There has long been commentary that it is extremely difficult for Stanley Cup Champions to repeat in part due to the so-called “Stanley Cup Hangover”. Essentially, a team wins Lord Stanley in mid-June, then parades it around and celebrates (rightfully so) after playing for 9+ months.
All of a sudden it’s mid-September and training camp starts the season all over again. So, basically a player is only off for 3 months out of two full seasons plus the playoffs. Eventually, the theory goes, exhaustion just overtakes the team, leaving it unable to perform at the level needed to complete a 16 game post-season run.
Well, it now seems that in the case of the Chicago Blackhawks, a fan version of the Stanley Cup Hangover is already upon us. This off-season truly feels like a bad combination of wine, mixed drinks and shots all celebrated in way too short period of time. Let me break this down into a mixology of sorts for you:
- The Bloody Brandon Saad – You want to start out the celebratory night slowly with a drink that shows promise yet seems safe and instead, wham it tastes awful, almost painful to swallow! You grab the mixer and read the bottle – “Made in Columbus”. The spices no one saw coming literally burn all the way down and brings tears to even the strongest Man-Child.
- Patrick Sharp Cabernet – Determined to still enjoy the night, you move on to a more sophisticated, yet always reliable partner. But before you can appreciate it’s full-bodied complexity, this smooth, easy drinking delight is traded to Dallas. Like a fine wine who’s time has now passed, you knew this was coming. You research and eagerly sample the new vintage, but the return is well, lacking.
- So Long Island Iced Tea – A sweet and complimentary combination of Vermette, Richards, and Odouya with a Timonen chaser. This feel happy drink makes you warm and nostalgic. Plus, since the drink is made right, you fondly remember each ingredient’s contribution when it’s finished. You have two because how can you not love Timonen?!
- Core Team Shots – Feeling emboldened you are now ready to party. It’s time to celebrate with your team by doing shots. There’s the Captain My Captain Morgan shot for Toews; the refined Slovakian Brandy for Hossa; the F-Bomb Crawfordchatta, The Jammer (don’t know what’s in it, but it absorbs all the pain), and finally the Duncan Keith (AKA Last Man Standing).
So now you are feeling great and looking forward to another winning season. The time is now 3:45 A.M and it’s last call. You head out, home to sleep off the celebration. You have had enough. On your way out you hear your favorite and most talented friend shout out to the bartender, “Just give me one more shot. Make it a Kamikaze!”. You laugh and shake your head, not realizing the impact that last drink will have on your world and that of the entire organization.
You awake the next morning, feeling quite smug and trudge off to work. Realizing you haven’t heard from Mr. Kamikaze Party Boy, you text your buddy to see how he’s doing after that one last drink. All of a sudden your head starts to throb and you feel nauseous as you get the Raanta dry heaves and just want to go back home. You swear on your three championships in 6 years that you will never drink again — unless it’s out of that damn Cup.
Rick is fortunate to live off the I-90 hockey corridor where both his beloved Chicago Blackhawks and Rockford IceHogs (aka Baby Hawks) call home. Hockey has been in his blood since the early 1970’s when he saw his first Blackhawks game at the “Old Barn”. His favorite player is Keith Magnuson followed closely by Bobby Hull (old school!). When not covering the greatest sport, he enjoys watching live music and has even been known to join his beloved bands on stage for a song or two. Follow Rick on Twitter via @HawksStrength