When the lockout broke and teams reassembled, Chicago was once again without a true #2 center and lacked a proven goalie. Surely the season would end much the way the previous two had or even without a playoff berth at all. Funny how different everything looks this morning.
Some players advanced their games where others withdrew. Corey Crawford and Ray Emery formed the NHL’s best tandem in net. Dave Bolland was the proverbial square peg in the round hole on the second line. His series-clinching goal came as a fourth liner, flanked by noted penalty killers Marcus Kruger and Michael Frolik.
With a journey such as this, folks take notice and long to feel attached. These “fans” are unapologetically called bandwagoneers by dinosaurs like me. When Milan Lucic gave Boston the lead with 8 minutes to play, this particular group melted down. They can best be compared to an 8-year old with hotels on Boardwalk and Park Place landing on someone else’s property with a house. Our table at Pequods Pizza merely shook it off and knew the Blackhawks would stage a comeback.
To be honest, no one predicted what transpired.
17 seconds. The Boston Bruins’ run was arrested in all of 17 seconds. Fans in Toronto call what they felt schadenfreude.
My lasting take from the game will be much like when the Rangers won the Cup in 1994. When the clock was running out, helmets, gloves and sticks were being tossed in the air to celebrate. It should be noted that ex-Blackhawks and borderline Hockey Hall of Famer Steve Larmer was playing his man and back-checking.
With fewer than 10 seconds in game 6 last night, the man pressuring the puck at center ice was Jonathan Toews. In his most complete game of the series, finishing the full 60 minutes was the only thing on his mind. Writers tout how big players play big on the biggest stage. Toews was a joy to watch last night.
For the record, The Decadent Moose supported Corey Crawford for the Conn Smythe. Without Crow, it’s tough to imagine the Hawks getting out of the Detroit series. Patrick Kane came on like Sugar Ray Leonard the last 7 playoff games and won. We’re okay with that, too.
Congratulations to those that lifted the Stanley Cup for the first time and those that are making it somewhat of a habit in these parts. This is the most resilient team I’ve seen in ages. The Cup may have been awarded, but this squad earned it.
The final reveal, in order…
We thank you for your humor, Ms Portman. You are the lucky totem for this franchise. We love that you have embraced this tradition.