’s few that would argue against the statement that the NHL playoffs are the most grueling in all of professional sports. If you’re a team like our beloved Chicago Blackhawks however, the word grueling is perhaps too weak a descriptor.
During the past seven years, the Blackhawks have only made two first round exits from the playoffs. The other five have either seen them in the Western Conference Finals or go all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. Factor in this with the regular season, and you have a lot of hockey that these players must endure.
Sure you can spout off any Nike or Gatorade slogan about desire, the heart of a champion, etc., but all that mental, physical, and emotional wear and tear certainly carries a price after a while. So if you’re like me, from time to time you have wonder how a team like the Blackhawks stay motivated throughout the same onslaught year after year, especially when you have a roster full of players with at least one Stanley Cup and Olympic Medal under their belts; accomplishments many NHL players don’t achieve in their entire life career.
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I know Jonathan Toews has said that winning the Stanley Cup once makes you want to win it again and again, but players like Captain Serious who are disciplined and determined decades beyond their age are the exception not the norm, lest we forget Patrick Kane’s “immature” antics post 2010’s Cup. So while Toews’ sentiment certainly holds water, we average Chicago denizens will just have to take his word for it. However, I think this evening’s game will have an additional and unique motivation that Hawks fans will perhaps find a bit more relatable.
As you’ve probably heard, tonight for the first time since the Great Depression, Lord Stanley’s Cup will be in Chicago prior to our boys in red, white, and black, rightfully claiming it as their own. Herein lies that unique motivation for the Hawks.
While it’s never be outright declared, I would think at this point it’s safe to say the Blackhawks of the Kane-Toews era are motivated by making history, especially because they’ve already demonstrated how consistently good they are at it. While this Hawks team has already ended a near 50 year Stanley Cup drought and strung together a record-making regular season point streak, they have had their missed opportunities to add to their legacy, the most prominent being putting together back-to-back Stanley Cup winning seasons, which eluded them by one overtime goal last year.
Thus, I can’t imagine the opportunity to win the Stanley Cup in Chicago for the first time in nearly 80 years is lost on the Blackhawks, and I’m sure it’s something the Madhouse on Madison will keep fresh in their minds every second of tonight’s game.
It’s time to make some more history tonight, boys – Go Hawks!
FOR THE DAGGER!
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