The Blackhawks celebrated their fifth Stanley Cup championship with a jubilant parade that ended with a rally in Grant Park. Sports writers Tom Musick and Jeff Arnold discuss:
Musick: What a team. What a season. What a parade. I wasn’t here when the Bulls enjoyed all of their Grant Park rallies, but I’ve got to say that the Hawks know how to draw a crowd. What jumped out to you most about the Hawks’ big celebration?
Arnold: Besides Corey Crawford’s speech that was sponsored by the letter ‘F’? It was my first championship parade, and the way the city has embraced this team and did again by showing up in droves on Friday really stuck out. There’s been a really strong connection between Chicago and the Hawks all season. I’m glad I saw you on the train coming downtown, because otherwise I would have lost you somewhere in the mass of 2 million folks. Quite a scene, huh?
Musick: Absolutely. I thought the train ride would be more crowded, but once we arrived to Washington Street, I realized that the bulk of the crowd already had showed up to stake its place along the parade route. What did you think of Crawford’s R-rated speech? I know team president John McDonough and the Hawks like to market themselves as the team you’d want to introduce to your mother. Do you think the foul-mouthed goaltender got called into the principal’s office?
Arnold: I think Crawford had a little liquid assistance if you know what I mean and perhaps there was a bit of wrist-slap, but probably nothing more. I’m not easily offended and, honestly, I expected that kind of speech from Patrick “That’s hockey, baby” Kane. But everyone at Grant Park seemed to love it and the players got a kick out of it. I’m sure there were some parents who wished their kids hadn’t heard his made-for-HBO speech, but I also saw multiple media sites call it “epic.”
If the Hawks do celebrate next year, who’s not part of the party in your mind?
Musick: Good question. I definitely think unrestricted free-agent Viktor Stalberg will be elsewhere, scoring more goals and winning fewer games. Another team also will give unrestricted free-agent Ray Emery more money and more starts in net. And if the Hawks are serious about re-signing Bryan Bickell, it might mean that they have to trade a guy like Dave Bolland, even though he happened to score the goal that clinched the Stanley Cup.
Arnold: I think Bickell provides the Hawks with a top-line player who certainly has established some chemistry with Kane and Jonathan Toews. If the Hawks are serious about building that over-used dynasty tag everyone on talk radio has been throwing around for the past six days, I think they’ve got to make a push to keep him. I think Emery is a no-brainer and Stalberg certainly won’t be sad to leave Joel Quenneville’s dog house. But right now, there’s so much to like with the prospects of all they have coming back.
Musick: Exactly. As you wrote this season, highly touted forward Jeremy Morin is eager for a piece of the action. So is Jimmy Hayes. So is Ben Smith. So is puck-moving defenseman Adam Clendening. All of which brings me to my next question: Which Chicago sports team hosts the next parade? Could it be Marc Trestman’s Bears? Tom Thibodeau’s Bulls? One of the city’s two baseball teams whose names I have forgotten? Maybe I’m wrong, but I’d say the Hawks host their third consecutive parade before any of those other teams march to Grant Park.
Arnold: To quote Crawford, ‘(Bleeping) right,’ Tom. I think the Bears are at least 1 or 2 years away from contending, I think the Bulls are at least that (or more if Derrick Rose keeps fans on this emotional I’ll-play-when-I’m-ready roller coaster) and the Cubs and Sox? Their best shot at a parade is stowing away on one of the Hawks double-decker buses. So I hope fans got their fill of championship parades Friday because as far as titles go, this town now belongs to the Hawks.
Musick: I can’t argue with that. See you on the train.