For so many reasons, the Blackhawks' 2010 Cup wins out
What a joy this must have been for the Blackhawks faithful at the club's fan convention over the weekend.
They could discuss, debate and dissect serious hockey issues like which of the Hawks' two recent Stanley Cup championships was more special.
It's like arguing whether the Beatles or Stones sound better, Streep or Day-Lewis acts better, Buffett or Gates prints money better.
You can't lose picking between winners.
The Hawks have won two Stanley Cups in four years, so let the comparisons commence.
Generally speaking, the first of anything is more tingly: first impression, first date, first kiss, first car, first beer, first Adam, first Eve, first anything.
So I'm going with 2010 over 2013.
This comparison of Hawks championships has nothing to do with how good the teams were, how exciting the games were or how difficult the journey was. It has to do simply with which was your favorite for whatever personal reason or reasons.
The players in 2010 -- that season and a couple of previous seasons as well -- faced daunting challenges on two fronts.
The first was to re-establish the Hawks as a perennial playoff participant after years of failure.
Considering the talent that core group possessed, qualifying for the postseason was the easier assignment.
More difficult was re-establishing the Hawks as a relevant sports entity in this town.
The Hawks had become a second-tier niche attraction back on the inside pages with soccer, horse racing and perhaps Roller Derby.
Up front were the Bears in pro football, the Cubs and White Sox in baseball, the Bulls in basketball … then somewhere on the fringes the Blackhawks in hockey.
Something had to change, and Hawks ownership did with the death of Bill Wirtz and emergence of Rocky Wirtz, and management did with the hiring of John McDonough and Jay Blunk.
But if the Hawks were going to embark on the road toward being all they could be, the players had to be all in.
If Hawks in 2008-09-10 were unappealing as people, a Stanley Cup victory would have drawn fans but not as many as a franchise needs to prosper.
Hockey players long have had the reputation as the most cooperative athletes with fans, the media and the community. But the Hawks had plunged so far down the local sports landscape that their players had to skate the extra mile.
They proved up to the task.
The Hawks gathered at center ice after every victory and raised their sticks toward the stands as thanks for the support. The game's No. 1 star made sure in the postgame TV interview to credit fans with providing the team with energy. Players made appearances all around town and all over the media to help market their team and their sport.
The movement back into the public psyche became a collaborative process that bonded the front office with players and players with fans.
Traditions were created, an identity was formed, and everything was passed down from 2010 to 2013.
Throughout that period of time, captain Jonathan Toews represented the Hawks so well that he still hasn't said anything but the right thing. Veteran teammates like Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa from 2010 taught Hawks youngsters in 2013 like Brandon Saad and Andrew Shaw the Hawks Way.
The first championship team began a culture that will perpetuate for years to come.
Even if this year's team could beat the team from three years ago, it never could be as special.