Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks’ Playoff Streak: Chicago Sports Since Last Miss

By Colin Likas
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 28: Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy answers questions from the media during the NFL Scouting Combine on February 28, 2018 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 28: Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy answers questions from the media during the NFL Scouting Combine on February 28, 2018 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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The Chicago Blackhawks were mathematically eliminated from postseason contention on Tuesday for the first time since the 2007-08 campaign, a lengthy streak

It’s been a long time since the Chicago Blackhawks have not been part of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The last time the team did not qualify was during the 2007-08 season, when they finished three points behind the Nashville Predators (and tied with Edmonton and Vancouver) for the last position.

The Blackhawks on Tuesday were mathematically eliminated from the postseason by way of their 5-1 loss to Colorado. That 2007-08 Chicago club finished with 88 points. These Blackhawks would be lucky to get anywhere close to that plateau, sitting at 69 points with eight games left.

Let’s take a look at the Blackhawks roster the last time they failed to make the playoffs:

FORWARDS

Adam Berti, Bryan Bickell, Rene Bourque, Ben Eager, David Koci, Andrew Ladd, Tuomo Ruutu, Sergei Samsonov, Patrick Sharp, Kevyn Adams, Dave Bolland, Colin Frasier, Petri Kontiola, Robert Lang, Yanic Perreault, Martin St. Pierre, Jonathan Toews, Craig Adams, Mike Blunden, Troy Brouwer, Adam Burish, Martin Havlat, Patrick Kane, Martin Lapointe, Jack Skille, Kris Versteeg, Jason Williams

DEFENSEMEN

Cam Barker, Dustin Byfuglien, Jordan Hendry, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Magnus Johansson, Duncan Keith, Danny Richmond, Brent Seabrook, Brent Sopel, Jim Vandermeer, James Wisniewski, Andrei Zyuzin

GOALTENDERS

Corey Crawford, Nikolai Khabibulin, Patrick Lalime

I took the laborious effort of italicizing players who are still in the league presently, as well as bolding and italicizing players who are with the Blackhawks today. Pretty small list.

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So what else has happened in Chicago sports since the Blackhawks last missed the postseason, beyond all of these changes to the team’s roster?

Chicago Cubs

Well, there was the end of that World Series drought in 2016. The Cubs hadn’t won the MLB championship since 1908, which really puts the Blackhawks falling short of the playoffs this season into perspective.

But it wasn’t all fun and games for the Cubs while the Blackhawks were constantly qualifying for the playoffs. Chicago went through five managers during this time — Lou Piniella, Mike Quade, Dale Sveum, Rick Renteria and the currently-working Joe Maddon.

While the Blackhawks were constantly making the playoffs, the Cubs were doing the exact opposite. In 2008, the Cubs qualified and quickly lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Then, they didn’t make the postseason until 2015, after which they qualified each of the next two seasons.

The Cubs also got new ownership and a new general manager during the Blackhawks’ period of success. They’ve massively renovated (and are still renovating) Wrigley Field and its surrounding properties, with the Ricketts family getting into spats with rooftop owners as a result of this.

Chicago White Sox

While I mentioned before that the Cubs were essentially the exact opposite of the Blackhawks during the latter’s run of playoff success, the Chicago White Sox were the literal opposite.

After making the 2008 postseason and being quickly dumped by the Tampa Bay Rays, the White Sox have not sniffed playoff baseball since.

Despite this, they’ve gone through fewer managers than the Cubs in that same stretch, allowing only Ozzie Guillen, Don Cooper, Robin Ventura and the aforementioned Renteria to man the controls.

It hasn’t been all bad for the White Sox, though. Jose Abreu was the American League Rookie of the Year in 2014, the first such White Sox winner since Guillen in 1985. Pitcher Mark Buehrle also tossed a perfect game and a regular no-hitter during the Blackhawks’ period of excellence.

Chicago Bulls

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Though the Bulls have been a bit of a laughingstock this season, they’ve had the most consistent success of any Chicago big-market team during that run of Blackhawks playoff appearances.

The Bulls won two Eastern Conference and Central Division regular-season titles in the Blackhawks’ stretch of success. They made the NBA playoffs in eight of nine seasons while the Blackhawks were going a perfect nine of nine.

However, the Bulls went through three coaches in this time — Vinny Del Negro, Tom Thibodeau and Fred Hoiberg. They also saw their former No. 1 draft pick, Derrick Rose, win Rookie of the Year and the league MVP award while also getting injured a ton and eventually departing in 2016.

The deepest the Bulls went into a playoffs during this time was in 2011, when they lost in the Eastern Conference finals to the Miami Heat.

Chicago Bears

Oh boy. Do we really want to talk about this?

The Bears, like the Edmonton Oilers, have been on a never-ending rebuild. Outside of the 2010 season, when the Bears won a playoff game, they’ve mostly been a disaster while the Blackhawks were surging along.

Their best season in this stretch was a 10-6 campaign in 2012 — after which they fired coach Lovie Smith, who now leads the University of Illinois football team.

Since then, the Bears have been mired in mediocrity while going through Marc Trestman and John Fox as head coaches, recently hiring Matt Nagy to right the ship. The Bears finished second in the NFC North at just 8-8 in 2013, and since have gone 19-45 in four seasons.

If it weren’t for that one postseason run in 2010, I would say the Bears have been even worse in the Blackhawks’ run of success than the White Sox.

Other professional teams

The Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire haven’t had a whole lot of success while the Blackhawks have. They did not qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs in six of 10 seasons during the Blackhawks’ up period.

The deepest into the postseason the Fire have gone in that stretch was back-to-back conference finals losses in 2008 and 2009.

The Chicago Red Stars of the National Women’s Soccer League were in their infancy when the Blackhawks took off, with the Red Stars having been founded in 2006.

The Red Stars won a division regular-season title in 2011 and finished runner-up in two consecutive postseasons, during the 2011 and 2012 years.

The Arena Football League’s Chicago Rush became defunct during the Blackhawks’ great success. The club suspended operations in 2013 and is not part of the AFL at this time.

Next: Should Blackhawks Fire Quenneville, And Who Is Next?

So Blackhawks fans, take heart. This team could have been so much worse over the last 10 or so years.

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