Here Comes the ‘Hawks Bandwagon

A word to the wise as the Hawks blow up

Monday night's 7-5 Western Conference semifinals win was everything that is good about the Blackhawks: fast-paced, creative hockey, consistent flight through the neutral zone, a constant rush to the net -- it was beautiful to watch, and if you're just tuning in to the NHL playoffs, know that what you saw last night was the Blackhawks through and through. Last night's game was more electric than usual, but even still: the Hawks are usually this good.

The win over the Canucks sets up what could be a franchise-changing Western Conference Final. If the Red Wings close out their series against Anaheim tonight in Game 6 -- the Wings have a 3-2 advantage in that series, and two chances to finish it off -- the finals will see the Red Wings and the Blackhawks, perhaps the most heated rivalry in all of hockey, square off for a chance at the Stanley Cup.

Which is why we'd like to address two sets of groups just now: the die-hards, and the not-so. A quick little message for each.

To the not-so-die-hards: We can forgive you for not paying attention in the regular season. Maybe you just don't like hockey. That's fine. But if you're jumping on the bandwagon now -- and why wouldn't you? -- know that there are plenty of folks who have been riding this train all season, and you need to be polite. Rich dudes? Don't buy up all the good seats in the United Center. Dilletantes, stay away from West End bar. Enjoy the Hawks, sure, but let's not turn this into a Cubs fan situation, OK?

To the Hawks fans: Congrats. Western Conference Finals. Not bad, right? Your years -- decades, for some of you -- have paid off in a small way, and finally, your team is in genuine contention for a cup. A word of warning: There are going to be a few latecomers here. This is not necessarily a bad thing. More fans means money for the Hawks means more talent means more wins. It's a good thing. So let's try to welcome the new folks, even if they really irritate part of us. Because they're coming, whether we (or you) like it or not.

Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, Follow him on Twitter.

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