Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Hawks one win away from ending a long drought

Amazing what a change in scenery can do for a team, especially when that scenery is Home Sweet Chicago. 

The Blackhawks pulled themselves out of whatever funk they were in Games 3 and 4 in Philadelphia with a solid 7-4 win over the Flyers in Game 5 Sunday night at the United Center. Dustin Byfuglien was the big star, netting two goals and two assists in the big win.

This win leaves the Hawks one win away from their first Stanley Cup since 1961. To put this in perspective, think about what it was like between then and now:

In 1961, John F. Kennedy was President, the first Catholic ever elected to the office. In 2010, Barack Obama is President, the first black man ever elected to the office.

In 1961, the NHL consisted of only six teams, concentrated primarily in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States (Chicago, Detroit, Boston, and New York Rangers). In 2010, there are 30 teams, including only six teams in the motherland of hockey, Canada, and teams in places that might see ice outdoors in a rare ice age (see Phoenix, Los Angeles, Anaheim, (Miami) Florida, and Tampa Bay, not to mention other nontraditional hockey towns like Dallas and (Raleigh, North) Carolina).

In 1961, the communist Soviet Union loomed large over American politics, including the Bay of Pigs fiasco in Cuba. In 2010, the U.S.S.R. is no more, having dissolved in 1991 into 15 republics, with Russia a largely democratic country (depending on who you talk to – we won’t argue that point here).

In 1961, the top movie of the year was the musical “West Side Story.” In 2010, the best picture Oscar went to “The Hurt Locker,” which told the story of an Army bomb squad in the Iraq War.

In 1961, Blackhawks goalie Glenn Hall made about $180 a game, working at a fast-food joint during the summer to make ends meet, according to the Edmonton Journal. In 2010, Vincent Lecavalier of the Tampa Bay Lightning made $10 million this season.

Finally, it had only been 53 years since the Cubs last won the World Series in 1961. By 2010, the streak had extended to 102 years and counting.

Speaking of the Cubs, they currently own the longest title drought in American team sports, with the last title coming in 1908. In the NFL, it is the now Arizona Cardinals, who last won the title as the Chicago Cardinals in 1947. In the NBA, it is the now Sacramento Kings, who last won the title as the Rochester Royals in 1951. And next in line for longest championship drought in the NHL if the Blackhawks manage to clinch the title are the Toronto Maple Leafs, who last won in 1964.

Game six and quite possibly the clincher for the Blackhawks comes on Wednesday night from the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia. The game and hopefully the victory celebration will be on NBC.

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