The greater majority of spectators at the June 10th final of the Stanley Cup playoffs probably weren’t alive the last time that the Chicago Blackhawks grabbed the brass ring. None of the players on this championship team had been born, and many of their parents hadn’t either. The Blackhawks had struggled for half a century, never being able to achieve the top spot in the league. A storied past that included 13 division titles and 3 Stanley Cups didn’t amount to much before the 2010 finish.
The Philadelphia Flyers put up an impressive battle at home to stop them, but the Blackhawks were not to be denied. Thanks to the efforts of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and a fine supporting cast, the Chicago Blackhawks have achieved the bragging rights for this year, and they are already looking to the next. Canadian Toews won the MVP award and Kane, an American, scored the winning goal in overtime. Everyone knew these two players were game changers when they entered the league together, and Kane remarked at his first camp that the team as a whole would accomplish great things.
Doomsayers point to salary cap requirements and say that the same team will not be around when the season resumes, and there is some truth in that because it will be necessary for the champions to scale back salaries. Following any successful year, players are expected to petition for more money, and if there isn’t any forthcoming, it generally means a change of address for them. Kane and Toews aren’t going anywhere for sure, but they won’t have the same supporting class they’ve grown accustomed to having. Next season’s Chicago Blackhawks will be a competitor, but will a restructured team be good enough to repeat as champs?