MVR, our very thorough and very consistent researcher reminded us recently that two-way centers especially tend to dip in their production considerably in their late twenties. Jonathan Toews, my favorite all-time hockey player, is 28. He didn't even have a shot on goal against the Minnesota Wild in what was supposed to be a "statement game" against a team on the tail-end of a back-to-back at home. He's had a lousy season even taking into account his time off. Marian Hossa is 38 even though he has apparently sipped from the Fountain of Youth prior to this season. The Brent Seabrooks and Duncan Keiths aren't getting any younger. CC might have to go due to his salary and our Cap which also brings up the fact that our Dynamic Duo make $21 million between the two of them.
Other teams have caught up. We are no longer the fastest or even one of the fastest skating teams. We no longer have the puck possession game. We typically get outshot. These attributes are just not our team. Virtually every game is a struggle and it's been this way through very many of our wins. The young guns like Hartman, Schmaltz and such seem like they'll only get better, but by how much? We're not talking difference-makers like a Brandon Saad here. They appear to be very nice role players to be and that's all.
At some point, we all are going to have to have a self-chat insofar as our expectations or else it could be a waste of three hours every couple of nights and not just this year. I'm at the stage in my life when I'm holding onto sports by a thread. In my mid-fifties, I know that I have so many other things to do with my life (piano, home improvement, trying to be a great teacher, trying to be a super husband, active in my church, etc.), but can't let the Blackhawks go despite being bored most of the time. How could I be bored? They'll be in the playoffs, right? They still have some superstar players, a great ONE line, right? Yeah, this is true, but I can't help but wonder if this is still the beginning of the end of this franchise that has given us so very much since 2008-9. Can I settle for less at this stage of my life? Can I accept a Jonathan Toews becoming a shell of himself? Can I be happy just making it to the playoffs? Will one playoff win give me the chills anymore? Can I be happy to spend three hours every other night watching two or three plays that entertain me while the rest of the play is boring, even in a win? Yes, I'm spoiled, but frankly I don't think I could continue to follow a team like this anymore even if they never had been better. The spoiled part only makes it worse!
1. Is anyone else even remotely going through a similar dilemma?
2. Are there any pieces of advice?
3. Can somebody give me some honest-to-goodness reasoning that this is probably not the beginning of the end?