Are the Chicago Blackhawks a dynasty? Yes!
The Chicago Blackhawks have just won their third Stanley Cup in the last six years which everyone acknowledges is a tremendous feat but the question being posed right now (mostly from the media) is are they a dynasty?
Short answer in my opinion, yes!
However, the question that no one has yet (in my opinion) to answer is what exactly defines a dynasty?
That’s where the ‘blurred lines’ come in because the definition varies depending on who you ask. Some simply say yes because they’ve won three Cups in six years…nuff said (I’m more in that ‘camp’). Some call it a “modern dynasty” (like “Jeopardy”…I’ll accept that answer) because since the 2004-05 NHL lockout (which cancelled the entire season that year) they are the first team to win three Stanley Cups. Why should that make a difference you may ask? Because after that lockout the NHL instituted a salary cap and unlike the NBA (which still allows teams to go ‘over’ the cap) the NHL doesn’t allow for a team to pay a ‘luxury tax’ should they go ‘over’ the cap…it is what’s called a ‘hard’ cap…you CAN’T go over it!
This makes it MUCH harder for a team in the NHL to win championships consistently because they are ‘bound’ by the cap. You can’t simply just go out and spend on the best players to your hearts content or maintain them (like you could before the lockout) you now have to actually scout, nurture and cultivate young talent through your minor league system (while still spending on free agent talent whenever possible) and then bring them up to your team and hope and pray they materialize into great players (Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Corey Crawford, etc…). While knowing you will LOSE some of those same great players in a short period of time because of the salary cap.
Some say they aren’t a dynasty (prefaced by “not yet” in most cases while still acknowledging it being a great feat) because they compare the Blackhawks to the Montreal Canadians of the 1970’s who won five Stanley Cups (between 1973-79) or the New York Islanders of the 1980’s who won four straight (1980-83) or the Edmonton Oilers who won five (between 1984 and 1990). All dynasties and great accomplishments obviously, but this was all PRE salary cap. While taking absolutely nothing away from those great teams I doubt if they could have won ALL (some if not most) of those Stanley Cups had a salary cap been in place because they couldn’t have signed or kept all of those great players they had.
But my definition of a dynasty goes a little deeper than maybe most because I look at sustainability.
In other words, were you able to maintain a consistent level of excellence in the years you DIDN’T win the championship? Were your teams competitive, a perennial playoff contender during those ‘down’ years? If the answer is yes, (see most recently over the last few years the New England Patriots, San Antonio Spurs, St. Louis Cardinals and yes…the Chicago Blackhawks all in each ‘major’ sport who can claim that mantle) then you my friend have what in my book is called a dynasty!
All of these organizations have maintained ‘power’ over a period of time (not ‘winning it’ every year which is close to impossible) and always being ‘in the hunt’ as well as seeing no immediate end to that power or dominance…that’s a dynasty!
Or break it down to it’s lowest common denominator, what’s the old saying? If you have to ask the question you already know the answer. I will say, in this ‘new’ era of the NHL salary cap that literally ‘forces’ and almost ‘rigs’ parity which also has a playoff format that really doesn’t ‘favor’ the ‘top’ teams what the Blackhawks have done in the last six years is downright amazing!
But at the ‘end of the day’ it’s up to us the individual to decide (in our own minds I guess) how we want to define the 2014-15 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks!
Me myself, I like the answer Scotty Bowman (Senior VP of Hockey Operations for the Blackhawks) and father of current G.M. Stan Bowman (named after the Cup) gave after the team won this current Stanley Cup…”oh yeah, it’s a dynasty”!
Who is Scotty Bowman some of you may ask (longtime hockey fans already know)?
He is only the former coach with the record for most wins in NHL history (fourteen hundred and sixty seven) total, the record for Stanley Cups as a coach (nine) which includes those five I listed above with the Montreal Canadians, one with the Pittsburgh Penguins and three with the Detroit Red Wings and five additional Stanley Cups as a player. I think he knows the definition of a dynasty.
And for those who may say he’s biased because his son is now the Blackhawks G.M. my answer is simple…so!
After all of his accomplishments (that I just listed)…I think I’ll take his definition of the Blackhawks being a dynasty (and any possible bias) over oh…I don’t know…EVERYBODY’S (mine included)!
Honestly, is there ANYBODY out there that has accomplished more in this sport than him and can claim to know more?
Once again, if you have to ask the question you already know the answer!
No matter where you may stand on this issue I think there’s one thing we can ALL agree on…
Congratulations to the 2014-15 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks!
Daryl is also a contributor to thestartinglineup.net