The defending champs showed they didn’t use up all their magic last season, as they stormed back to claim a 6-4 victory over Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals on opening night.
After the pregame ceremony recapping the Hawks’ playoff run culminating with the raising of the 2013 championship banner, the Hawks came out of the gates flying. Leading 3-2 after two periods, it appeared as if everything would go as planned for the Hawks the night they raised their championship banner.
However, two early third period power play goals by Mikhail Grabovski put a damper on the night as it appeared the Hawks might have used up all their magic during last season’s playoff run.
The Hawks showed the poise of a champion, however, scoring three times in the final 12-plus minutes to claim the opening night victory. Seeing the Hawks pull off another exciting comeback shows they have plenty left in the tank after a very short offseason.
After another rousing comeback, many people wonder can the Blackhawks repeat as champs?
Repeating in the NHL has proven to be near impossible in this recent era. The last team to turn the trick was the 1997-1998 Detroit Red Wings. Those Wings teams played in an era without a salary cap, as they were able to load up on as much talent as the deep pockets of team owner Mike Ilitch could afford.
The Red Wings came close to repeating in 2008-2009, but lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 7 of the 2009 Finals. Those Wings teams were able to keep their nucleus intact, just as the Hawks have done entering this season.
Thus, with the nucleus of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Duncan Keith, Corey Crawford, Bryan Bickell and Marian Hossa intact, the Hawks have a veteran group that knows what to expect throughout a long regular season including an Olympic break and an outdoor game at Soldier Field. Youngsters like Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw, Jimmy Hayes and Ben Smith can inject a veteran team with some youthful exuberance, giving the Hawks another dimension.
After watching old and young Hawks help pull off a memorable opening night comeback victory, one thing is for sure: The Hawks still have plenty of magic up their sleeve and have as good a shot as any recent champ to repeat.
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