Rozner: Blackhawks find the end of a dynasty isn't pretty
Dynasties rarely end with a parade.
It ends just this way, a team never certain it's over, continuing to look for that one last shot.
Still, crystal balls are cloaked in 20-20 hindsight, so obvious is the result that dirt is piled on everyone and everything.
The only thing more plentiful than losses is the number of targets to blame.
Always lots of blame.
Perspective is difficult to see in the dark of night -- and it's pitch black in Blackhawks nation.
Suddenly, everyone saw it coming a mile away.
Except that no one wanted the Hawks broken up after a third Stanley Cup in 2015 when the Hawks appeared primed for another half-decade of success.
In 2016, a disastrous defensive play with 11:46 remaining in Game 7 of a brutal series with St. Louis cost them the chance to advance and -- perhaps -- repeat.
Break it up? No one believed the run was over. Besides, a year removed from a title hardly seemed the time.
A year ago, the Hawks were the best team in hockey for two months and flew to the top of the Western Conference in March. They were the favorites to win the Cup going into the playoffs. It would have been an odd time to think it was over.
But Joel Quenneville gave his core the final two weeks of the regular season to rest, rewarding his players for their effort.
There's always been a reciprocal agreement. He takes care of them and trusts them, and they pay him back with effort and rings.
It did not happen. They let him down.
But more than that, they looked old, slow and tiny against a young, fast and physical Nashville team.
So they began to alter the roster, looking for more youth, speed and size, but the last month has been further proof that rebuilding with half a roster locked into long and expensive contracts -- in a hard-cap league -- is a big ask.
It's further proof that all dynasties have a grim ending. No one really sees the end until it is the end.
It will happen to the Patriots. It will happen to the Warriors. It has happened to the Hawks -- three years without winning a playoff series -- barring some sort of Penguins-like resurgence down the road, fueled by youngsters.
But perspective may be the least common trait among the modern populace, able to spit out immediate judgment, counted instantly in characters and likes.
Fire everyone and torch the building, eliminating all remnants and odors. This is the order of the day.
Little thought is given to what's occurred the past 10 years on West Madison, no pause for reflection, hardly a memory of what the previous two decades resembled, hardly a memory of what it feels like to escape the abyss, breathe clean air and celebrate a generation of excellence.
Not that long ago -- relatively speaking, and especially for any who lived through the misery -- this was the worst franchise in all of sports, but under Rocky Wirtz it has become one of the very best in every imaginable way, using any imaginable metric.
It has been a heck of a run and worth a few moments to celebrate before taking a match to all of it.
All good teams must come to an end. It is the eternal way of things.
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