Always good idea to win this title now

Posted5/25/2010 12:01 AM

The only thing the Blackhawks should put off until next year is procrastinating.

They should quit smoking today, cut down on sugar tomorrow and write checks to their favorite charities next payday.


Oh, and win the Stanley Cup Finals sometime in the next couple of weeks.

This isn't a sooner-or-later proposition. It's a sooner or risk it being never, as countless former Chicago athletes can attest.

One prevailing sentiment concerning the Hawks is that if they don't win this Stanley Cup - which they are favored to do - they'll win one next year anyway and several more this decade.

Of course, that's ignoring the local lesson that if a team doesn't win its first title in its first real opportunity there's a good chance it won't win any.

The 1990s Bulls notwithstanding, too often wait 'til next year evolves from a battle cry into a crying shame.

Remember the 1969 Cubs? Similar to these Hawks, it was said that if they won one pennant they would win two or three and perhaps a couple of World Series.

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Decades later the Cubs have gone 101 seasons without winning a World Series and might go a few more centuries without even playing in one.

Walking through the Hawks' locker room after they won the Western Conference was like a stroll back through your own youth.

Look at Patrick Kane and remember how hard it was to grow a beard until you did. See Jonathan Toews and remember when your future was limitless until it wasn't.

Heck, it's easy to think there always will be another year, another decade, a lifetime to finish what you started.

When a team is one of the NHL's youngest it might believe it controls the clock. Growing older isn't a thought, much less a worry.

Salary-cap complications loom? Hah! Career-ending injuries are possible? Blah! Personnel miscalculations are inevitable? Phoo-phah!

Look at Brent Seabrook and Dustin Byfuglien now and you can't imagine them growing old. Not even Duncan Keith's dental mishap is a concern.


Ah, but then you wake up to your own aches, pains and realization that time guarantees nothing. As The Doors put it, "The future is uncertain and the end is always near."

Optimism will permeate the United Center when the puck drops on the Stanley Cup Finals. Why wouldn't it? The Hawks are young, talented and maturing quickly.

But what should be in Chicago sports often becomes what might have been. Many of our teams started out where the Hawks are now, but only those Bulls fulfilled their extended promise.

The 2005 White Sox? The World Series championship was great, but it's starting to look like it'll take 88 more years to win another.

The 1985 Bears? The Super Bowl victory was super, but the NFL's youngest team should have won one or two more.

How about the Hawks' dynasty that Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita were supposed to lead?

So much more was expected after those Hawks won the Stanley Cup in 1961. Nearly a half-century later the franchise has the NHL's longest championship drought.

So, fellas, if you don't win this one you might not win any. Instead of procrastinating, you might as well etch your names on the Cup now.

The only thing to put off until next year is repeating.