After a long offseason, hockey is finally back! The Hawks played their first two games of the season already and so far the Bedard hype seems to have been warranted. How long has it been since Hawks fans had real optimism and have been able to watch with purpose while knowing the team’s clear direction?
The past few years the Blackhawks have seemingly been stuck in neutral. Not good enough to make the playoffs but not quite among the worst teams in the league (except last year). The previous regime wanted to keep the old core around and try to remain competitive instead of rebuilding, which only furthered the Hawks stagnation. Bowman’s attempts only led the team to mediocrity, which is just about the worst place a sports team can be. Davidson has obviously taken a different approach so far, and in my opinion, it is a far better option.
It was tough for Hawks fans to watch this team last year. As a fan you always want to root for them to win, but also understand that losing is better for the team in the long run. It was easier for fans to skip out on watching games when the team is losing a ton and there is not much excitement to be had. It’s always a tough spot for fans to be in, ideally, the best outcome is always for your favorite team to be winning.
A good example of this was against the same Penguins team they opened this year against. Last year, the Hawks had a massive win over Pittsburgh which essentially knocked them out of the playoffs. These are moments that you love as a fan of a team, but the fan base (myself included) was not exactly thrilled. Gaining wins during that point of the late season had massive draft implications. The Hawks were in a race to the bottom with Anaheim and Columbus, and a win over Pittsburgh could mean they lose out on Bedard. It all worked out for the Hawks in the end, but at the time a lot of people were genuinely lamenting with each goal the hawks scored.
The Blackhawks are still going to be rebuilding, and nobody is expecting them to make the playoffs. However, now we can watch games with the addition of the new young talent the team has added and root for something other than a loss. Even if the team doesn’t do well in the end and still ends up picking high this year, it feels like there’s real purpose to watching games hoping for a win and to see the new young players shine. I know I have felt differently when watching this team so far this year and I’m sure other Hawks fans feel the same way. The Hawk’s comeback win over Pittsburgh on Tuesday was the most exciting win this team has had in a while and felt more satisfying than years past. This team is only getting started and fans have plenty to be optimistic about this season and for the foreseeable future.