Tuesday, April 05, 2011
I have a real problem. I'm a life long Canadiens fan. I live and die with them. I even write a blog about them (and strippers). It's killing me that they are struggling as usual, and I want nothing more than for them to clinch a playoff birth, go into the second season and bring home Stanley Cup number 25. A part of me even believes enough in miracles to think it could happen. I love this franchise. I agonize over the 18 year Cup drought. I compose massive, expletive laden diatribes against this version of the team because I am so invested in their success. But here's the problem: The Habs are life and death to make the playoffs (still), and I kinda want the Chicago Blackhawks to win tonight.
I'll admit it, I like the Blackhawks. I like that their name has a cool origin. I think their red home jersey is the best looking in all sports and their whites aren't far behind. I loved the absolute bedlam that was the old Chicago Stadium, with the organ blaring, the nutcases in the cheap seats with the massive US flag, the moment of silence at the All-Star game for the troops overseas in Iraq that ended with one leather lunged Blackhawk fan screaming "KICK THEIR FUCKING ASS!!!!" before the roof blew off for the anthem. I like the city itself. Blues Brothers. Wrigley Field. Ferris Bueller. Da Bears. Upton Sinclair. University of Chicago. Perfect Strangers. The Road Warriors. The Blackhawks and the Windy City are cool.
I loved Denis Savard's goal versus the Oilers. Murray Bannerman's cool but scary Indian head mask. Steve Larmer's amazing work ethic. Picking Jeremy Roenick, Ed Belfour, Chris Chelios and the Blackhawks in EA Sports NHL 92 and kicking the crap out of anyone else.
I always appreciated that the Hawks played balls out, offensive hockey from day one, lead by guys like the Bentleys, Hull, Mikita, then Savard, Roenick and now Kane and Toews.
FYI, Jonathan Toews might be my favourite player in the world right now. That kid is FUCKING AMAZING. Patrick Kane is hilarious and a dead-eye scorer. Marian Hossa? Patrick Sharp? Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook? C'mon. All fantastic. Rookie goalie Corey Crawford is a Montrealer. He looks great.
Growing up in Leafs country, I saw a lot of Blackhawks/Leafs wars. I loved that the Hawks used to put beatdowns on the Leafs pretty regularly. Chelios and Steve Smith! Loved that even though our hometown rep teams were called the Bracebridge Bears, we wore Blackhawks colours. My hockey gloves today are still red black and white. I loved the watching the final game at Maple Leaf Gardens and spending the night calling our Leafs fan law school classmate and screaming every time the Blackhawks scored to spoil the party a little more. It's even better when you know Chicago won the first game in that horrid, ugly, pedophile hangout back in 1932 too.
I love that the Blackhawks keep dumping smug, overrated Vancouver out of the playoffs, and I love that Canucks fans wake up in a cold sweat thinking about meeting the Blackhawks this spring. I thoroughly enjoyed Chicago's whacking of the thuggish, asshole Flyers and their fans in last year's final. I liked that they broke a long drought to do it, and hung the "longest Cup drought" albatross on Toronto.
I love that this Blackhawks team, lead by Toews and Keith and Sharp took the time to board a bus to Huntsville, Ontario to attend a wake for then General Manager Dale Tallon's father - without telling Tallon they were coming - on one of their rare days off during the season. I love that on the way back from Huntsville to Toronto to catch a flight they put off for 24 hours they stopped at the Gravenhurst, Ontario McDonald's to grab a bite to eat still in their suits . These guys are guys you can cheer for.
I love that this team has rekindled the rabid love affair that Chicago used to have with its hockey team, after years of mismanagement by Bill Wirtz threatened to strangle the life out of the franchise. Of course, Stanley Cup wins tend to do that, but not all those people at the parade were bandwagonners. Chicago's a hockey town. There's no Bulls logos carved into the metal on the aisle seats at the United Center, but there sure as hell are Blackhawks logos.
Long story short, I like the Hawks. More than any other team than the Canadiens. And I want them in the playoffs with a chance to defend their Cup. Is it wrong for me to feel good if the Hawks beat the Habs tonight, starting at 7:30 in the Bell Centre, on RDS and TSN Habs in the Canadiens last home game of the regular season? With Toews continuing his MVP like season? With Corey Crawford starting for like the 25 straight game? With Price starting for like the 100th time this season? With Patrick Sharp hurt, and Markov and Gorges still out but Spacek getting close to a return? With Mathieu Darche earning raves for his effort dragging the Giant Mexican Americans out of their funk (at least temporarily)? With Plexxe and Cammy still finding their legs again, with Benny Pouliot still frustrating, with PK reigniting the first unit on the PP? Is that wrong? Is there a solution? Is there any way I can cheer for the Hawks without betraying the Habs?
Torn (and possibly Traitorous) in Toronto
Cheer for a Montreal win in overtime. Hawk's get a point and go three up on Calgary for 8th with a game in hand, Montreal clinches. Win win. PS - I think the Hawks jerseys are kick-ass too.