You’ve all waited for this. Through a tough season of tanking. Watching Patrick Kane get unceremoniously traded. Saying goodbye to Jonathan Toews in a tearful goodbye. Only getting Connor Bedard could make it better.
May 8th happened. A glorious surprise. It was like Christmas morning with every gift you could have ever asked for, glistening in the twinkle of the lights wrapped around the tree.
One that allowed you to forget all of it for a moment, and suddenly see that there was hope. That something might come out of it. Despite beating Pittsburgh in a meaningless game, you not only killed their playoff hopes, you earned some approving nods from the Hockey Gods.
They saw. And they blessed Chicago with the lottery win.
me going to sleep knowing we have the #1 pick tomorrow pic.twitter.com/Py568AxPSp
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) June 28, 2023
The Path Won’t Be Without Its Bumps in the Road
Now, there’s a lot of sour grapes around the league when it comes to other fans. Some whined that it was rigged. Others don’t feel you deserve it.
In spite of the wailing and gnashing of teeth, Chicago still came out the victor of the Lottery. But it’s not going to suddenly get better overnight.
Bedard will arrive with fanfare, as he should. There hasn’t been this excitement in the city about a top pick since Derrick Rose. Not even Patrick Kane received the attention Bedard has–through no fault of his own. But hockey was an after thought in the city when Kane was taken first. It had been over a decade since the Blackhawks advanced beyond the first round, and they were still a season away from making the playoffs.
Then, they did. It all happened in a flash. A winning record with Kane and Toews and Savvy running the show. The next season, not only do the Blackhawks make the playoffs, they play Detroit tough in a five-game Western Conference Final loss.
Then, a season later, they win it all. Three seasons later they do it again. A couple years after that, it’s their third in six years.
But after that, it blows up. A first round loss to St. Louis. Swept by Nashville as the top seed a season later. Then nothing. Sure, there was the fluky bubble playoff series in 2020, but it amounted to nothing more than a tease. The downward trajectory continued all the way through to May 7.
Then hope arrived in the way of Bedard. But returning to the original point–this upcoming season won’t suddenly change things. There will be losing streaks. Bedard will appear frustrated. It’ll look hopeless at times. Hell, Connor McDavid crashed into the boards his rookie year and missed nearly half the season. There will be low points for sure.
It’s all part of the next step of the process. He can’t win games alone and by God, he’ll still do it solo on some nights. But there’s still a process in place and that frustration will set in.
But when it does, remember this: There was just an 11.5% chance of winning the lottery.
Now it’s an 100% chance things get better in Chicago.
Never forget, it’s what you hoped and waited for–Connor Bedard will be a Chicago Blackhawk.