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Blackhawks Cinema and Hockey: ‘Could Be Part of Something’

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It’s been awhile since the last Blackhawks Cinema and Hockey Blend. After listening to what was said postgame last night, one movie popped into my head almost immediately.

Blackhawks forward and alternate captain Nick Foligno talked specifically about how to overcome the losses that keep hanging around the Blackhawks.

One answer in particular stood out.

“We’re trying to claw back late in games and it looks good, like we almost score, but it’s almost,” Foligno said. “It’s not good. We don’t put points on the board. We need to find a way to get that into overtime or win it by playing the right way. That’s the result you’re going to get in this league when you don’t play or respect how hard it is to win. We can’t be OK with just these sometimes we play well, sometimes we do the right things; that’s winning habits and we haven’t built those enough.”

To Blackhawks fans watching at home or at the United Center, Foligno speaks their language. And it reminds me of Gene Hackman in the 2000 movie The Replacements. 

Different Situations With the Blackhawks but a Similar Theme

The Replacements isn’t exactly the same situation here. The movie follows the Washington Sentinels, who in a fictional league, sees its professional players go on strike and the Sentinels’ owner seeking out a coach who can win with replacement players. The coach, Jimmy McGinty, played brilliantly by Hackman, values the skills it takes to win whether they’re replacement or professionals.

McGinty challenges quarterback and former college star Shane Falco to push through his fear by reminding him that “winners always want the ball when the game’s on the line.” Turns out that Falco has the heart and selflessness the team needs to win. Though the replacements inevitably are displaced once the season ends, it’s the fact that they set the foundation for what can be as opposed to what is right now.

Though the Blackhawks aren’t employing replacement players, every single player right now on the roster is competing for not only a spot now, but down the road. Kyle Davidson and the front office are analyzing everything to see who stays and who goes in a move to bring the right–and yes elite–pieces around Connor Bedard.

Because a rebuild season is a means to an end. It doesn’t denigrate the efforts of those playing in that rebuild season. But the particular rebuild season serves a dual purpose: to ice a team and to ice one that allows for an opportunity to get some lottery luck.

No, they’re not replacements in the sense of the movie’s definition. But all but the core are replaceable in a season or two.

The McGinty like voice in the locker room–beyond what head coach Luke Richardson is trying to teach, are the veterans: Corey Perry, Nick Foligno, Connor Murphy, and Seth Jones. They are staring down the reality that their work now won’t result in a Stanley Cup for them later. No, they’ll simply be builders who got the Blackhawks to where they needed to eventually get to. If Jones does see it through, it’s more because of his contract than anything else.

That’s selflessness, pride, and the culture they’re trying to implement. Perry, and Foligno especially know they’re unlikely to be there. Like Falco, it’s merely a short time and then out.

But it doesn’t underestimate their role. If anything, it emphasizes it even more. That if done correctly, regardless of timeline, it sets the stage for sustained success later on.

Better yet, Foligno’s quote can be correlated to what McGinty told Falco in the movie. When pressed by Falco as to why McGinty wanted him on the team, the response went like this:

“I look at you and I see two men: the man you are, and the man you ought to be. Someday those two will meet.”

When the Blackhawks get there, they’ll be able to thank Foligno, Perry and whole host of veterans for helping them arrive.

CHN Top 10

  1. Blackhawks know that “We’re a Way Better Team than We’re Showing.”
  2. On the Blackhawks roster depth and 60 minutes of play
  3. Blackhawks Prospect Report: Colton Dach’s Hatty and Frank Nazar still is on fire
  4. Shoot the puck more, young man. The Blackhawks will benefit if Lukas Reichel is indeed more selfish
  5. Corey Perry has been worth every penny so far
  6. Blackhawks by the numbers looks at goal scoring
  7. Patrick Kane was traded exactly when he should have been
  8. The rebuild report compares the 05-06 Pittsburgh Penguins start to the Blackhawks
  9. OHL prospects are scoring at will — score one for the Blackhawks future
  10. Postgame chatter sees that maybe they’re being a little “too cute”

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