“The whole game was some pretty good hockey…” — Corey Crawford
“But a funny thing happened on the way to elimination: The Blackhawks tapped into the championship heart that led them to titles in 2010 and 2013.” –Shawn P. Roarke, NHL.com Editorial Director
“Handshake line at the United Center? These defending Stanley Cup champions wouldn’t do that to their fans…” — Bob Verdi, Blackhawks Team Historian
“… Coaching staffs might have aged, but if it was the first hockey game you ever watched and you are not hooked, consult your doctor immediately.” — Bob Verdi
“Michal Handzus, that Slovakian speed demon you all know and love…” — John Greenberg, ESPNChicago.com
“…they won the old-fashioned playoff way, with shifts getting shorter and beards growing longer.” — Bob Verdi
“Handzus stars in ‘The Old Man and the See I Told Ya so'” — Chicago Tribune headline by Steve Rosenbloom
“But reliable Ben Smith snatched it back early in the third period, making it 4-4, and as time passed, not a creature was stirring the UC parking lots, not even a mouse.” — Bob Verdi
“How athletes on either side found the gumption to produce such stellar theater is a marvel, but now you know why you never see a fat hockey player.” — Bob Verdi
And, just in case you missed this from last week, I think it’s only fitting to run it again:
THE 25 REASONS I THINK THE CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS ARE SO COOL
1. They wear “Glamour-Don’t” uniforms and make them look great. I’m sure they never ask any of their teammates if their pads make their butts look big.
2. They are the definition of teamwork. At least publicly, no one acts like a star without whom the team would fall apart. And, even when one of the players that’s particularly good and whose presence is missed is out due to an upper or lower body injury, another player steps up and gets the job done. And, if a player from another team hits one of our guys in a particularly unnecessary or malicious way (legal hit, or not), one of our guys will see to it that justice is served.
3. They are the definition of humility. I’ve never heard a player take all the credit for a goal or even an assist. When interviewed they’ll say the only reason they were able to make that goal was because of a great pass from someone else.
4. They’re manly enough to wear helmets and mouth-guards.
5. They take naps.
7. They talk to the press anytime and anywhere, and are gracious about it.
8. They have wives and kids.
9. The team is a family and their families are part of the Chicago Blackhawks extended family. (Notice the absence of the word “dysfunctional!”) Look, I don’t know what goes on behind closed doors, but unlike other athletes who live their lives like a reality TV show, the entire Chicago Blackhawks family is classy in public. (There might be exceptions, but that’s not my point.)
10. Moms and Dads are invited on trips with their sons and get to see what goes on behind the scenes.
11. Statistics. I learn something new from Eddie Olcyzk, Pat Foley, or Doc Emrick every time I watch or listen to a game. Someone keeps track of each player’s statistics, but someone also keeps track of how many years a trainer, physical therapist, doctor, equipment manager, and anyone else who has any affiliation with the organization has been with the team; and they are appreciated and their dedication is celebrated.
12. To my knowledge, there are no plastic surgeons in the locker room. These guys get slashed, get stitches, and get back out on the ice to play. As a Jewish Mother, I’m not saying I necessarily agree with this practice, but it does deserve to be mentioned. Each player wants to make a difference and knows he can’t do it sitting on the bench.
13. They give back to the City of Chicago in more ways than I can list here.
14. They know how to have fun. Check out BMO Harris Bank’s #TeamAlwaysWithYou commercials starring the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks on YouTube. (http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%23teamalwayswithyou)
More fun: The team voted Patrick Sharp as the Biggest Prankster. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVOnXDOQ7NE)
15. They all grow beards during playoff season, some more manly than others, even though some of them are only 19 or 20 years old and still practically going through puberty.
16. They beat each other up on the ice but act in a very dignified and sportsman-like manner when shaking hands with the opposing team after a playoff series, whether they lost or won a few minutes prior. It’s especially nice when two guys who had just practically knocked each other senseless shake hands, slap each other on the back, and say, “Good games, eh?”
17. When one of the team members has a family crisis, the entire team offers support, as if whatever happened affected each of them personally.
18. Which brings me to their Alumni Association: (http://www.blackhawkalumni.com)
WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE DO
In 1987, a group of retired Blackhawk players got together to discuss their future in the Chicago community. Their main objective was to “give something back” to Chicago and to the sport of hockey. In that meeting they developed a three-fold mission statement for the non-profit Chicago Blackhawk Alumni Association.
• To provide a scholarship fund for the “most deserving” high school hockey players in Illinois.
• To become involved in community affairs and charitable causes.
• To protect and take care of their fellow alumni: “Players helping Players.”
19. The Chicago Blackhawks love their fans, and show it by raising their sticks in salute to them after every home game. Check out The Fan Zone (http://blackhawks.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=86087)
20. They honor our county’s veterans at every home game.
21. Two words: Tommy Hawk. ‘Nough said.
22. Two more words: Jim Cornelison. Nobody sings our National Anthem better and no stadium shows its appreciation more than Chicago Blackhawks fans. The United Center is called The Madhouse on Madison for a reason.
23. I don’t think any of the team members are from Chicago, yet they are great ambassadors of The City.
24. In short, they make Chicagoland proud.
25. And the best reason of all: I’m going to the playoff game tonight!!!
We didn’t win that night. BUT WE WON LAST NIGHT!