Throughout the 2014 Winter Olympics, I made quite a few predictions. Some ended up being laughably wrong, some tragically wrong, but I did get one thing right, which happened to be the most important (and easiest to guess):
Canada won the gold medal.
That’s two straight Olympics. 11 Canadian men now have two gold medals in ice hockey in the span of four years. Two consecutive Winter Olympic Games that Canada has been the odds-on favorite to win gold, and both times have they delivered. Canada has been spared of the heartbreak endured by the Russians, Americans, Finns, Swedes, Czechs, Slovaks, Austrians, Slovenians, Norwegians, Latvians, Swiss, Germans, and Belarusians, most of whom haven’t even seen a medal in the previous two Olympics, let alone a gold, let alone fucking two golds.
The last time the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup, all the way back in 2010, they lost half their roster to trades and free agency that summer. The following season, they barely made the playoffs as an 8 seed and lost in the first round. After their most recent championship, the Blackhawks only lost three skaters and a goaltender, all of whom have been ably replaced. Though Michael Frolik’s presence on the penalty kill is still missed (Chicago sits 26th), the defending champions are otherwise enjoying an excellent season. With a total of 82 points, the Blackhawks (34-10-14) are first in the Central Division and for a long stretch back in December led the NHL. Though the Anaheim Ducks have surpassed the Hawks in the overall standings and St. Louis is hot on their heels in the Central, Chicago has repeatedly shown resiliency when faced with adversity.