It's official, Blackhawk fans. I hate your team again.
I'm not trying to be mean. It's a good thing that I hate your team again. Let me explain.
During the early 90s, I hated the Hawks. Belfour, Roenick, Chelios...I hated them all with a passion. Nothing was better than sweeping them out of the playoffs. All the fans brought toy brooms and Eddie the Eagle had his little meltdown where he broke his stick over the crossbar. Good times. How about Twist and Probert? Or weekend home and home series? For all of you who think the NHL has too many divisional games, you've never watched a Blues-Hawks game or a Blues-Wings game circa 1993.
But during the course of the 90s, all those big names left Chicago. The Hawks missed the playoffs in 1998, and haven't been there since 2002. How could I sing to someone as mediocre as Steve Passmore? And I really couldn't work up a visceral hatred of Eric Daze. Chicago was once the hardest city to play in at one time, which always made the games exciting. But with all the empty seats, it was just depressing. The team spiraled into the abyss. I had always thought crushing the Hawks would be fun, but it really wasn't. I still loved seeing the Blues win, but it wasn't a triumphant topic of conversation among Blues fans days later, like a victory over a rival like Detroit is. I know every team has their off years, but there was really no immediate hope for a bright future, especially after many Hawks fans were disgruntled with the ownership management and the home game TV policy.
I was sad to see the Hawks in the state they were in. That's right. A Blues fan felt bad for the Hawks. Playing the Hawks was disappointing because I remembered how exciting the earlier games were, and now, it was just a let down. Even when the Blues started their abysmal slide after the sale of the team, I felt bad for the Hawks, except now I could relate to the pain of poor ownership and missing the playoffs.
But this season is different. Now, the Hawks have new management to bring more screaming fans into the building, just in time to capitalize on Toews and Kane. They are a tough hockey team to play, even though Kane and Toews are still ripe talent. The Hawks have some of the best young talent in the league right now, and during the last game against the Blues, there were a lot of butts in the seats. The home games are a step in the right direction. There's only 7 or so, but next year, the Hawks will have more time to work out TV schedules.
After watching the game against the Blues last Friday, I came to a conclusion: I don't feel sorry for you anymore, Chicago. In fact, I hate the Blackhawks.
I can't wait to watch us mercilessly crush the Hawks in the playoffs in the coming years.
P.S. The one thing I will never hate are the red Chicago Blackhawks jerseys - one of the best jerseys in professional sports. But that's it. I hate everything else about your team.