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Chicago Blackhawks: A Dynasty or Not?

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2015 Stanley Cup Champions

The question of whether the Chicago Blackhawks have reached the pinnacle of sports achievement is as close as it gets.

 

The Chicago Blackhawks have defeated the Tampa Bay Lighting 4-2 to claim their third Stanley Cup Title in six seasons.  There are good points to be made for this team being in the dynasty class as well as good reasons to say they are not quite worthy of such an honor.

 

The case for this team being a dynasty starts with the group of players that have won these three championships.  Captain Jonathan Toews along with Alternate Captains Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith have been members of all three title teams.  All Stars Marian Hossa and Brent Seabrook have also been members of all three winning teams.  Having such a quality core group to be members of all three Cup winning teams is important to claim a dynasty.

 

Another argument in favor of dynasty is that there have only been two other champions in the years Chicago has not won in this span.  The Boston Bruins won the Cup in 2011 along with the Los Angeles Kings in 2012 and 2014.  Chicago beat the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference Championship in 2013 en route to beating the Bruins in the Stanley Cup.  Chicago has an advantage over the only teams that have titles during their current run.

 

The 2015 Stanley Cup Championship run also speaks to a dynasty.  Chicago was without home ice advantage in three of the four series they played (including the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Finals).  Chicago won two multi overtime games in their first round series along with a multi overtime game in the Conference Finals.  They also won a Game Seven on the road to win the Conference Finals.  Chicago routinely showed the championship pedigree of a dynasty throughout these playoffs.

 

The case against starts with the oldest argument when it comes to dynasties and that is that they have not won consecutive titles.  There was a two season break between their first Cup in 2010 and a season break between 2013 and 2015.

 

The NHL also has a list of teams that have been dynasties that have been more dominant than Chicago’s current run.  These dynasties include The New York Islanders of the early 1980s winning four consecutive Stanley Cups (1980-1983).  The Edmonton Oilers had an impressive run in the late 1980s as well winning back to back titles in 1984 and 1985, 1986 and 1987, and in 1990.  The Montreal Canadiens also won five straight Stanley Cups (1956-1960).  The standard for dynasties in the NHL makes it tough to put the Blackhawks run in those esteemed classes.

 

Chicago also did not have the same goalie for all three championships.  Corey Crawford was between the pipes in 2013 and 2015, while Antti Niemi was the starting net minder in 2010.  Though Corey Crawford was on the roster in 2010, the importance of the goalie position and the fact that the same goaltender did not start in each championship season would seem to cut against the acclamation of the Blackhawks as a dynasty.

 

So these are the arguments, now what is the conclusion?  In my opinion, the Blackhawks are a dynasty.  For one, winning consecutive titles is a poor argument.  What matters is the number of championships in a condensed period of time, regardless of how they come.

 

While the accomplishment of other Stanley Cup dynasties is the best case against calling Chicago a dynasty, three championships is still a crowning achievement, and the fact that they beat the other two Cup winners during that time gives them a trump card to play.  The fact that Corey Crawford was on the team for all three titles and the starter for two is good enough for a dynasty.

 

What puts this Chicago team in dynasty class above everything else is the quality of their core group who have been on all three championship teams.  That camaraderie and togetherness paid off in spades in this run to the Stanley Cup that saw them win three series without home ice advantage, three multi overtime games, and a Game Seven on the road.  Teams that play their best in the big moments demonstrate a dynastic character.

 

The Blackhawks will enter this offseason with a lot of questions whether the core group previously lauded can all be kept.  This team’s dynasty may end as soon as it achieved that status.  If management can keep the core together and win another Stanley Cup within the next two seasons, then there won’t even be a question about the greatness of these teams.

 

 

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