BY Jeff Schneberk
I apologize for posting this one so long after the fact but having been one of the best series of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and possibly a showcase of a Stanley Cup contender, better late than never.
When the Stanley Cup playoffs began on the final day of April, the Chicago Blackhawks were among the clubs that were expected to do well. The hockey playoffs (in all major leagues across the country), playoff matchups are set up so the team that advances has to win four contests.
This was an awesome series to watch between 2 clubs whom either of them would be my favourite to win the Stanley Cup. Detroit, the one sports team that over the past 15 years has been synonymous with winning; and Chicago, the team that will soon become synonymous with winning.
Chicago appeared to have the game won with under 2 minutes remaining in regulation time; however the referees called the goal off and called coinciding minors instead.
Can you imagine what the fans thought at that moment? Anyway, a Brent Seabrook wrister from just inside the blueline hit a Detroit player’s skate and sailed over Jimmy Howard’s glove hand and that was the game, a 2-1 Blackhawks’ win and 4-3 series victory and one hell of a way to end a Game 7.
Going into the weekend, the Chicago NHL club found themselves in the one position that nobody in pro hockey ever wants to find themselves in at this time of year. It happened to Toronto 2 weeks ago and we all know how that mess wound up. Anyway, Chicago was trailing 3-1. They cannot lose another game. Detroit, a powerhouse over the years, had everything going their way, with no real logical explanation as to why they could not hold on.
Anyway, it gets tough as a sports fan to watch a team that you have in your pool, fully loaded, but not firing on any cylinder. Saturday night marked the start of a potential turnaround. None of those “big guns” scored, actually Jonathan Toews did score his first playoff game if the year tonight, but none of the team’s other top players managed to break the drought.
Detroit head coach Mike Babcock told a packed news conference some time ago that if anyone told his players that they would be playing in a Game7 against the Blackhawks, it would simply revv his team up. Well, apparently it didn’t quite do that.
The teams are getting ready for that Game7 as I write this and this all happens after Babcock’s Red Wings held a 3-1 series lead about a week ago.
Chicago had all kinds of problems at that point, including a team captain that had yet to record a goal in the 2013 Playoffs. He’s only got five assists to go along with the goal he scored in Game 6.
Whoever wins this Game 7 is my favourite to win the Stanley Cup. For more on the Stanley Cup playoffs, follow me on Twitter @Game7overtime.