5 Signs That You Are a Spoiled Chicago Blackhawks Fan
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In this most improbable of seasons, the Chicago Blackhawks have allowed a city to become accustomed to greatness.
Killing penalties with ease? Not a problem. Scoring when needed to win a game or take it into extras? Not a big deal.
The harder question might be to think of something to complain about. Let's see; well Marian Hossa started out with four goals in the first two games, and now he only has nine goals total. And if that is one of the biggest criticisms we can think of, maybe we should just stop and enjoy the ride.
Bandwagoners and casual fans have hopped on this success train, and whether or not you can name more than five players on the roster or define icing, you're welcome. Bandwagoners and diehards alike are being spoiled with getting to watch stellar achievement.
Now standing at 19-0-3, Blackhawks fans have been treated to an almost embarassment of riches. There are five key signs that prove just how spoiled we are:
1.) You Don't Care If the Hawks Get Two Points, but They Must Get One
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As the seconds ticked in the waning minutes of the Blackhawks latest matchup with the Detroit Red Wings in the Motor City and the Blackhawks found themselves down 1-0, Blackhawks fans were thinking one thing: This would be the end of the streak.
Yet with 2:02 remaining, Patrick Kane slapped in the equalizer, and Chicago fans let out a collective sigh of relief. As regulation melted to nothing, the streak was preserved. It would be 22 straight games to start the season without a loss in regulation, and 28 dating back to the previous year.
At this point, a win in overtime would be nice, but it would be gravy. The team had what they needed, and that was the guarantee of at least one point and continuing an unprecedented run.
Overtime was still an exciting end to a great game, but it didn't feel as important as a game with the Red Wings normally would. The past few seasons, it has usually been these two teams battling for division and conference supremacy, and any point gained on Detroit would be crucial.
This isn't your normal year, however, and with the Blackhawks at 41 points and the Wings and St. Louis Blues only at 24 points apiece, the lead feels safe, especially because this group just doesn't care to lose.
Knowing this, some Blackhawks fans might have found themselves content with merely continuing the streak. Two points aren't a necessity right now and one point keeps the streak going, so if we can't get two, well that's OK.
If you found yourself having this mentality while watching on the TV or at the United Center, you probably aren't alone.
2.) You Wish They Would Win Each Game by More Than One Goal
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What makes the Chicago Blackhawks run even more impressive this season has been their ability to almost always find a way to win the close game.
Seeing a record of 19-0-3 would make you think of them as a dominant team, cruising through the season and putting down opponents with ease.
Surprisingly, this hasn't been the case. The Blackhawks are 12-0-3 in games decided by one goal, showing an ability to tighten the defense when needed and get timely scores. They've been a team that had struggled in shootouts in the past and this year, losing three of their first four shootouts before winning the last two.
If you had to find an Achilles heel on this Adonis of the NHL, it would be they aren't putting teams away and winning handily. Chicago fans are some of the most passionate in sports, and we are not easily satisfied. If we could ask for one improvement, it would be to start having some victories by two or three goals.
While moments like Hossa tying up the game against the Calgary Flames with seconds left and Toews whipping a sweet pass to Brent Seabrook for an overtime winner against the Columbus Blue Jackets are the moments we live for in hockey, you as a spoiled Blackhawks fan may now and then want to see a 4-0 or 5-1 game to put their foot down and show how good they are.
Before you angrily say well they recently beat the Blues in St. Louis 3-0, this is true, but they also recently barely beat the Blue Jackets 4-3 in overtime and the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 in overtime. The Oilers and Blue Jackets respectively are the two worst teams in the Western Conference.
It just goes to show that despite the scintillating start a spoiled fan could always find areas to improve, and the Blackhawks are completely capable of beating these teams by more.
3.) You Argue Who Is the Better Goalie Ray Emery or Corey Crawford
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The stats say it all. Corey Crawford is 10-0-3. He has a goals against average of 1.41 per game and a .945 save percentage. Ray Emery, the backup, is 9-0-0 with a goals against average of 2.02 per game and a .926 save percentage.
Bottom line, the Blackhawks have two starting goalies. Heck, they've had two All-Star goalies. The goalie in hockey is perhaps the most scrutinized position and that one guy (or two) you can ride through the playoffs if they are hot.
Normally, on your average team, fans will get upset with a goalie after their guy gives up three or four goals a few games in a row and say he stinks and this and that. Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks comes to mind as he has gotten his fair share of scrutiny from his own fans and hockey circles for being inconsistent and not living up to a contract, potential or what have you.
For the Blackhawks this year, there is confirmation that the media and fans have argued over who is the better goalie. There is such an optimistic outlook that there is Team Crawford and Team Emery and a lot of fans for fun say which they think is better and why.
Last season, in the playoff series against the Phoenix Coyotes and at times in the regular season, fans didn't always have as nice of things to say about Crawford. That is in the past and shows how special this goalie love is.
Goaltending depth is a blessing for anyone in the league, and there is no greater proof of being spoiled than saying you like both your goalies and would be happy to see either in net on any given night rather than saying they're both awful.
4.) You Start to Think Maybe They Can Go the Whole Season Like This
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Admit it, Blackhawks fan; you are a dreamer. You've dreamed the big dream of drinking out of Lord Stanley's cup after bringing it back to its rightful place (which we will get to in the next slide), and you've thought just about how long this streak can go.
You'll be the first to shamefully confess you thought the Blackhawks would no longer be undefeated in regulation after their first game in LA against the defending champion LA Kings. They were having the banner ceremony, and well, you thought the Blackhawks would probably lose by a couple goals. We don't blame you; we did too.
Instead, here we are a month and a half after that first game, and the Blackhawks are still loss-less in regulation. The Blackhawks are 22 games into a strike-shortened 48-game season. In a regular year if they started out like this, they would for sure surpass the 100-point plateau and would certainly have a higher amount of losses after 82 games.
The big dream that Blackhawks fans may not be fully willing to verbalize to their fellow red sweater wearers is they've envisioned a perfect season. Forty-eight games isn't as long as 82, and two more games and they've already made it halfway into the season playing like this.
The NHL record without a regulation loss is 35 games by the 1979-1980 Philadelphia Flyers, and that is getting more and more in sight for this team. Realistically, a perfect season won't happen. If the Blackhawks were to finish 38-4-6, fans will still take it.
On the other hand, as long as the streak is intact, a spoiled fan will keep dreaming the dream.
5.) You Can't Help but Think They Are Destined to Win the Stanley Cup
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This has got to be the year. 2010 was also the year, but 2013 will be the second year. Two Stanley Cups in four years. Keep this up and people are going to start throwing "D" words like destiny and dynasty around.
Whew. The buzz and excitement is for real, and it gets fans excited. The rational fan will say it is early. The team has to be playing like this going into the playoffs to win it, and they're afraid they will cool off by then.
But 22 straight games, the magic from this year. A possible Presidents' Trophy. If this isn't the year they reclaim the Stanley Cup, when will it be?
Alas, we need to look back in history for some insight. The only time the Blackhawks won the Presidents' Trophy, which goes to the team with the most points in the NHL in the regular season, was back in the 1990-91 NHL season.
The Blackhawks were quite mighty that year too and had title aspirations after winning the trophy by going 49-23-8 and finishing with 106 points.
Sadly, the fervor swiftly turned to failure as that Blackhawks team didn't make it out of the first round. They lost to the Minnesota North Stars, who finished fourth in the division that year with 68 points, 4-2 in their playoff series.
Just last season, many will remember the Canucks won the Presidents' Trophy, and many thought they would finally break through and win their first title. Then a little team called the LA Kings that anyone would've volunteered to play at the start of the playoffs went and took it to Vancouver and knocked them out of the playoffs in just five games.
Top seeds lose all the time in the NHL, and these are just a couple examples. There is more parity in the NHL than say the NBA, where a team like the Miami Heat are not going to lose to the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs unless LeBron gets injured.
Anyway, Blackhawks fans also remember the joy of the 2010-2011 playoffs when they came so close to coming back from a 3-0 playoff deficit against the Canucks in the first round only to lose in overtime in game seven. Oh yeah, the Canucks won the Presidents' Trophy that year too.
Now that we feel a little more grounded, we know there is a lot of work still to be done. Whenever the streak finally does end, the Blackhawks will have to elevate their play to its best level come the end of April when they need it most. When that time comes, the Blackhawks will have one goal, one streak in mind, and that is streaking through the playoffs to a championship.
May we be so spoiled to get to see them finish the season like that.