Hawks now a model franchise

It's within reason for a fan to utter 'the D word' — as in dynasty

The day after a championship parade, it's easy to lose perspective on just how impressive the Blackhawks' second Stanley Cup in four years really is.

General manager Stan Bowman should be the toast of the town. It's going to be difficult for any general manager in town to eclipse Bowman's magic any time soon.

Bowman turned over more than half of his roster after the 2010 Cup. More critical than the moves Bowman made was the one he didn't make.

He stayed the course with Patrick Kane after Kane's substandard season a year ago. Patience among Hawks fans wore thin when Kane encored a second straight first-round postseason exit with more fraternity-house antics.

Now Kane is a more adult 24-year-old who elevated his game dramatically in the 48-game regular season before copping the Conn Smythe award and a seat next to David Letterman.

Bryan Bickell's game-tying goal with the Hawks' net empty, followed by Dave Bolland's Cup winning-tally 17 seconds later, will be relived over and over, as it should be. For the second time in four years, the Hawks authored one of the most jaw-dropping finishes in a championship clincher in NHL history.

What's blurred now in Hawkeytown is how they were left for dead in Round 2 when the Red Wings had them on the ropes three games to one. And faith in the Blackhawks waned enormously in the finals after the Bruins' 2-0 shutout in Game 3 gave them a 2-1 series lead.

Smart people have suggested the Stanley Cup is the most difficult trophy to win in professional sports. Even those who didn't pay attention to hockey before to the 2010 ride now can explain why. The difference between success and failure is so microscopic. It's a game of extreme randomness and sometimes good fortune prevails over superior performance.

The Hawks now have two Cups in four years. With a young core — excepting Marian Hossa — it's reasonable to expect more. It is within reason for a Hawks fan to utter "the D word" — as in dynasty.

The Hawks barely were on the radar when the White Sox won the World Series in 2005. Now the heading-nowhere-fast Sox are riding the coattails of the Hawks' success, discounting tickets for those who wear Blackhawks gear this weekend.

I don't ridicule the Sox for the promotion. Whatever it takes to move a few more barrels of beer and bratwursts to help offset Jeff Keppinger's $3 million salary.

Perhaps the White Sox and the Bears take notice of the Hawks' blueprint and build something great with smart drafting and development of players rather than rolling dice on projects and patching holes with castoffs.

The Hawks also possessed a willingness to be unpopular when they fired favorite son Denis Savard as coach just four games into the '08-'09 season. Chairman Rocky Wirtz made the right decision as Joel Quenneville since has built a resume deserving of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Can you see Reinsdorf pulling the plug on Robin Ventura? His club has regressed in every category almost halfway through this baseball season.Savard was cut loose four games into a season. The team sited "a flat camp" as the reason for jettisoning one of the most popular players in club history.

How many more times do John Paxson's Bulls have to fail to make the NBA Finals before his collar gets tight?

Loyalty is fine, but professional sports franchises are in the results business. Invariably, that requires ruthlessness.

As a Hawks fan, I'm thrilled "my team" possesses all of the requisite characteristics to ensure those results. Those banners.

And I want more. But now is the time to bask in what nobody ever dreamed imaginable — this is a Blackhawks town now.

Special contributor Dan McNeil hosts "The McNeil and Spiegel Show" weekdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on WSCR-AM 670.

CHICAGO

More