Apparently, Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose don’t like each other.
Jay Cutler is still the Bears quarterback.
And until further notice, the Cubs are still the Cubs, and the White Sox have a manager who might not know what he’s doing. If you’re looking for something to complain about regarding Chicago sports, there certainly isn’t a shortage of targets.
Then there’s the Blackhawks.
In pursuit of their third Stanley Cup in five years, and currently battling in their fifth conference finals in the last seven, they find themselves as the obvious gold standard for Chicago sports.
You could almost consider them underappreciated.
Make no mistake, every time the puck drops at the United Center, it’s part of a not-yet-made motion picture about the defining hockey team of an era, and a Chicago team who will forever be listed alongside the 1985 Bears and 90’s Bulls.
Right now, the Blackhawks have four players who could drop their sticks tomorrow and still be able to comfortably prepare for their induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Of course, those would be numbers 2, 19, 81 and 88. Along with a slew of solid second tier players all backed up by dirty work role players, the team is constantly deep and dangerous.
However, with Kane and Toews signing their doppelganger extensions last summer, the Blackhawks find themselves in a precarious spot. With their two best players locked up throughout their prime years, the Blackhawks will always be a threat on any given night but their huge cap numbers will decimate their trademark depth.
The team that takes the ice for the 2015-2016 season will be a drastically different one than the team that just dismantled the Minnesota Wild. Stalwarts like Patrick Sharp and Corey Crawford could be collateral damage of the Kane and Toews’ deals.
The dangers of committing so much money to two players can be exemplified by the Pittsburgh Penguins, as they have both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin signed to big contracts. The Penguins hoisted the Cup in 2009 but have only managed to be moderately competitive in the years since.
While it’s a wonderful time to be a Blackhawks fan, it’s also a nerve wracking one. This could be the last truly great Blackhawk team Chicago sees for decades.
It’s hard to realize a great moment while in the midst of it. It feels like the party will go on forever.
This is why you’re a sports fan. You slog through so many forgettable seasons so that maybe once you’ll be lucky enough to have a team like the Blackhawks for one year, let alone have a team whose success is closing in on a decade.
That’s where Chicago fans find themselves with the Blackhawks, a team with so much established success that the idea that they aren’t making a deep playoff run every May seems laughable.
However, greatness ends.
Kobe’s Lakers are gone, Brady’s Patriots may very well be on their way out, and the New York Yankees are a Jeter-less bunch of highly paid old guys now. Things run their course; which is why it’s so important to understand the gravity of the Kane-Toews Blackhawks right now.
Someday, the Blackhawks will be just like today’s Bears, Bulls, Cubs and White Sox. Fans filled with anger and disappointment as their team fails to reach the mountain top like they did back in the team’s glory days.
These are still the glory days for the Chicago Blackhawks. Just remember to take it all in once in awhile, because you never know when you’ll see a team like this again.
(Featured Image courtesy of swimfinfan)