I’m sure most of us here know the expression, “The Future is Now!” or “The Time Is Now!” Well this is definitely the case for the Chicago Blackhawks.
I remember before the NHL season began I said that the Blackhawks and Capitals would meet in the Stanley Cup Finals with Chicago winning. Although the Capitals part may not come true this year, the rest of it is still alive and well.
Chicago has made it to the Western Conference Finals and it looks like a sure thing that they will win. Yesterday they took a commanding 3-0 series lead on the San Jose Sharks. Although they stretched out the win all the way to overtime, they got the decision and now are in a very comfortable position to close out the series and move on to the finals.
I think of all teams, San Jose can not pull off a four-game comeback. We all know how hard it is to pull off one of those. Ask this year’s Philadelphia Flyers squad.
So I think it’s safe to say that the Chicago Blackhawks are off to the Stanley Cup Finals. Their opponent will be either the Philadelphia Flyers (seventh seed, East) or the Montreal Canadiens (eighth seed, East).
Both Philadelphia and Montreal have had similar roles in this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. They have played the role of giant killers. Philadelphia took out the New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins, while Montreal took out two Stanley Cup favorites, the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Both the teams have done incredible things and overcome amazing obstacles to get to the Eastern Conference Finals. With Montreal, nothing needs to be said really; you just look at who they eliminated. They’ve been terrific with their defensive play, and Jaroslav Halak has stood tall throughout the playoffs. Philadelphia came back from a 3-0 series deficit to beat the Boston Bruins 4-3 and move on to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Either way, Chicago’s opponent in the Stanley Cup Final will be a “giant killer,” and at this point Chicago is definitely a giant. The question is though: is this giant simply not going to be slayed?
The Blackhawks, in my mind, were always the Stanley Cup favorite (as I told you before). They have a terrific squad that just looks like a Stanley Cup team. They’re young, yet they play with playoff experience beyond their years.
Led by captain Jonathan Toews, the Blackhawks are ready. Toews is playing like a true captain these playoffs. He leads all players in points and assists in the playoffs. If the Blackhawks were to win the Stanley Cup, not only would he be lifting that trophy first, but he’d likely be lifting a Conn Smythe Trophy too.
Dustin Byfuglien is proving to be quite the clutch player too. He has stepped up in big time situations over and over again, as the playoffs continue this guy can only get more lethal.
Patrick Kane is currently tied with Sidney Crosby (yes he’s still up there) and Michael Cammalleri for the second highest point total in the NHL playoffs. Now it’s great when you have one star player that can put up points for your team, but when you have two? That’s just painful for the other team, and the fact that they’re on the same line makes them so much more lethal and dangerous in the playoffs.
Their rookie goaltender, Antti Niemi, has proved able to handle the playoffs. He’s played in net for the Chicago Blackhawks all playoffs and has not let up. Niemi has posted the most wins of all goaltenders in the playoffs, and is tied with Michael Leighton for most shutouts in the playoffs too (two each).
Chicago has plenty of talent on their squad. Guys like Marian Hossa, John Madden, Duncan Keith, Andrew Ladd, etc. will all contribute to the Stanley Cup push for the Chicago Blackhawks.
Personally, I’m thinking that the Chicago Blackhawks will meet the Philadelphia Flyers in this year’s Stanley Cup Finals. I don’t think the Montreal Canadiens are capable of handling the much bigger, tougher, and more offensively driven squad that is the Philadelphia Flyers. If those two meet in the final it won’t be an easy series for the Blackhawks, but will it won’t be easy for Philadelphia either.
I’m not going to start repeating myself and state all the things that make Chicago so dangerous again, but the point is Chicago is a force to be reckoned with. They’ve got defense, they’ve got offense, even a half-decent rookie goalie that has proven himself capable of carrying the team. They’ve got it all!
So when it comes to this year’s Stanley Cup Finals, don’t be surprised to see the Chicago Blackhawks lifting it in six games.
They say youth is wasted on the young; not in this case. Chicago’s youth is getting down to business and making their run for the big trophy, and guess what? It’s just finger tips away, so as long as they don’t let up now, soon enough all their names will be engraved on the Stanley Cup as the 2009-10 Stanley Cup Champions.
This article was originally posted on The Sports Dossier under the name "Forget The Future, The Time Is Now For The Chicago Blackhawks!" Check out more great pieces from our talented staff of writers.
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