Posted by sportsmaven on June 24, 2013
We are Chicago….we are not known for our championships from our major professional sports teams. We have lost more than we won, that is if we even make the playoffs, which we typically don’t. A Chicago sports fan is a breed accustomed to disappointment and despair and wait until next years. It is nights like tonight that Chicago fans appreciate and love more than any other sports fans in any other city in the world. Tonight, our Chicago Blackhawks completed the fan’s dream — bringing a championship home to the City of Chicago.
A Chicago sports fan is personified by Blackhawks F Andrew Shaw. In tonight’s Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, Shaw took a puck to the face, appeared to be knocked out cold on the ice. Yet he stood up, got his stitches in his cheek and his eye. Bleeding throughout the game, he just kept coming and coming. Win or lose, he was going all out. He was a warrior tonight, wearing the pride of Chicago on his bloody sweater. If the Bruins rallied around Boston Strong, the Blackhawks and all sports fans were Chicago Tough. It describes our fans, our athletes, and the persona of a city that leaves it all on the table, ice, court or field. That’s how we roll, win or lose.
Tonight, we in Chicago can go to bed, awake in the morning and call ourselves champions along with our beloved Blackhawks. Win or lose, we would still be Chicago Tough. Put an asterisk on our season or leave it off. Either way, we are tough and can roll with it. Tonight, the Cup comes back home to Chicago. And I’m glad to be part of it in any meaningful way.
Posted in Blackhawks, Chicago Blackhawks | Tagged: Andrew Shaw, Boston Bruins, Boston Strong, championship, Chicago, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Tough, NHL, Stanley Cup, Stanley Cup Finals. SCF | 1 Comment »
Posted by sportsmaven on September 16, 2009
At the beginning of the week, the Chicago Blackhawks opened their fall training camp with some new faces in key places. The most prominent new face is that of newly installed General Manager Stan Bowman. Behind the scenes, lurking in the shadows is the true architect and face of the organization, the stature of William Scott Bowman, or “Scotty” as he’s affectionately known. The senior Bowman was hired in July, 2008 as Senior Advisor of Hockey Operations for the Chicago Blackhawks. Since that day, owner Rocky Wirtz and team president John McDonough have wisely, but not always smoothly, turned the reins of the hockey operations over to the 9-time Stanley Cup champion coach.
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America
The first big move was a somewhat awkward firing of then-Coach Denis Savard and subsequential hiring of current Coach Joel Quenneville just four games into the 2008-2009 season. It was a move that had to be made, but it certainly wasn’t made with grace nor good timing. The last move? The “re-assignment” of former GM Dale Tallon coupled with the promotion of Stan to General Manager on July 14th, another move that was a correct move to make, but another plagued with awkwardness and questionable timing. Bowman has molded this young Blackhawks team much in the same mold as his Stanley Cup winning teams in Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Montreal. In his brief tenure in Chicago, the elder Bowman has displayed his biggest asset — being able to adapt to the needs of the game today and fit personnel and coaching to those needs.
With his replacement of Tallon with his son, Stan, Bowman has again brought in new wave thinking to an organization that is desperately trying to escape it’s tractor beam-like grip of the glory days of it’s past. The younger Bowman ushers in a new, modern era in Blackhawks lore, a man whose off-ice managmement, negotiating, and analytic skills more than make up for lack of hockey playing experience. Tallon’s apparent administrative miscues were the final nails in his coffin, closing his tenure as Blackhawks GM.
The elder Bowman has filled in the hockey part of the equation, engineering the signing of RW Marian Hossa to a 12-year free agent deal, as well as the signings of C Tomas Kopecky from the Detroit Red Wings and C John Madden from the New Jersey Devils. Bowman has worked to install his winning philosophy of big, skilled two-way players that can stretch the ice and play his aggressive, pounding style of play and infusing the talent base with Stanley Cup winning players to round out the up and coming Blackhawks team.
As the Blackhawks finish day 3 of training camp, the team carries the stamp and personal marks of Scotty Bowman, from top to bottom. Wirtz, McDonough and Bowman have shown that throughout the awkwardness of their moves, they are indeed dedicated and focused on bringing a Stanley Cup Championship to Chicago as soon as humanly possible. By hiring a 9-time Stanley Cup winning coach to architect that championship, the Blackhawks mean business. If Bowman is half as good an architect as he is a coach, the Chicago Blackhawks are in for a Stanley Cup type treat.
Posted in Chicago Blackhawks | Tagged: Chicago, Chicago Blackhawks, Dale Tallon, Denis Savard, Detroit, Detroit Red Wings, Joel Quenneville, John Madden, John McDonough, Marian Hossa, Montreal, New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh, Rocky Wirtz, Scotty Bowman, Stan Bowman, Stanley Cup, Tomas Kopecky | 6 Comments »
Posted by sportsmaven on July 15, 2009
The actual move was shockingly abrupt. Not a hint was stirring for a mid-summer change. But then it happened, swiftly and decisively. The move left no doubt about who is in control of this Original Six franchise. But as alarmingly quickly the Dale Tallon “re-assignment” has happened, this move was in the works the day the Chicago Blackhawks hired Scotty Bowman as Senior Advisor of Hockey Operations. Bowman’s son, Stan has been an assistant to the GM for the Blackhawks for the past 3 years and seemed heir apparent to the Blackhawks GM job. With Scotty in the fold, it marked a changing of the guard on the hockey operations side of the business and it started the clock ticking on GM Dale Tallon’s tenure in the organizational hierarchy. Some believe the firing was undeserved. It may be a sign of how the Blackhawks will now conduct business in their focused quest for a Stanley Cup Championship.
(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Whatever is thought of the Tallon replacement, it definitely came across as Blackhawks President John McDonough further stamping his imprint on the organization. McDonough certainly has earned the right to make the changes he felt necessary to continue the impressive ascent of an Original Six franchise that was in complete disarray prior to his arrival. McDonough skillfully danced around tough questions regarding the change in management, citing differing approaches and the botched contract paperwork for the 8 Blackhawk free-agents as impetus for the change. Like any other GM, Tallon did some good things and not so good things. Both the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune point out Tallon’s good and bad moves as a means to evaluating his effectiveness as Blackhawks GM.
Did the Chicago Blackhawks give Dale Tallon a raw deal with his re-assignment? I don’t think the move was surprising, as the writing was on the wall for the past season when the senior Bowman entered the fold. Was the timing suspect? Potentially, it was, given the move was made in advance of the Chicago Blackhawks Fan Convention, which begins this Friday. That should give fans fuel to continue questioning the move for the remainder of the summer. The paperwork snafu was the final straw, providing the perfect opportunity to make that change now heading off a more potentially messy divorce closer to the beginning of the upcoming hockey season.
Along with the manner in which former Blackhawk great and coach Denis Savard was summarily dismissed at the beginning of last season, it seems that the Blackhawks may be perceived as insensitive. The fact that both Savard and Tallon were offered and accepted other positions within the organization softens the blows tremendously and proves that the organization has made inroads with keeping former key players in their fold in their quest to win a Stanley Cup.
Posted in Chicago Blackhawks | Tagged: Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Blackhawks Fan Convention, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, Dale Tallon, Denis Savard, John McDonough, Original Six franchise, Scotty Bowman, Stan Bowman, Stanley Cup | Leave a Comment »
Posted by sportsmaven on January 1, 2009
It can be very easy to say that the star of this afternoon’s NHL 2009 Winter Classic is Wrigley Field, and even easier to say the game is a showcase for NHL power, defending Stanley Cup Champions, and this year’s Stanley Cup favorite, the Detroit Red Wings. But lets not be mistaken any longer than needed. The NHL Winter Classic is the coming out party for Rocky Wirtz/John McDonough led, new, improved, and revived Chicago Blackhawks team. And it’s exactly what the NHL needs for an Original Six team that has been down on it’s own luck.
(Tribune photo by Charles Cherney / December 31, 2008)
Of course, the young Chicago Blackhawks team has been doing it’s part, especially of late, winning a franchise record 9 games in a row. That streak was broken yesterday in Detroit, with the Red Wings pitching a shutout, adding to the already incredible hype of today’s game, making it into a nationally televised grudge match.
At least two generations of Hawks fans have been disenfranchised by the draconian methods of management under long time owner Bill Wirtz. When the older Wirtz died in September of 2007, his son Rocky was tapped to run the team, and it seemed that Rocky learned all the “lessons” of his father’s mismanagement. In 188 sweeping days, Rocky has reversed all the negativity of past mismanagement, with his first move, stealing the marketing genius McDonough away from the Chicago Cubs. That move alone signaled to Hawks fans that Wirtz was committed to reviving the sagging fortunes of the once-proud Blackhawks franchise.
The rest is marketing history. As we ring in what we hope to be a better year in 2009, hope springs eternal in the City of Chicago, for the Chicago Blackhawks, and their fans. Regardless of the outcome of today’s game, the Winter Classic marks the coming out of a young Chicago Blackhawks team, the unveiling of a new, historic direction for a historic Original Six team. For those not fortunate enough to secure tickets for the Classic, the game will be brodcast on television, as will every single game the Blackhawks will play this season. This is a first in the 82-year history of the team.
So let the celebrations begin, hopefully the first of many celebrations for the new, improved Chicago Blackhawks.
ESPN has extensive coverage of today’s NHL Winter Classic:
On the local front, the popular stories of the week on the Winter Classic:
Posted in Chicago Blackhawks | Tagged: 2009 NHL Winter Classic, Bill Wirtz, Carol Slexak, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Cubs, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, Chris Chelios, Chris Kuc, Daily Herald, Detroit Red Wings, EJ Hradek, ESPN, Gene Wojciechowski, John McDonough, NHL, Original Six, Rocky Wirtz, Scott Burnside, Stanley Cup, Tim Sassone, Wrigley Field | Leave a Comment »