Hawks clinch third cup in six years
By Peter Santo
This word is very often overused in sports, but since commissioner Gary Bettman used it during the ceremony last night, I’ll give myself a pass, the Chicago Blackhawks truly have a dynasty.
The Hawks clinched their third cup in six years last night with a 2-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. For a team that appeared to be outplayed by their younger Lightning counterparts in the first four games, they fought back valiantly and rode their experience to victory.
The Blackhawks were able to deliver a cup that meant so much to so many, players and fans alike. 40 year old defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who came over from Philadelphia in desperate search for a Cup, will retire a champion. Goaltender Corey Crawford went from being benched in round one against the Predators to putting together a shutout to clinch the Cup. And let’s not forget Conn Smythe winner Duncan Keith. Keith played an unfathomable 30:16 in game 6, and oh yeah, he had the game winning goal.
This series had a very similar feel to the one two years ago against the Boston Bruins. In 2013 the Bruins put up a great fight just like the Lightning did this year, but you never got the sense that either team was going to win the Cup. They were simply outplayed by a better team.
It doesn’t look like the dynasty will end anytime soon either, with Toews and Kane both signed long-term, the core is in place for Cup runs for years to come. But their Eastern counterparts in Tampa Bay, who were very clearly the best team in the Eastern Conference, have just one free agent and will look to make another run next year.
Gary Bettman, amidst what have become traditional boos, must be sick of handing the cup off to Jonathan Toews. But there is no more deserving player, or team, than the Hawks. “What did I do right to deserve this?” said Toews. Well Jonathan, you did something right, because the Hawks are champions again.