Friday, May 15, 2009

Here come the 'Hawks, the mighty Blackhawks!

Well, here we are.

The resurrected Chicago Blackhawks will begin their first conference final on Sunday against the hated Detroit Red Wings. I'm not going to labor under any notion that the 'Hawks can win this series. The Wings are the defending champion, their bench is deep, and they are simply an awesome team.

That being said, this is PLAYOFF HOCKEY, where anything can happen, and usually does. Take the fact that the 'Hawks are even here as an example.

Playoff hockey is magical. I find it very difficult to watch on television because I need to see the entire ice to know what is going on. So much of what happens in hockey takes place away from the puck...the matchups, the checking, the strategy. I find myself sitting on the edge of my seat or standing during a televised playoff game trying to ward off the inevitable anxiety attack of not knowing what is happening and then suddenly "HE SHOOTS HE SCORES!!!!" It takes a lot out of me.

The Blackhawks are still owned by the Wirtz family, and since Bill passed away a few years ago, his son, Rocky, has done a great job of running the team. He hired John McDonough (formerly Cub president) as team president, he has reached out to former greats such as Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita and Tony Esposito to become ambassadors for the team, and more importantly, all games, home and away, are televised. Thanks to former 'Hawk player and broadcaster Dale Tallon's drafting and trading acumen, the team is young, fast, and not aware that they are underdogs.

This will be fun.