The Blackhawks season has come to a close after losing Game 7 in St. Louis 3-2.
Let’s just get that out of the way right off the bat. It’s stings even worse when it’s against a team like the Blues. It stings even worse when you battle back from 3-1 down in the series, and 2-0 down in Game 7, only to lose in the end.
But it’s okay, Hawks fans. It stings a little less when you think about how much this team has accomplished. It stings a little less when you think about how incredibly undermanned this team was in the series. It stings a little less when you think about how much hockey the Hawks have played since 2013, and how a long summer could do them wonders. The sting of losing never really goes away, but finding peace about it gets easier only with time. I really don’t have too much analysis; the Hawks came out on the short end of an incredible hockey game. Let’s try to unpack this one, for the final time this year (ugh, that hurt)…
-The Blues were the better team in this series. It took all that the Hawks had to push them to a Game 7. St. Louis was better, but the Hawks willed their way into making this competitive. The lack of depth, suspensions, bounces; everything went against the Hawks, yet they still fought. Every year after winning the Stanley Cup it’s taken seven games to eliminate the Blackhawks. That’s something to be proud of. They went out with their boots on once again this year.
-One bit of analysis: Gustafsson’s turnover that led to the Blues’ third goal was this game’s Chris Campoli moment. Brutal play by a young guy, but hopefully he will learn from it.
-Corey Crawford is amazing. It’s a shame the Hawks could not take advantage of the best season of his career. He carried the Blackhawks this far. Incredibly thankful to have that guy on our team.
-Two double posts in one series… That has to be the first time in league history, right? The Blackhawks did not own the puck luck this series, that’s for sure. Hindsight is always 20/20, but you just think of what could have been if one of those double post shots go in. Or if the Hawks hold their leads in Games 3 and 4. The almighty “what if”…
-I don’t think it’s fair to compare this early exit with the ones in 2011 and 2012. Those teams were not as talented as this one, and this team by Hawks’ normal standards was not very talented. This year they just ran out of gas. The “tank empty” light was on in Game 5, and they stretched it as far as they could. The Blues had more riding on this game than the Hawks did. It was a huge fork in the road game for them, no doubt about it.
-It seems nationally that people are pretty thrilled at the Blackhawks being eliminated. So this is what the mountain top looks like? I never thought in my life that the Blackhawks would nationally become the Red Wings. But they have, and it rocks. Let ’em hate.
-The Blackhawks have played a crazy amount of hockey since January 2013. Three consecutive deep runs in the playoffs before this year. This team was gassed. Honestly, a long summer to rest, get back in shape (Seabrook), and make adjustments will do wonders for the Hawks.
-Now we can all watch baseball, right? (Go Sox)
Well, this is the end of the road of the 2016 hockey season, for the Hawks at least. Since last June it’s been a roller coaster ride for this franchise, on and off the ice. So many emotions tied into one season, and it just leaves you with a slightly bitter taste. But going into tonight I just had this overwhelming peace about the game. I thought about all of the crap the Hawks had to overcome this year, on and off the ice. Regardless of how you feel about the Kane situation and the other stuff that happened, this group fought like heck this year, and turned in some great hockey at times.
The window for the Blackhawks to win another championship is still wide open. They battled right to the very end against a really good team who had something to prove. This series said a lot about the Blues, but also said a lot about the Blackhawks as well. The Hawks were playing with house money, and in the end the cards just didn’t fall their way this year. They will use this long summer to regroup and come back as strong as ever, I believe that.
Until next year, Go Hawks.