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Blackhawks Weekly Wrap: To Infinity and Beyond



Take a look around the hockey landscape as the season winds down, and the Chicago Blackhawks are quietly in the background. No, they’re not competing for a Stanley Cup. But behind the bright lights of the Stanley Cup Final, the building blocks that could one day be leading Chicago back to the playoffs and eventually, contention, are honing their craft and waiting for their moment.

The collective parts of what the Blackhawks and their general manager Kyle Davidson are trying to build only works if everything comes together. There will be luck but there will also be bad breaks. Some of it will go as planned. There will be elements that won’t even come close.

But all of this reminds me of the Toy Story series, where Buzz Lightyear’s line serves as the rallying cry for whatever predicament the toys seem to be in. Though the focal points were always the stars, it was those behind the scenes who would rise at the right time to achieve whatever objective they were seeking.

Look no further than the third movie, where many argue the series should have ended. The tagline of the first movie becomes the closing thought of the third. But in what was their most harrowing adventure, every single one of those toys played a role in getting out of the hellscape that was the ironically named Sunnyside Daycare. Here were Andy’s once majestic toys now relegated to first the curb (accidentally) and then the daycare where they’re beaten to a pulp and ruled with an iron fist by Lotso.

For every moment of hope for escape, there’s a setback. When they finally do get out, they end up in a landfill and are moments away from being burnt to a crisp. But it’s the little aliens, who had their cameo in the first movie, that end up saving the lot from sure doom.

Toy Story Series a Parallel for the Rebuild Effort

Yes, the sum of the parts, from Mr. Potato Head sacrificing himself in the sandbox to the “oohing” aliens waited for their moment to shine. Sure, they were in the background for most of it. But when it was time to step up, it all came together.

Toy Story takes the idea of how even the shiniest and best toy fades and dulls with time. It’s the new ones, sometimes supplanted by the others, that causes the former glory to be restored.

A similar parallel can be drawn to the once mighty Blackhawks of the 2010s. By the end of the run, there was dissolution as well as other factors trumpeting that something new had to rise out of it. More forcefully, it was that glory was firmly in the past.

Looking around, the Blackhawks are seeing prospects playing meaningful hockey late into the year. The projected #1 pick they’re going to take in three weeks continues to collect hardware and dazzle the hockey world.  A once depleted farm system is now one of the rising success stories in the league. Those prospects are in the background right now–but may one day be counted on to bring the glory days back.

Back in 2010, the ideas of a dynasty were the hockey equivalent to the iconic “To Infinity and beyond” phrase.

A dynasty may or may not happen with the new group. But it’s something that doesn’t seem as much of a pipe dream as it did as little as a season ago.

To infinity and beyond, indeed.

CHN’s Top Ten Blackhawks Stories This Week

  • Ethan Del Mastro has the intangibles, the leadership, and the stats. Could he become the next big defenseman in the prospect pool?
  • Ryan Greene is one of many centers in the system who layers the depth down the middle
  • Connor Bedard swept the CHL awards.
  • The Thunderbirds got a game winner from Colton Dach showing his continued rise
  • Patrick Kane underwent a hip resurfacing and is out four-six months. Is the trade a little bit better now knowing the full extent of his injury?
  • Ian Mitchell has not been what Blackhawks fans or the front office thought he could be. But maybe one more full season with an improved roster could provide definitive clues as to whether it will work out or not.
  • What the heck to do at #19 in the Draft? Do the Blackhawks trade up with it? What about down? Should they deal it away for an NHL ready player who fits the rebuild schematic? Or just keep the damn thing?
  • Jason Dickinson brought a second-round pick over with him. His career year made the trade an easy win for the Blackhawks
  • He’s not coming back. But the legendary status that Patrick Kane leaves in Chicago deserves one final look.
  • Chicago had some big goals in the Stanley Cup Final. Here are three big ones you may have forgotten about

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