I know what you are probably thinking. The Stanley Cup Playoffs do not feature the Blackhawks this year, so you might as well just skip the entire thing and watch some baseball until October.
With the Conference Finals finally here, there is a lot of great hockey left to go this season. As a Blackhawks fan, there are still some players and teams to root for. Here’s a rundown of who is left in the playoffs.
The Boston Bruins have returned to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2013. We all remember how that year ended.
In case you need a reminder, or just want to relive the greatest 17 seconds in NHL history, I’ll just leave this here for you.
The Bruins are a great team this year with great young players like David Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy lighting it up in this year’s playoffs.
One of the main reasons to root for the Bruins is they mirror what the Hawks could be in a few years. Boston missed the playoffs twice in 2015 and in 2016. During those two years, they drafted young guys that are now making a difference on their roster. Now, they are competing for a Cup with a group of young guys that include veterans who won with Boston in 2011.
The biggest reason to root against the Bruins: Brad Marchand
The way he plays the game speaks volumes and not in a good way. Punching players in the back of the head is not the right way to play at all.
The “Bunch of Jerks” have actually made it to the Conference Final. I don’t think I can name any reason to not root for this team. Not only do they have ex-Blackhawks players, Teuvo Teravainen and Trevor van Riemsdyk, but they also have these amazing rally towels! Don Cherry should win the Conn Smythe for his contributions to this team.
The Carolina Hurricanes have made hockey fun and they are a true underdog in these playoffs. That combination makes it hard to root against them.
St. Louis Blues
Honestly, I have a difficult time finding a reason to root for the Blues. The only thing the Blackhawks had over the Blues this season was the fact that the Blues were worse than them at one point this season.
St. Louis has been the best team in the NHL since January and could potentially win the cup. With most of the favorites eliminated, it’s truly anyone’s game. Now, if St. Louis were to win a cup, maybe they would just fold the team — fingers crossed!
Even if St. Louis wins, they would still need to win 5 more to tie the Hawks with 6 Stanley Cups. At least we have that to help keep our heads held high.
San Jose Sharks
San Jose went all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals back in 2016. Then, followed that experience up with a first and second round exit. Since Ovechkin won the Cup last season, the most worthy player to never raise the Stanley Cup is Joe Thornton.
Thornton has played hockey since before I was alive. He has an NHL career longer than any teams playoff drought. Get the man a Cup already!
The biggest reason to root for the Sharks is who they are playing in the Western Conference Finals. St. Louis in the Final might cause Patrick Kane to rip the rest of his hair out and no one wants to see that.
The only reason to root against the Sharks is the controversial 5-minute power play they had to send Vegas home for Round 1.
It will only be a matter of time before the Blackhawks are back in the Western Conference Finals. The Hawks have a lot of work to get back to that point. Hopefully developing prospects and bringing in some new players this summer via trade and free agency will help put the Hawks back on top. For now, we are all just going to have to watch Teuvo Teravainen and dream of the days when he helped bring the Cup to Chicago.