I have had many feelings walking out of the United Center and the old Chicago Stadium over the years. Everything from disappointment, frustration and sadness to hope, satisfaction and down right jubilation. I've dished out my fair share of high fives and also wished to punch quite a few people in the head. There were also a few times, in my younger years, where I was lucky to even walk out on my own power due to one too many adult beverages.
The greatest feeling I ever had walking out of the Blackhawks game was on the afternoon of April 24, 2010. That was the day the Blackhawks defeated the Nashville Predators, in overtime, to take a 3-2 series lead. We all remember Patrick Kane's shorthanded game tying goal with 14 seconds left in regulation. Hawks fans will never forget Marian Hossa coming out of the box, after his 5 minute major for boarding, and scoring the dramatic game winning goal. I walked out of the Madhouse that day knowing I had witnessed something amazing. But even more than that, I walked out knowing that those Blackhawks were something special and nothing was going to derail them.
On the eve of the Western Conference Final versus the Los Angeles Kings, I am looking back at how I felt leaving Game 7 just two days ago. Did I have that same feeling I had after the infamous Nashville Game 5? To be honest I was too emotionally drained to feel anything, but I should have had the same feeling. The Blackhawks could have packed it in many times during their series with the Detroit Red Wings. They could have mailed it in during Game 5 after falling behind 3-1 to the Wings. Instead they put on a dominating performance in a 4-1 win that changed the tone of the series. They could have called it a season heading into the 3rd period of Game 6 trailing by a goal. Instead they scored 3 huge goals to bring the series back to home ice for one final showdown. Many teams would have completely imploded (I'm looking at you Canucks) after the Niklas Hjalmarsson had his apparent series winning goal waived off by a terrible penalty call. But these Hawks regrouped and completed the comeback with a quick overtime goal from Brent Seabrook.
The Blackhawks did what great teams do; they rose to the occasion and got the job done. So why shouldn't we feel the same feelings we felt in 2010? We have a very tough series against the defending Cup champs starting tomorrow, but I really feel this team can overcome any obstacle that gets in its way from here on out. I am not going to going all Hawk Harrelson and drop some TWTW bullcrap on you. But this Hawks team has the character and the skill to succeed. Does that mean they are just going to throw their sticks on the ice and beat the Kings? Absolutely not! But I have faith in them to overcome any adversity that comes their way from here on out. This is going to be a great playoff series and I can not wait for the puck to drop tomorrow afternoon.