Blackhawks Already Favorites To Repeat, As Chicago Plan Party ‘Worthy Of A Dynasty’

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews receives the Stanley Cup from NHL commissioner Jim Bettman.

It’s been barely 24 hours since the Chicago Blackhawks lifted the Stanley Cup to become 2015 NHL champions, the Blackhawks have already been named favourites to repeat the feat next year.

According to Yahoo, the 2016 Stanley Cup odds – released by Bovada – have the Blackhawks at 7/1 odds, ahead of this year’s conference finalists New York Rangers (8/1) and Anaheim Ducks (10/1). The Tampa Bay Lightning, who lost this year’s final to the Blackhawks, are listed at 12/1.

The Blackhawks sealed the Stanley Cup with a 2-0 win over Tampa last night – in a game that broke TV ratings records – taking the best of seven series 4-2 in front of an ecstatic home crowd at the United Centre. It marked a third Stanley Cup win in the last six years for the Blackhawks, but it was the first time they were winning it at home since 1938, and wild celebrations ensued thereafter – including the traditional practice of “toilet-papering” the home of Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville.

The Blackhawks’ recent dominance – they were champions in 2010 and 2013, and reached conference finals in 2009 and 2013 – means comparisons with other dominant teams of previous eras are inevitable, and after NHL commissioner Jim Bettman called them a dynasty prior to handing the cup to Blackhawks’ captain Jonathan Toews on Tuesday night, the debate has continued to gather pace.

The Inquisitr had earlier reported on the Blackhawks dynasty debate several weeks ago, earlier in the Stanley Cup series, when several media commentators had started highlighting the team’s remarkable run.

With the Blackhawks now the first franchise to win three championships in such a short span – Detroit Red Wings, in 1997, 1998 and 2002 were the last to do it – are without question the dominant team of this era (ahead of the LA Kings, who won in 2012 and 2014). But the CBC questions if that is enough to put them in the same category as teams like the 1970s Montreal Canadiens or the 1980s New York Islanders, franchises that were considered dead-cert dynasties after each winning four consecutive titles.

According to The Guardian though, dynasty or not, the difficulties of emulating dynasties of yore, especially in an era defined by the salary cap, make the Blackhawks’ achievements – built on an ability to keep quality players and the depth of its roster – truly impressive for these times. The Hamilton Spectator pretty much echoes that view, contending that the unprecedented competitive balance in the NHL sheds a different light on the Blackhawks’ achievements.

“But the Blackhawks are now in the conversation to be called one of the great teams because they have won three titles at a time when the league is in a period of undeniable competitive balance. The statistical difference between the No. 1 team in the league and the No. 16 isn’t as pronounced as it once was.”

Could the Blackhawks’ dominance be under threat though? According to CBS Sports, the realities of the salary cap and the contract situation of some of their star players could begin to hurt the Blackhawks as early as next season. A trade or two may be in the offing – perhaps goaltender Corey Crawford?

That’s a concern for another day. For now, the Blackhawks have a championship to celebrate. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has promised “a celebration worthy of a hockey dynasty.”

That is scheduled for Thursday morning, with a parade that will end in a rally at Soldier Field.

[Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images]