I don’t know how many days it took to reach this point last year, but I think this beard is fuller than last year’s. I have no way of quantifying this other than just recollection and what other people tell me. But that has to be good, right?
The Blackhawks are right back where they were last year. Game 7 of the Conference Finals. One win away from the Stanley Cup Final. Except this time they are on the road. Except this team is better than last year’s team.
Game 6 was a perfect example of the way the Blackhawks are capable of playing when they put it all together for 60 minutes. We’ve been waiting for them to play like that consistently all year. I hope now that the Hawks have found that level of play, they’ll be able to bring it tonight because they’re going to need it.
There’s so much at stake tonight. First is a chance at redemption. Last year’s conference finals were kind of a de facto championship round. The Blackhawks likely would have beaten the New York Rangers for the Stanley Cup last year, just as the LA Kings did. If one bounce, one deflection, one tiny thing goes differently in overtime of Game 7 vs. LA, the Hawks would have had that chance. So here they are. A year later and a better team, to try once more.
I’ve been putting off talking about what the Blackhawks are going to look like next year because it’s always better to worry about what’s happening right now, as far as rooting for your favorite team is concerned. But those guys in that locker room know the score. While I think the overall effect it will have on the Hawks is overblown, Capocolypse II: Electric Boogaloo is coming. Some guys who have been around for awhile will be leaving either via trades or free agency so the Blackhawks can stay under the salary cap.
So there’s another means of motivation for the Blackhawks. This is the last chance for this team, at least with some of the current core members, to win a championship together. I think the desperation will be there tonight. All that being said, it’s no guarantee that they will win.
That’s all I’ve got to say. I hope that I can keep my beard and will be writing again next week. Grab a drink and whatever else you need to keep calm. Someone needs to, because I’ve been pacing back and forth in my living room for an hour already today. LET’S GO HAWKS!!!