Have the Blackhawks Arrived?

Team president says they have a long way to go

"The car is just backing out of the garage," said Blackhawks President John McDonough when asked what's left to accomplish after transforming the Hawks from irrelevance to the NHL's attendance leader.  "We haven't even hit the street yet."

Despite a rise in attendance when the Hawks hit the ice at the United Center and a boost in water cooler conversations about the team, McDonough says the team has barely begun to win over the number of fans they're aiming for.

"The Hawks are 23-for-23 in home sellouts. And they packed Wrigley Field for the Winter Classic," the Tribune reported Monday , but what McDonough wants to see is a playoff win for the team.

That's ultimately how ownership will be judged, Tribune writer Teddy Greenstein said.

McDonough was hired away from the Cubs for his marketing savvy, and the team is more visible in many ways since his arrival. But that's not enough.

"Did fans salute Tribune Co. for hiring Harry Caray or introducing Beanie Babies or preserving Wrigley Field or pioneering a fan convention or trotting out celebrities (and wannabes) to sing 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game'? Nope. Most only cared that the Cubs never reached the World Series," he continued.

So, the new spotlight on the Blackhawks will mean nothing if the team doesn't deliver.  Thus far, they've won 27 or the 48 games they've played.

"We haven't achieved anything yet," McDonough said. Right. Not yet.

"Think bigger," he's told his 60-person staff.

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