NHL Western Conference Finals: It's All About The Hawks

Nucks IceManCorrespondent IMay 23, 2010

CHICAGO - MAY 21:  Fans cheer after Dustin Byfuglien #33 of the Chicago Blackhawks scores the game-winning goal in overtime to defeat the San Jose Sharks 3-2 in Game Three of the Western Conference Finals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center on May 21, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

When you think about the climb the Chicago Blackhawks have made, it's impressive.

It may seem like an eternity to their fans in hockey years. To an outsider, it's quite remarkable, considering Chicago finished last in the Western Conference, with 59 points, in the '03-'04 season.

Since then, it's been a slow, tedious journey.

They moved forward by assembling a team that emerged only two season ago, when the Blackhawks finally made it back to the playoffs.

Three season ago, I could see the talent rising to the top. Now, the Blackhawks are on the verge of breaking the current record for the longest time an NHL team has gone without winning the Stanley Cup (which now belongs to Toronto Maple Leafs).

The ‘Hawks last won the Stanley Cup in 1961, when they defeated the Detroit Red Wings. And yes, I do remember watching that. Even though at the time, I was a Montreal Canadiens fan.

It’s a just reward for the real fans, who stuck with the team through all the non-playoff years. 

Attendance numbers showed there were not a lot.

For those who hopped aboard a couple of years ago, stick with it this time. That’s what real fans do.

Has any captain had a better playoffs than Jonathan Toews?

This guy got the attention of hockey fans everywhere during the Winter Olympics. He's carried on right through the playoffs.

His stats (7G, 18 A) lead the playoffs, and he broke Stan Mikita's consecutive points streak record.

But, Toews play without the puck has really impressed me.

He has become a complete player at the tender age of 22. Toews leads on the ice with his feisty play. He typifies what the ‘Hawks are all about, talent and competitiveness second to none.

Yes, he is surrounded by an enormously talented supporting cast. But, the spotlight is on Toews.

Although Montreal’s Jaroslav Halak has played lights out in these playoffs, it looks like Philadelphia will close that remarkable run.

With that, my vote for the Conn Symthe trophy goes to Toews. He truly is most deserving.

I didn’t see this coming, with how the ‘Hawks have handled the San Jose Sharks.

I've watched the Sharks eat up the Canucks for over two season, in which the ‘Nucks couldn’t beat them (not once). I thought with the Sharks depth in lines, talent, size and goaltending, it would be a close series, possibly going seven games.

But, to be on the verge of being swept (written before the start of the fourth game). I could have never imagined.

So, even though the hurt still lingers from the playoff loss to these same ‘Hawks, I find myself cheering for Chicago (did I say that?). If it’s anyone that I would like to see win the Cup, it should be a team from the Western Conference, and one that the ‘Nucks lost to (at least we took them to six games).

Sorry, San Jose. I just don’t see your team being as exciting, fast, talented, junk yard dog tough, or controversial.

It will be a great Stanley Cup final, with two similar teams, like giant Sumo wrestlers, going head to head.

Mike Richards, Scottie Hartnell, Chris Pronger and the rest of the second coming of the Broad Street Bullies, you won’t be able to run over this team!