It's been a long time since one could get excited about a season for the Chicago Blackhawks.
When one usually thinks of the Blackhawks, the first things that come to mind are greats from the past such as Stan Mikita, Tony Esposito, Ed Belfour, and Bobby Hull. Also, one might think of the past few disappointing seasons that the 'Hawks have had, or the terrible management of the team.
But not any more.
In 2007 and 2008, the entire Blackhawks organization went through a shakeup of epic proportions—which was entirely brought about by the death of one man, Bill Wirtz.
After his death, along came Rocky. I don't think that there is a single hawks fan out there that doesn't praise what he did to the Blackhawks organization. Rocky Wirtz truly saved this team, and did it by pretty much abandoning everything that his father had put in place.
As chairman, Rocky brought John F. McDonough, former president of the Chicago Cubs, in as the new president, Scotty Bowman, as the new Senior Advisor, and had Dennis Savard in as head coach, all of them with four goals.
They brought back the fan base by holding the first-ever Blackhawks convention, and—in possibly one of the most celebrated decisions so far—agreed to televise all 82 regular-season games. I also can't wait to see the reaction to having the Winter Classic here against Detroit.
So, Goal 1? Check.
Their second goal was to bring back ties to their past and make legends Stan and Tony feel welcome by making them Chicago Blackhawk Ambassadors. They held special events to honor both of them—and in doing so, gained the support of older fans.
Goal 2? Check.
Their third goal was to build a team that would take the league and the fans by storm. And, well—let's evaluate their efforts.
In 2007, they picked up Patrick Kane, and he went on to win the Calder Trophy this last season. They also got Jonathan Toews, who contended for the Calder. This offseason, they acquired the two most sought-after free agents, Brian Campbell and Cristobal Huet.
So let's see—great forwards, check. A decent goalie, check. An All-Star defence (Campbell and Keith), check.
The one doubt that many fans have is the depth of this team, which is understandable. I mean you don't turn out a perfect team after a one-year turnaround. But it's one hell of an improvement. Which is pretty much all fanswere essentially looking for—an improvement.
So, it appears that the Blackhawks have brought both pride and intense anticipation for the season back to Chicago.
Final Goal? Bring home a Cup.
Though it would great to see the Hawks win the Cup this year, it's most likely not going to happen. Give them a year or two or three and they will be Cup contenders, but one year is not enough to bring a team to that level.
Nevertheless, I'm looking forward to see them to have an exciting season and to make the playoffs.
Prediction: Sixth or Seventh in the Conference.
Note: This is my first article, hope you enjoyed it, and if you have any criticism or pointers, please let me hear them.
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