It's been a week since Chicago eliminated the Ducks. I think I am now free of the bitter feelings that prevented me from writing this post. Ok, actually I was on vacation. But cranky writers make for good drama. I know Chicago fans are too distracted with the Cup to pay attention to this post,but I offer my compliments just the same. Tradition matters. So without further ado...
Joel Quenneville: Some of the faithful at Anaheim Calling-including me-insist that faceoffs are a generally irrelevant part of hockey. Generally speaking, we are right. You found a way to make them work for your club though. You used Faceoff wins to force line match ups that favored your club. You set up a slightly more talented line of Saad, Toews and Kane against our Twins+Maroon, and used that to win a trip to compete for Hockey's Holy Grail. In game 6, you stacked Kane with Toews to overpower Anaheim's entire team defense. You adapted to the circumstances this series and beat Bruce Boudreau in the coaching battle. Congratulations.
Brandon Saad: I'm gonna start calling you Stevie Weeks 'cuz of all that jump! Your speed is amazing, but I love the combination of skill you bring. One of our writers once thought you'd be available for the Ducks at the end of the first round, the Ducks took Rakell instead, but I, hoping Murray has the courage to correct that mistake this summer.
Antoine Vermette: you're in the line up, you're out of the lineup, you're in the lineup, you're scoring an overtime game winner. In a seven game series those contributions are important. Maybe you aren't the most successful trade deadline acquisition ever, but you won at least one game for your team and embraced the controversy like a professional.
The Hall of Fame Club: Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, and Duncan Keith. All of you will be in the Hall of Fame.
Toews: you just show up in big games. Your offensive numbers are certainly not on par with the Crosby, Ovechkin or even Getzlafs of the league, although certainly nothing to be casually dismissed. Regardless, you are CLUTCH, like an NHL Robert Horry.
Kane : the human highlight reel. The sheer volume of offense you create could solve the Candiens' problems and cause the explosion of the heads of every Subban hater on the planet by helping him hoist the Cup. Time and time again you backed up the Anaheim defense and made space for all of your linemates. When that linemate was Toews, it eventually cost us the series.
Marian Hossa: The goal scoring isn't as dynamic as it once was, but you control play with the best of them, so many good decisions. You play beautiful hockey.
Duncan Keith: You are a freak of nature. No one should be able to play that many minutes, take that kind of beating along the boards, AND be the most impactful defender in a series's on both ends of the ice. It's you and Tyler Johnson for the Conne Smythe. Without your ability to quickly transition the puck up the ice and to jump into the play, Chicago's offense wouldn't have been so effective in breaking through a mobile Anaheim defense.
Congratulations to Chicago on a well deserved series win. May your quest for the Cup be satisfying.