Earlier tonight, I took a look at the Flyers’ history since they won a Cup way back in 1975. Stretching back to 1961, it’s not out of order to say the world changed a lot since the Chicago Blackhawks won one. Here’s a timeline of nearly 50 years of heartache.
- After winning that Cup, the team made it to the Cup finals twice more but couldn’t seal the deal. Still, they were a very competitive team.
- In 1967, the Blackhawks made one of the worst trades in NHL history. The team sent future goal scoring dynamo (and inspiration for the great paraphrased bumper sticker, “Jesus saves, but Espo puts in the rebound”) Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield to Boston. That move helped fuel that franchise to win a Cup with Bobby Orr.
- The World Hockey Association lured Bobby Hull away during the 1972-73 season.
- To go full circle with low moments in trading, the team acquired Orr in 1976. Unfortunately, his knees were basically spaghetti by then.
- During the early to mid-80s the team featured Denis Savard and generally was competitive but unspectacular.
- The 1988-89 season was a landmark moment for the franchise, with both Eddie Belfour and Jeremy Roenick playing their rookie years. The team would have some great moments in those years.
- Including the 1991-92 campaign in which Roenick and Co. made it to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time in 19 years. Unfortunately, the Mario Lemieux-fueled Penguins swept them from the finals.
- The team would close out Chicago Stadium by 1995.
- Chicago eventually traded away Roenick, Belfour and Chris Chelios (not to mention losing Dominik Hasek) as the franchise began its spiral to true doom.
- By February 2004, things declined so severely that ESPN named the Blackhawks the worst franchise in sports. Ouch.
- This was an era marred by “Dollar” Bill Wirtz, with the biggest blunder being that Blackhawks home games weren’t televised according to logic that might as well have been listed on the walls of a cave.
- With new GM Dale Tallon, the team began to slowly get things back together starting in the 2004-05 season, but they had a long way to go.
- Things started to turn around when the Blackhawks chose Jonathan Toews with the third overall pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
- A year later, Chicago drafted Patrick Kane with the top pick in 2007.
- It is undoubtedly macabre, but if you ask many Chicago fans, they will say the biggest turning point occurred when Bill Wirtz passed away on September 26, 2007. His son “Rocky” allowed the team to, you know, enter the century.
- The 2008-09 season marked the first time the team made the playoffs in the Kane/Toews era.
So, after all that suffering and disappointment, the Blackhawks are only four wins away from winning a Cup and are undeniable favorites. One thing is clear: fans who stuck around since 1961 are among the most deserving of glory in all of sports.