Photo courtesy of sxc.hu.
Alex Veeneman, News Editor
When the Chicago Blackhawks resumed their regular season play after time off for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, it was not easy going. The team had been in competition with the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference for a top spot and No. 1 seed.
No one would have been able to predict what went wrong, as Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews would be out of the line- up because of a lower-body injury and an upper-body injury, respectively.
With that announcement, there was panic and concern— all would be lost as two of the top stars of not just the Blackhawks, but the entire NHL, were sidelined. Playoff dreams would be over as the Blackhawks would exit the season in April.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville didn’t see it that way.
“I think we’re looking at it in a positive way, that I think this rest is going to be good for these guys,” Quenneville said according to a report from the NHL web site. “We’re getting these guys some rest. We want to make them fresh and get them excited, knowing they’ve been off. They love playing and I think it creates an appetite as well. I think the amount of hockey and the big stages they’ve been [on] over the course of one season, I think this is only going to be viewed as a positive from our standpoint.”
And so, with that in mind, the Hawks took to home ice for one last time for the regular season April 9 against the Montreal Canadiens, who also made changes to their lineup. Star goalie Carey Price remained in Quebec, but Josh Hands, P.K. Subban and Peter Budaj led for the Habs, who had done well this season.
Yet, the Habs’ hopes would be dashed, and the certainty of success for the Blackhawks would be restored, thanks especially to Corey Crawford, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa. They would win 3-2 in overtime in what would be a preview of Blackhawk hockey, Stanley Cup style.
However far the Hawks may go during these playoffs, now with Kane and Toews back and making successful contributions, they demonstrated in one night the true passion of a hockey team—the coordination between players, the spirit of competition, the ability to use superior skills to the best of their ability and the fight and desire to win, despite the injuries that came their way.
It is why these Blackhawks, no matter if they hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup or not, are legendary, and will always be legendary.