There has been a lot of chatter about the Chicago Blackhawks in the past few days, and rightfully so. On Monday night, the Blackhawks won their third Stanley Cup in the past six years, shutting out the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-0. It was the first time the Blackhawks clinched the Stanley Cup on their home ice since 1938. It was something special to see, and the city of Chicago partied all throughout the night.
The victory, though, has posed the question on everyone’s mind: is this team a dynasty? Does five Western Conference Finals appearances and three Stanley Cups in the past seven years constitute the word “dynasty” being used?
I can personally see both sides of the argument on this one. On one hand, three titles in six years is nothing to slouch about. The last franchise to have success like this was the Detroit Red Wings, who won three Cups between 1997-2002. It can also be argued that the Blackhawks were one overtime away from winning three straight Cups, as they lost game 7 of the Western Conference Finals last year to eventual champ Los Angeles. Chicago has been the most dominant team these past three years in the NHL, and they’ve earned all the credit they’ve gotten.
On the flip side, though, is the fact that they haven’t won back-to-back titles, which is seen as a key element of any dynasty in any sport. The respective dynasties of the Maple Leafs, Canadiens, Islanders, and Oilers all had one thing in common: they repeated as champions. Toronto won three in a row and four of five overall from 1947-1951. Montreal has had dynasties in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. New York won four in a row from 1980-1983. Edmonton won five of seven from 1984-1990. The Blackhawks have yet to repeat as champions, which makes people hesitant to call them a dynasty.
Instead of arguing if this team is a dynasty or not, though, we should just sit back and appreciate what this team has done for the city of Chicago. After many years of being an afterthought amongst Chicago sports fans, the Blackhawks have given Chicago sports fans a team to believe in. While the Bulls keep flirting with us that one day they’ll make it to the NBA Finals, the Blackhawks have kept on winning. While the Bears, Cubs, and White Sox have all struggled in the past six years, the Hawks have been right there to fill the void left by those other three teams.
Dynasty or not, it’s rare for a franchise to have the sustained success like the Blackhawks are having. And, on top of that, all of their best players are young. Jonathan Toews is 27. Patrick Kane is 26. Duncan Keith is 31. Heck, Teuvo Teravainen can’t even drink legally in the United States yet! These guys have not only been successful, but they’ve been young while doing it. There’s no saying as to how many more years this team has in front of them. This could be a team that wins another three or four Cups in the next decade, which would surely make them a dynasty in everyone’s eyes.
What I’m appreciating most about this run is that for the first time in my life, I’m getting to see one of my favorite teams have sustained success over a long period of time. My father was able to see the Bulls win six titles in eight years in the 1990s, so he’s seen dominance before. This is a first time experience for my generation’s Chicago sports fans, and it’s something I’m cherishing with every passing second.
The thing that makes it so special to me is that one day, when I have children, my son or daughter is going to look at me and ask “Dad, what was it like to watch the Blackhawks in the 2010s?” Just like how I get to ask my dad “What were the Bulls like in the 1990s?” my children are going to be able to ask me a similar question with the Blackhawks, and that’s a cool feeling to have.
So call it whatever you want to call it. It may be a dynasty, or it just may be a long stretch of dominance. Whatever you think it is, just make sure to take a moment and appreciate everything this franchise has done for Chicago sports fans. It has not only reinvigorated an entire fan base, but has breathed life into an entire sports city.
Thanks for reading. Make sure to check out the other blogs I’ve posted, and stay tuned as I go more in-depth on all the things going on in the sports world. This is Game of Sports.