With the Stanley Cup Final in easy reach, things are now getting serious for the Chicago Blackhawks, who face Tampa Bay Lightning in the run up to the end of one of the most exciting hockey seasons in history.
For the Blackhawks however, rather than thinking about the future, they would be well advised to think about their past. This is a team which has only made it to the playoffs once between the 1997-98 and 2007-08 seasons.
However, they have gone on to have a particularly impressive run, considering the salary cap that was imposed in 2005. But they have no reason to be complacent.
In their most recent third final in six seasons, it was evident that Chicago had the advantage over Tampa Bay Lightning, who by comparison, did not perform as well in their second final. The Blackhawks were well aware of the fact that a highly motivated crowd and their classic tactics were the winning ingredients for a successful round of games – add all that to a little faith, and the Stanley Cup could indeed be theirs.
Chicago forward Patrick Sharp says of this faith: “I think we always have that feeling. It doesn’t matter how the game is going, doesn’t matter what the score is. I think there’s a belief in our room that things are going to happen when we stick to the game plan and trust the process.”
By comparison, while the Blackhawks have benefited from sticking to the status quo, Lightning have not, and their flaws have been evident in recent games. A seasoned hockey fan can see that Tampa have simply been sitting back and waiting for the play to come to them, rather than acting the other way around. This is something which the Blackhawks simply do not do.
Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa added: “The one thing definitely is that when we’re down, we don’t panic, we don’t change our style.
“I think so many guys went through these tough games so many times, so we know if we play our system right to the end, we’re going to get some chances. And we have enough guys who can score.”
What’s great about the Blackhawks is that they are all united in this thinking – they may have had a shaky decade in the late 90s, but in 2015, it looks like they’re set to come back with a bang.