Saturday, October 11, 2008

Mirror Images

I can't help but notice how similar the Chicago Blackhawks are to our very own Capitals. You kind of get the feeling that there's a new-ness and an energy swirling around both of these franchises. It's almost as though the Hawks looked at the template that the Caps were establishing last season and jumped right in to follow along.

The comparisons between the young, up-and-coming talent were illustrated in a very obvious way last season as Nicklas Backstrom dueled it out with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews for the Calder Trophy (which Toews should have won despite the number of missed games).

Sadly and ironically, much of the fresh feeling around the Chicago club was generated after the passing of their longtime owner Bill Wirtz. He was and old-school owner who insisted that Hawk's games be blacked out on TV if the arena wasn't sold out (which it seldom was). Therefore, a recent generation of hockey fans were missing out on exposure to their home team.

Since then, the team has been overhauled into a faster, more energetic group and they served notice that they're ready to compete this year when they signed swift skating defenseman Brian Campbell and that good-for-nothing traitor Cristobal Huet during free agency. I hope the Caps score 10 on him (but I digress).

Just as Chris Clark, Green, and Brooks Laich have emerged for the Caps, the buzz around the NHL is that this season will be a breakout year for Dustin Byfuglien. (pronounced Buff-Linn, but the juvenile in me usually goes with Butt-Fugly-en)

Fortunately for Caps fans, we got a head start on them in this tuning up process, and perhaps the evidence of that will be on display Saturday night.

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