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Roeper: Hollywood couldn’t make up anything as exciting as this Hawks season

Updated: June 24, 2013 11:28PM



Wow.

If that wasn’t the most thrilling championship clincher in Chicago sports history, what was?

Michael Jordan’s game-winner against the Utah Jazz in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals was a moment for the ages — but if the Bulls didn’t win that game, did anyone expect the Jazz to prevail in a Game 7?

The Blackhawks’ stunning last-minute victory in Boston was... amazing. Special.

A once-in-a lifetime moment.

SPOILER ALERT!

And the winner for Best Drama of 2013 goes to:

The Chicago Blackhawks.

All due respect to “Game of Thrones,” “Mad Men” and “The Walking Dead” on the small screen, not to mention 2013 films starring the likes of Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and Leonardo DiCaprio, the Hawks’ quest for the Cup has outshined them all for thrills, spills and yes, chills.

In one of the most stunning turnarounds in a potential clinch game in the history of sports, the Blackhawks scored two goals within a 17-second span late in the third period to snatch victory from the Bruin-bear jaws of defeat. Suddenly a city gearing up for a Game 7 in Chicago had to make the same kind of adjustments the Hawks had to make all season long.

No worries. We’ll never take it for granted, but we’re getting pretty good at this Stanley Cup celebration thing. Over the next week or so, hundreds if not thousands of Chicago-area Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts will be updated to include “Me With the Cup!” photos.

From Patrick Kane’s off-season follies to the lockout that threatened to kill the season before it even started, through arguably the greatest start in NHL history, continuing on to the best record in the regular season, coming back from 3-1 playoff deficit to the dreaded Red Wings, knocking off the defending champion L.A. Kings and their bandwagon-hopping celebrity fans in the Conference Finals, and then defeating the classy, talented, worthy ferocious Boston Bruins in an Original Six matchup for the ages — take a breath here — what a year.

What a team.

Taking away nothing from the 2010 Stanley Cup champions, this edition (which features a number of key core performers from three years ago, including those Chevy-selling superheroes Jonathan Toews and Kane) of the Blackhawks was more exciting, more entertaining, more everything. It was that rare sequel that eclipsed the original.

Sacrilege though it may be to hear this coming from a diehard Cell-mate that remembers 2005 as if it were yesterday, the 2013 Blackhawks just might be the most popular Chicago championship team since the 1998 Bulls.

After starring in “The Hangover, Part 2,” Kane and his mother went to Europe, where he cleaned up his act and she made sure he had clean clothes.

Then there was the “Lockout” of 2012, which was a Guy Pearce/Maggie Grace movie, and the contractual impasse that delayed the start of the season until January of 2013. And what about that “2 Fast 2 Furious” competition between goalies Corey Crawford and Ray Emery?

OK. No more with the movie titles. Promise.

From “Walking Dead” to “Breaking Bad,” from “Sons of Anarchy” to “Mad Men,” from “Game of Thrones” to “Downton Abbey,” some of our favorite TV shows are suspended in time, with all those great characters stuck in place, waiting for the writers and the calendar to give them life again.

Not so with the Blackhawks. Yes, their season started late, but there was no mid-season hiatus, no holiday stretch of reruns, no lull in the action. They hit the ice skating, shrugged off any chance of a Sports Illustrated cover curse after SI credited the Hawks with saving hockey, and just kept on playing their game.

For the second time in four seasons, the Chicago Blackhawks and by association their legions of famously intense, famously loyal and famously LOUD fans have possession of Lord Stanley’s Cup — the most hallowed cup this side of Harry Potter’s Goblet of Fire.

We don’t know the words to “Chelsea Dagger.” (I’m not so sure the Fratelli’s know the words to Chelsea Dagger.) But for the rest of the this week, we’ll be singing that “Do do do do do” part, and you won’t be able to get it out of your head, not for a very long time.

What a beautiful problem to have.



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