(SportSquee describes itself as "an online girls' locker room," and it's one of our favorite sites that celebrate female sports fandom. Margee is the Queen Bee of Squee, and agreed to break down some of the top Stanley Cup contenders from a female puckhead perspective, as we head into the playoffs. Here's her take on the Chicago Blackhawks. Check out the rest of the Girls Guides here.)
It's that time of year again! Time to accept the fact that your team just may not make the playoffs. Time, yet again, to clear the trumpets and the calliope out of the way so that you can jump on the bandwagon of a whole new team for eight weeks. But how to choose what wagon to which one should hitch oneself? Here's your handy-dandy guide to picking your post-season team.
Why You Should Root For Them
Cool Guy: Rocky Wirtz
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are the no-brainer choices for team Cool Guys. I mean, they've given the franchise a facelift, a shot in the arm and a blood transfusion in two short seasons. And neither is old enough to buy a sixer of PBR. But we'll throw an honorary title to owner Rocky Wirtz.
You have to admit that he's responsible for a great deal of the success of the new look Blackhawks. The Blackhawks environment was the least hospitable to fans in the entirety of sports. Owner Bill Wirtz seemed determined to make even the most stalwart Hawk-lovers forget about the team. Games weren't broadcast locally, no effort was made to improve personnel, and all the face-to-face with fans stuff that other teams were doing was uniformly ignored.
Once Rocky inherited the team from the now-deceased elder Wirtz, he jumped right into undoing a lot of the damage that was done during his father's tenure. He cut a deal to show Blackhawks games to Chicago-area fans, he strengthened the front office, including trotting out Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull as "hockey ambassadors" for the team, and held the teams first fan convention.
All of this serendipitously coincided with the arrival of Kane and Toews, two fresh faces to front the team. As the young Pittsburgh Penguins proved, a little bit of effervescent youth can go a long way towards revitalizing a team. And Kane and Toews brought the fizz back to Chicago. The Blackhawks are one of the most exciting young teams in hockey right now, and a great deal of the credit must go to Wirtz the Younger for shaking it up.
Street Cred: Original Six Class
There is a certain amount of olde-tyme charm about the Blackhawks franchise.
They are an Original Six team, but they don't have the major hardware (Canadiens, Red Wings, Bruins) or the corporate smack (Rangers, Leafs) that makes you resent the other Original Six franchises. Plus, there's the quaint uniform, that hasn't changed much since the team's inception.
Chief Black Hawk's mug is a classic. Though, very un-PC.
Ninja: Duncan Keith
The big deal in the off-season was the signing of Brian Campbell, but Duncan Keith has been quietly doing his thing for a while. He contributes on offense, is responsible on the blueline, then hangs up his helmet, picks up his lunchpail and goes home. With a bunch of bold-faced names on Chicago's roster, Keith can do his thing with his usual stealth. Plus, cool name.
Uterus Killer: Patrick Sharp
Why You Should Root Against Them
Franchise Rep: They're Young!
What makes the Blackhawks so intriguing also makes them seem like a less than sure thing. They're young and inexperienced. And will have to pool their face fuzz to cobble together a decent playoff beard until one of them hits puberty. Inexperienced teams tend to need at least one grueling (or humiliating, whichever) trip to the playoffs to season them before they can win the Cup. So if you invest in the Blackhawks for the post-season, know that there is strong potential for heartbreak.
Nerd Alert: Martin Havlat's joints
Let's just throw it out there, despite the game-winner in Game 1. Martin Havlat's shoulders and ankles SUCK. His shoulder is a douche and his ankle is an [expletive]. Just when brother is hitting his stride, some vengeful body part just craps out on him. When Havlat's on, he rivals the most dynamic players in the NHL.
But unfortch, he's more often recuperating somewhere with a stack of Us Weekly's and his shoulder packed in ice than he is in uniform. Someone has got to step in and give Havlat's connective tissue a talking-to. No more tears, sprains, or snaps, guys. Because the Blackhawks will need him. He's one of the few guys who can grow a legitimate beard.
Low Point: Not Winning the Cup Since the Early Sixties
The Blackhawks haven't won the Stanley Cup since the 1960-61 season. Ouch. There has been some bad mojo following this team around for a while, with the Cup drought and the Bill-Wirtz-ing. Things are starting to clear up, but keep in mind that there could still be some bad juju following this team into the post-season.
Margee is the editor of SportSquee. Her message to the readers: "Attention all bitter ladies and sexually insecure gents, the previous was a joke. My tongue is boring a hole into my cheek as I write these."