We wrote the following for the Game 4 edition of The Committed Indian. It turned out to be a bit of a premature obituary but the overall theme still holds as true today as it did when we wrote it. The only other thing that seems dated is that perhaps Games 4 and 6 have replaced the Banner ceremony as this year’s most memorable moments.
We also wanted to take the time to thank everyone for their kind words. We truly appreciate it and without it, it would be very difficult to continue this labor of love.
As for what’s in store for the Feather’s future, this summer will probably move a lot slower than the previous two. If you miss us, you can always follow us on Twitter. Once the draft concludes and free agency opens, things start to pick up steam. At some point, the site will probably change aesthetically. It’s looked the same for three years; it’s probably time we changed it up a bit and perhaps there will be some other new features.
But that’s for another time.
Here lies the 2010-2011 Chicago Blackhawks – so young; so very full of hope and promise; so dead.
Today – maybe Thursday – marks the end of a journey gone awry; a team run astray; a season lost. It is with the hope that future Blackhawks may avoid the pitfalls these Hawks leapt into that we reflect upon the road that led us here.
What’s saddest about 2010-2011 is that it will ultimately be remembered for the one thing it could never be: the 2009-2010 season.
Appropriately, then, its happiest moment likely came in early October when the accomplishments of the previous season were celebrated before the home opener against Detroit. What’s more, the Hawks dropped a heartbreaker by starting a trend they would never break – getting nothing out of a game that was tied during the third period. That night, six minutes into the third, Valtteri Filppula blew John Scott’s doors off on the power play, scoring the eventual game winner and breaking a tie. It served as a harsh reality check: 2009-2010 was over, and the new, goofy-looking giant could barely move.
Four nights later, Nick Boynton flipped the puck into the stands with less than three minutes left in regulation during a 2-2 game against Nashville. With 27 seconds left in regulation and on the power play, Joel Ward scored for the Predators, snatching a point from the Hawks’ grasp – a tie game just seconds from overtime, gone into the abyss of an NHL regular season.
Late in October, with the Chicago hockey community waiting confidently for the season to begin its roll, the Columbus Blue Jackets left the Hawks with nothing, notwithstanding the Hawks 2-0 lead with a minute left in the second period. With three goals in seven minutes, the Blue Jackets grabbed two points.
November started off on Broadway against the Rangers. Patrick Kane tied the game six minutes into the third. Twenty-eight seconds later, Erik Christenson scored for New York, and 15 minutes of game-play later, 3-2 was the final – another tied game in the third; another regulation loss.
Just two nights later at the United Center, the Hawks spotted the haplessNew JerseyDevils a 2-0 lead. The Hawks battled back to tie the score at 2 with an early third period goal. With less than four minutes left in regulation, the Devils scored to take the lead. Another point pissed away. It was this day the Hawks decided to send Ben Smith and Ryan Potulny back to Rockford, instead icing a fourth line that consisted of John Scott and Jordan Hendry. In a combined six minutes of ice time, each somehow managed to be a -1.
A week later against the equally wretched Edmonton Oilers again at the United Center, the Hawks went into the third period with a 1-0 lead. Edmonton won 2-1. The same team who had problems putting up two goals in a week’s worth of games this season put up two on the Hawks in 14 seconds of play.
In December, while there were wins sprinkled about, it was still more of the same. In the first game of a home-and-home with the Colorado Avalanche, Troy Brouwer put the Hawks up 5-4 with less than 10 minutes to play on a power play goal. The Avalanche scored three times in the final two and a half minutes to turn a sure Blackhawk point into absolutely nothing. Two days later in Chicago, the Hawks lost once again, this time thanks to a Jordan Hendry double-minor early in the third. The Avalanche scored twice on the power play to turn a 1-1 tie into a 4-3 win. You may remember that the Avalanche are best known for being the worst second half team in the NHL this season.
To wrap up the calendar year in which they won the Stanley Cup, the Hawks scored twice against Antti Niemi and the Sharks in the second period’s final 23 seconds to tie the game at 3. You can probably guess what happened next; the entire article is devoted to points squandered in the third period. Joe Thornton scored seven minutes into the third, and Ryan Clowe added an empty netter to ensure the Hawks put a cap on 2010 with a failed final frame.
2011 picked up right where 2010 left off. After scoring twice in the second to tie the visiting Dallas Stars at 2, Hawk Killer Mike Ribeiro scored a power play goal half-way through the third to grab a lead the Stars never relinquished.
Ten days later, the Hawks entered the third period in Nashville with a comfortable two-goal lead. Goals from Jerred Smithson and Shea Weber erased that during the final frame, and a Marcel Goc tally during the shootout snatched a second point from the Hawks’ hands.
February saw more of the same. A 3-2 third period lead inVancouverwas erased by a couple goals from the brothers Sedin, and two points vanished as quickly as Marian Hossa’s offensive game in springtime. You may remember the disallowed Dave Bolland goal.
A week later, a Brent Seabrook shot was pulled from an open net by Dallas Stars netminder Kari Lehtonen. Three straight regulation goals tied the game for the Stars and three straight shootout conversions earned the Stars the coveted second point. Call it another squandered point.
Then, late in March, with the Hawks chasing a playoff berth, they took a one-goal lead into the third against the Ducks, another squad chasing one of the few open spots. Corey Perry scored his 43rd and his 44th during the third, and the Hawks left both points on the table.
If 2010-2011 gave us anything, it was an appreciation we lost somewhere between Jonathan Toews’ draft day and Patrick Kane’s goal in Game 6. It’s a reminder that contending – and ultimately winning the Cup – is a privilege, not a right; it’s the exception, not the rule. If it’s death that makes us truly appreciate life, 2010-2011 should make us all appreciate 2009-2010 that much more; it’s that appreciation that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up when the captain of this season’s Cup winner skates towards the table with the big silver chalice atop it; and it’s what will keep us crossing off the days until the start of 2011-2012.
You’ll all remember until the day you die exactly where you were when Patrick Kane ripped his helmet off while joyfully skipping over the Flyers’ blue line; you’ll remember who you called once the referees decided that his shot squirted past Michael Leighton; and you’ll remember on which corner of Michigan and Madison you stood while the raucous parade slowly passed.
You’ll remember because 49 2010-2011’s preceded that one 2009-2010.
2010-2011, rest in peace.