Tuesday afternoon in Chicago was supposed to be a quiet sports day. The Chicago Blackhawks were in the middle of a three day break, and the Chicago Bulls were still licking their wounds after losing to the LA Lakers on Sunday.
Then news broke that shook up the web, with the Blackhawks being announced as the cover story of Sports Illustrated.
The caption on that cover is what truly sent everyone into a tizzy: “The Franchise That Brought Hockey Back”. The words emblazoned on the cover spread like wildfire across the web, with everyone from Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo to this blog covering the story.
Now, the issue has been released on newsstands, and within its pages are some interesting tidbits. Here’s a selection of the best parts of the article by Brian Cazeneuve:
-“The Blackhawks have become a model of rotating heroes and a beacon of organizational renewal following the breakup of their 2010 Stanley Cup-winning roster. More than that, they are the best team, and the best story, in sports, forging an implausible and historic start that is a boon for a league battered by its third lockout in two decades.”
-““The Miami Heat can win 15, 16 games in a row,” says Patrick Kane, the Blackhawks’ star right wing and an avowed fan of LeBron James, “but how many teams can really win an NBA title? Three? Four? I mean, the Kings won the Cup as an eight seed last year. In our league, if the 30th teams beats the first team one night, it’s not such a big deal. No game is a gimme.””
-Another Patrick Kane quote: “The biggest thing about this year is that I didn’t want to disappoint my parents…I probably thought things were going to be easy. I probably enjoyed it too much…Hurting myself was one thing; hurting people close to me woke me up.”
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the piece, aside from the interesting quotes by Kane, is that the article really isn’t about a team that somehow rescued hockey. Sports Illustrated was clearly trying to garner attention for the piece with their provocative headline, but the story is really about a team that is more than the sum of its parts.
From its story about Daniel Carcillo’s game-winning goal against the Avalanche (which contains a couple quotes from him that are actually really insightful) to its story about how Andrew Shaw has had difficulty getting dressed after games because of the media scrum around his locker room neighbor Kane, the article is really about just how big the Hawks’ story became, and the little things that helped them to get to this point.
The Blackhawks may not have been the team that “saved hockey,” but to say that they have made this season just a bit more exciting and are a fascinating story would be an understatement. Cazeneuve did a fantastic job of capturing that in his piece, and it is a must-read for anyone looking to get inside the mind of the Blackhawks.