Stalled Parade: Kings 5 Hawks 4 (OT) Game Over, Man.

And so it ends, and I’ve had to use the Eleventh Dream Day song title in the headline that I really didn’t want to use. While I’m sure we’re all feeling like we’ve just been punched hard in the stomach by a bastard with fists of lead, there should be no shame tonight. These two excellent Hockey teams have put on an exhibition of a series and in the end it came down to the coinflip that is OT. The Kings won that, and the Hawks title defence is over, desperately short of the Final.

 

Before the game, I thought that the only way for this to end in failure would be a total capitulation by the Hawks, much like the last two periods of the Phoenix game in 2012. We didn’t see that tonight. instead we got another thrilling, enthralling, high-octane hockey game where both sides stayed within touching distance all night.  Everything was left on the ice, to use a hoary old cliche.  I’m proud of the team that I follow and I can’t really fault any of the players. The coach, on the other hand.. well, I’m not going to get into that, tonight. There is, sadly, going to be plenty of time for that in the weeks ahead. Instead I’m going to celebrate Brandon Saad going from a healthy scratch to a playoff beast, absoultely committed and fiery all night. I’ll cheer  Patrick Sharp who has steadily improved in this series and broke out with two goals tonight and got close to a Handsome-Trick. Toews, Kane and Hossa were monsters tonight, combative and engaged and dragging the Kings this way and that. Corey Crawford had an excellent game, nothing to do about any of the goals, also pulled off some remarkable saves. Ben Smith, Andrew Shaw and Marcus Kruger fulfilled their roles with aplomb.  The blueliners all had moments of offensive spark (Hjalmarsson-Shaw 2 on 1? Yes, that actually happened) and even though there were yippy moments, as there will be in a game played at this pace, they did their jobs well;.

Full credit has to go the Kings, too. They’re one hell of a hockey team. At times in this series I got an idea of what it feels like to be a fan of teams that have to face the Hawks: at no time did it feel like LA weren’t capable of coming back and turning the game on its head.

There aren’t going to be any talking points, or blow-by-blow breakdowns, not tonight. Instead I’d like to take this moment to thank Jeff, Jim, Adam and Chris, my fellow writers here, to thank the gifted PM Sellers, our most recent (and talented) addition, people like John, David, Derek, Staci, Tyler and Ger who have taken time to contribute and of course anyone who reads our ramblings. It’s been a fun year here on Cheer The Anthem and we’re going to have plenty more for you in the off-season that is now, sadly, ahead.

No shame, folks. Hockey is a cruel game sometimes. But the future is very, very bright and we’ve got our heads held high as we move towards it.

 

Goodnight (OK, morning, here) and Go Hawks.

 

 

4 comments
PagingDrSteele
PagingDrSteele

Been a die hard, religious Hawks fan since before I could walk 24 years ago, but just found this site for the first time. Loved every word of this post. It was an absolutely EPIC series, one for the history books, and while the final result felt like getting kicked in the throat, you have to be thankful for a serious like that. Two incredibly skilled and hard working teams, putting it all out there, battling, scratching, and clawing for every inch. And at the end, in the handshake line, to see the amount of respect the 2 teams have for each other was really cool. It was a series that was all about one thing.. Hockey. That's it. And that's how it should be.


DJ, I have to disagree with you on a few things.. The result of the season is a disappointment, a letdown, and while yes, technically a "failure" due to falling short of the season's ultimate goal, should not be immediately labeled an outright failure.. We got to see Brandon Saad develop and emerge as a serious play-maker and tremendous hockey player. We got to see Kaner as "Showtime", Johnny T as "Captain Serious" and "Captain Clutch." We got to see Crow improve his game, and watch him literally steal the game away from the Wild in their building, when our skaters got outplayed the whole game. Our guys now have a chip on their shoulder, and I believe they will step on the ice next season substantially better than they are now.. Which is scary when you think about it. I will agree with you that we definitely need a 2C in the off season. And there is absolutely NO ONE who was more furious and upset about the play of Versteeg and Bollig. But you're really going to criticize the decisions of Q? Really?  We're talking about 1 of 3 guys to win more than 700 games as a head coach in the NHL. Do I think that he favors his vets vs. younger guys? Yes. I was furious with the play of Zeus this post-season as well. But he also is trying to contend for the cup every year. He has a lot of pressure to do that. Am I saying he knows everything? No. Am I saying I agree with all his coaching decisions? No. Does the guy make mistakes? Of course. But I'm also not going to act like I could do what he does. 

As for the comment about the Kings just being "around when the body collapsed and became a corpse"... Not sure we were watching the same series.. The Hawks were one OT goal away from making it to the Final.. If the Hawks were playing any other team, their season wouldn't be over. Saying that the Kings just happened to be around when they went down is wrong. Flat out. The Kings and the Hawks are the 2 best in the league by far. And they both put on a hell of a show. I congratulated LA on a very well played and coached series all around. They f***ing earned their spot into the final with blood, sweat, and tears, not because they were in the right place at the right time. Give the Kings the credit they are due. We will probably see them next year in the Western Conference Final again.. And I can't wait for Kings-Blackhawks 3. It's going to be crazy. 


mightymikeD, thanks for the great post, and a great tribute to a Hawks team that I am very proud to cheer for. Looking forward to seeing the rest of the site.

wardrums
wardrums

"Desperately short of the final" - the best description of how we all felt as the puck descended,barely, into the net.

We made it till June, I'll take that any season. If winning the Cup is our only goal, we may as well start watching a different sport. Bounces often determine outcomes in this maddening game.

Great handshake line last night.

Ok, how many days until the first preseason game?

Yo Adrienne
Yo Adrienne

Thanks, mightymiked.  I appreciate that you decided to forgo the "autopsy" this morning, and instead dwell on what was good about the game and the series.  It's things like this that make CtA my favorite Blackhawks blog.  The future for this team is bright, indeed.  I can't wait for next season, and for what y'all have in store for us in the off-season.  Thank you!

DJ
DJ

"One Goal" is more than an ad slogan, or at least that's what they tell us. And that one goal is not to lose in the WCF.

This season was an absolute failure. And what makes it more galling is that over the entirety of the season, from Stan's failure to get a real 2C, to Q's moronic dressing of Bollig and Versteeg and his apparent disinterest in developing young players, that the Organization beat themselves. The Kings were merely around when the body collapsed and became a corpse.

A terrible missed opportunity. First words out of everyone's mouth at the Convention should be "we're sorry we let you down."