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updated: 6/12/2013 9:55 AM

Blackhawks fans, get ready for the parade

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  • Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews accepts, but doesn't touch, the Campbell Cup after defeating the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday for the NHL Western Conference Championship at the United Center.

      Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews accepts, but doesn't touch, the Campbell Cup after defeating the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday for the NHL Western Conference Championship at the United Center.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
By Mike North

I was not quite accurate when I predicted the Blackhawks would beat the Los Angeles Kings in six games.

Actually it only took five games to put them away, partially because Patrick Kane got his groove back.

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So now the Boston Bruins stand in the way of the Blackhawks bringing home the Stanley Cup again. It's hard to believe the Blackhawks were on the edge of elimination just a couple of weeks ago against the Detroit Red Wings.

Since that series, the Hawks seem to be confident, loose and freewheeling. With their two marquee stars -- Jonathan Toews and Kane -- back on track, the Hawks have all cylinders working.

I look for the Blackhawks to implement the same game plan they used against the Kings because the similarities between Boston and L.A. are a little eerie.

Both teams consist of big, physical, fast players. The Hawks responded well and used their quickness and great goaltending to neutralize the Kings, and they will need to do the same against the Bruins.

In a year when there was a lockout resulting in a limited schedule, someone was, for a change, smiling down on hockey.

In a time where expansion took the sport from the penthouse to the outhouse, where ESPN would rather televise the X Games and professional bowling than hockey, this Original Six match up is intriguing because it's the first time two of the NHL's original six teams have met in the finals since 1979.

For the unaware, the National Hockey league in 1917 consisted of just six teams -- the Boston Bruins, the Blackhawks, the Detroit Red Wings, the New York Rangers, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montréal Canadiens.

The only real casualty of the lockout just may be the Hawks. If they win the Stanley Cup it will be great, but the abbreviated schedule has muffled the talk of where this squad would rank among the all-time great teams.

But that's OK -- we will take any honors no matter how many games they played. However, I do know that if they had played the customary 80-plus game schedule, they would be in the conversation.

Both teams have survived some doubts. The Hawks came back from being down 3-1 to beat the Wings. The Bruins were down 4-1 in Game 7 to Toronto and came back by scoring 3 goals in 90 seconds to win in overtime.

Both teams are resilient and well-coached, but the Blackhawks' quickness and defense will knock the Bruins out. Get ready for the parade -- we are only a couple of weeks away.

Program Note:

Watch me on "Mancow" on WPWR Channel 50 at 6 a.m. Wednesday, Friday and Monday.

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