The Chicago Blackhawks lost to the Detroit Red Wings 4-3 this morning, ending any hope of them controlling their own playoff fate. If the Dallas Stars defeated the Minnesota Wild in regulation or in OT the defending champs would be out and the Stars in. Dallas clearly got the memo from Gary Bettman that Chicago > Dallas in the “NHL Playoff Ratings Chart” so they capitulated in the 3rd period and lost 5-3. The Blackhawks backed their way into the postseason as an 8 seed thanks to Dallas’ epic chokejob against a team with nothing to play for.
So here we are in 2011 once again with the Vancouver Canucks facing the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL Playoffs. In 2009 the Canucks lost in the 2nd round to Chicago in six games, blowing leads in all of their losses in the process. The series was lost the moment Vancouver was unable to hold a 1 goal lead in Chicago in game 4, which would’ve seen them go up 3-1 in the series. Instead, they lost in OT and didn’t win another game the rest of the way.
Last year, same opponent, same round, still Blackhawks in six games. Unlike 2009, Chicago had home ice advantage and promptly threw it away after getting blown out in game 1. Once again the Canucks could’ve gone up two games in the series but blew a 2-0 lead in game 2 and lost 4-2, never led at any point in their next two games at home and after an impressive game 5 victory they were annihilated in game 6 in Vancouver. As you know Chicago went on to win the Cup.
But 2011 should be different. Chicago let go of several key players from their Stanley Cup run, and most of them ended up in Atlanta. Vancouver has the best offense, best defense, and best power-play in the league along with the best goalie tandem in Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider. Doubt them as a Cup-winning team if you want, but they are way better than Chicago and should be able to handle them in no more than 5 games. I have an uncontrollable dislike of the Blackhawks and losing to these guys two consecutive years certainly spurred it on. Now that they’ve had the benefit of an imaginary goal and a Dallas defeat I’m sick of their luck and want their run to end NOW.
In the four year history of this blog I’ve never had the pleasure of celebrating a major North American league championship. That needs to change so I can stop ranting about Toronto FC, Vancouver Canucks, and the Seattle Seahawks and litter this place with confetti and party posting. Vancouver looks like the one to break through. In the NHL Playoffs anything can happen and upsets have been aplenty in recent seasons. I don’t want it anywhere near these guys and anything short of a Stanley Cup appearance is a failure.
Time for some revenge. The real season starts on Wednesday at 7 PM. GO ‘NUCKS!