(Ed. Note: As the Stanley Cup Playoffs continue, we’re bound to lose some friends along the journey. We’ve asked for these losers, gone but not forgotten, to be eulogized by the people who knew the teams best: The bloggers and fans who hated them the most. Here is Chris Link, semi-retired Nashville Predators blogger, fondly recalling the 2016-17 Chicago Blackhawks.)
(Again, this was not written by us. Also: This is a roast and you will be offended by it, so don’t take it so seriously.)
By Chris Link
It seems strange to pen a good-bye to the Chicago Blackhawks.
This is a team that has already died once before, accidentally adopting the Pittsburgh Penguins’ patented strategy of failing their way to success. Who knew that years of cynical mismanagement would result in a sea of entitled drunkards whose guttural cries are as predictable as they are tired and hollow. A pack of celery salt scarfing dude-bros in snapback hats and knockoff black-ice Kane jerseys purchased from a plywood shack sitting at the intersection of one of the tiered sewer lines Chicagoans call a ‘street system’ who want nothing more than to descend onto Nashville for some of those sweet, sweet free jello shots.
I would like to offer a special thank you to the visiting Chicago fans. I know you love to hate the “Keep the Red Out” campaign by the Predators, despite the long history of NHL teams making use of restricted ticketing programs. But that’s never stopped you. You still manage to find your way into the arena, time after time.
I must also say thank you as, during this most recent series, fewer of you managed to piss yourselves and pick fights with cops. Though your good behavior likely represents a loss of city revenue, we appreciate you going out of your way to elevate yourselves into a presentable state for the last two games of what was a long and arduous playoff series. Although it definitely made it more difficult for Predators fans to complete our Chicago Fans bingo card (credit to: https://twitter.com/ericshuff)
It seems strange to pen a good bye to the Chicago Blackhawks. Champions of the West. A dynasty in the making. A team that feels no pressure. In Patrick Kane’s own words, “We don’t really feel any pressure. All the pressure’s on them to win the next game.” Now, look into the eyes of a person who feels no pressure.
"i don't feel pressured. you're the ones who should feel pressured. i'm actually laughing." pic.twitter.com/H4K6zmIWan
— Trevor van der Bort (@trevor_0) April 19, 2017
Those are the eyes of a leader.
Those are the eyes of person who is about to get bounced from the playoffs, before clearing out his locker, hoping on a plane, and going back to treating Hamburg, NY as his own personal Pyongyang.
Those are the eyes of person who had spent three games getting outplayed by Harry Zolnierczyk.
Those are the eyes of a loser.
And lose they did. Even if the hockey media weren’t quite ready to surrender their near unanimous endorsement of Chicago and the human Juicero the Hawks call a captain.
But it’s true. We never gave up on the Hawks. Even though they managed to score zero goals at home. Even though the Predators and their fans never had to deal with the psychological warfare that is “Chelsea Dagger.” Even though they collapsed under Nashville’s pressure after taking a two-goal lead in Game 3. We never gave up on them until after the handshakes.
Where does this leave the Hawks and their fans?
Chicago is a franchise fighting a salary cap and numerous massive contracts to hang on to talent that both meet value (Kane, ugh) and will never live up to it (Toews, maybe if he stopped playing so much defense).
I can only assume the Hawks are going to spend the next few years chasing the Vancouver Canucks down corridors of futility trying to balance massive contracts, diminishing depth, and listless ticket buyers who may yet abandon the team they discovered seven long years ago. .
On the bright side, your next Stanley Cup should be right on the horizon!
After all, Chicago averages .065 Stanley Cups per season.
Oh, and we’re taking your goal song as tribute.
Chris Link is a semi-retired podcaster formerly with Up The Pucks and On The Forecheck and is probably best known for surrealist hockey blogging at OnTheForecheck.com. Link is probably the only Nashville Predators blogger who has written about the impact of fairy sex on the development of Finnish goaltending prospects.
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