When I got tickets for Wednesday night's Blackhawks vs. Red Wings game, the playoff push did not factor into the decision. The Blackhawks haven't been to the Stanley Cup playoffs since 2002, have only been in the playoffs four times since I graduated high school in 1995 and haven't been a factor since a few years before that.
I just wanted to have a good time. The Red Wings game was part of a five-ticket package and since
my bookie my girlfriend is from the Detroit area, the choice was a no brainer. Now getting Celeste to buy the tickets as a present to me, that took some doing.
But looky looky, the Blackhawks are still technically in the hunt for the eighth and final playoff spot. Basically the Hawks need to win their last three games in regulation to get 90 points. Going into OT will kill the dream.
Those wins have to come tonight vs. NHL-leading Detroit, current-holder of the 8th spot Nashville on Friday and the Red Wings again in the season finale at Joe Louis Arena on Sunday.
Keep in mind that James Mirtle, a hockey savant, said the Blackhawks were eliminated on March 16. So this breakdown is probably for naught.
Nashville has 89 points after Tuesday's win at St. Louis.
The Preds play at St. Louis on Thursday before heading to the UC on Friday. The good news is that Nashville will be playing the second leg of a back-to-back vs. the Hawks. The bad news is the Preds can basically eliminate the Hawks with one point on Thursday.
Vancouver did the Hawks a favor with a 4-2 loss to Colorado on Tuesday, keeping the Canucks at 88 points.
On Thursday, the Vancouver plays Edmonton, which is third and final team ahead of the Blackhawks with 86 points. This is the season finale for the Oilers, so the hope there is that either Edmonton wins or it goes into OT. Vancouver finishes at Calgary on Saturday.
In order for the Blackhawks to make the playoffs, there is clearly a lot that needs to happen for a team that sits in 12th place in the Western Conference with three games to go.
The 84 points, best total since Chicago's last playoff run in 2002, is a sign of progress. The announcement on Tuesday that all 82 games will be on TV next year (crazy idea), is a sign of progress. (Since that was April Fool's Day yesterday, I checked the team site today to make sure there wasn't a post titled "Just kidding: Blackhawks hockey is best on radio.")
The emergence of young stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews is a sign of progress, although the boys might want to take note of what happened to Duncan Keith on Tuesday. Named the team's MVP by the Blackhawks alumni on Monday, Keith was sent to the dentist on Tuesday thanks to a high stick in practice from teammate James Wisniewski.
Looking at the possible future for the Blackhawks, all seems positive and bright. That makes it a lot easier to do what this is supposed to be all about anyway: having a good time at the rink.