ESPN Ultimate Standings wants your opinion

Do you remember a few years back when ESPN decided to start gathering fans opinions of their favorite teams to rank which were the best franchises in North America?

Were any of surprised when the Hawks finished dead last?

Needless to say, the Hawks are no longer the basement dwellers they once were.  The Hawks have made some amazing changes over the past two years - check out how they fared last year.

Well this year the Hawks will be ranked even higher and now ESPN contacted me to help get all of your opinions on what you think of this team.  Here's what they're looking for:

We're basically just trying to find out about the best/worst parts of the Blackhawks gameday experience and the management in general - and also the reasons behind this really big move upward.

So what do you think?  What is different and why is this team so much more fun to follow now than it was a few years ago?  I'll be passing along your comments for ESPN to quote so if you want to be credited - email me your name and alias -

Try to get something in as soon as possible too please.

Have at it

UPDATE:  I thought I'd get things started by offering up what makes me so excited about this team and let you all respond to it and see how it differs from what you might be thinking.

There are so many things different about this team that it's hard to really even compare them to what was happening a few years ago.  There's little things the team is doing - like getting Pat Foley back in the TV booth or putting home games on TV (which really should have been obvious so long ago) to the big items like getting Hull, Mikita, Tony-O and now Savard involved with the team and of course, giving us all hope that players like Toews, Keith and Kane will be around long after it comes time for them to sign big contracts.

It simply seems like this front office actually wants us to be fans again.  There is no longer an attitude of "you'll take whatever hockey team we give you" that seemed so prevalent under Dollar Bill and Pulford era.  Fans can complain about the contracts to players like Campbell and Huet but at least the team realizes that in order to win you're going to need to spend some money.  They haven't shied away from making some hard decisions either.  The firing of Savard at the start of the season may have been handled poorly but I don't think anyone doubts that Quenneville is better suited to lead the team into the future.

Of course the team hasn't actually won anything yet and the front office may be a little to self-congratulatory at times but there's little doubt they're at least heading in the right direction.  At the fan convention I saw people actually lining up just to shake Rocky's hand and say thank you.  If there's a better image that shows how the attitudes of the fans has changed I can't think of it.