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Wednesday, June 12

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Blackhawks Mon Nov 25 2013

Blackhawks Giving Many Chicagoans A Reason For Saying Thanks

Thumbnail image for GB blackhawks icon.png It's been a rough go of things here in the city of big shoulders as of late to say the least. The Cubs' rebuilding effort has everyone asking how much longer the aches and pains will continue. All the while, the constant battle as to whether or not owner Tom Ricketts can place signage on his stadium while pleasing rooftop owners is enough drive anyone crazy who pays attention.

The White Sox are coming off a season in which they lost 99 games; the Bears can't stop anyone with half an offense; and Derrick Rose tore his medial meniscus in his right knee and is officially out for the rest of the season.

Our city is broke, the Ventra card is a joke, and the Willis Tower got beat out for tallest in the country, which sparked a beat down towards our deep dish pizza on The Daily Show. It's cold, it's dark and there's no hope in sight for anything to get us excited about again to raise those proud broad shoulders. Thank goodness for the Blackhawks.

The holidays are upon us, which means spending more time with family and friends, a chance to give a little more to those less fortunate, and a time to reflect and give thanks for the things in our lives that put a smile on our faces and warm our hearts. For those who look to sports teams for that glimmer of hope and respite from the daily grind, it should begin and end with the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Until just recently it seemed the Blackhawks never received the proper ink it deserved in terms of being recognized as a fan favorite amongst the masses in this town. Yes, there are the many diehards who have followed this team through thick and thin; they are the few who have suffered through the dark days of watching their team make playoffs once in 10 seasons from 1998 until 2007.

Even when the Blackhawks reached the Cup final in 1992 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, it still had to compete with Michael Jordan and the start of a dynasty. The Blackhawks eventually were swept while the Bulls became the darlings of the town. Sure, it was a ton of fun rooting for the Bulls during those years, but the Blackhawks were still considered second-class citizens, playing a game foreign to most even in an Original-Six town like Chicago.

My, how quickly things have changed. In the past four seasons, the Blackhawks have brought Lord Stanley home twice and it seems the city finally is paying attention. Walk down the street and you'll see almost everyone wearing a Blackhawks ski cap or a kid on the playground wearing a Kane 88 sweatshirt.

It's a renaissance for hockey in Chicago and we all as fans have the organization to thank for, at the very least, giving us pride and a little extra zip in our step as we gripe and groan over Shea McClellin and Cutler's groin. Can you imagine if the Blackhawks weren't good? If they didn't win the Cup last season? It'd be a pretty gloomy stretch to get through to March for college basketball's tournament to distract everyone.

Talented players like Kane and Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Corey Crawford have become household names over the past handful of seasons and it seems they're going to be around for a little while longer. Give thanks, Chicago. It's rare a team this good is around for this long with a chance to add more hardware in its trophy case and memories in our minds.

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