The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1961 and before the alcohol could fully work its way through Patrick Kane's system, the team is being stripped for parts like a hot BMW at a chop shop.
Obviously, it is upsetting to see team members that played significant roles in the Stanley Cup winning season get sent to the four corners of the NHL. We'll miss Byfuglien, Versteeg, Eager, Ladd, Sopel, Burish, and any others I may have missed or who may still yet depart. But think about this: What if the Blackhawks hadn't won the Stanley Cup this year? That would have been a true sports tragedy.
What if Kane hadn't been able to tie up Game 5 of the Nashville series as the clock was winding down? What if they hadn't been able to kill off the rest of Hossa's major penalty in overtime? What if Luongo didn't suddenly turn from a gold medal-winning goalie into a whiny bitch? What if Pronger didn't suddenly remember he was 110 years old in Game 5 or if Niemi had simply been human and let a couple of the two billion shots on goal in the Game 2 of the finals get by him?
If the Blackhawks had stumbled on any part of their road to the Cup, the same salary cap issues that are ravaging the roster would still be happening. This was it for this team. This is not like the post-Jordan Bulls who dismantled their team voluntarily before they could be defeated on the basketball floor.
The villain in this case is not a dumpy man with a huge ego and eight chins stuffed into a wrinkly, stained suit letting his own sense of importance get carried away. The villian here is math. If there was any way they could make the salaries all add up to a number that was less than the salary cap number, I'm sure the Hawks would love nothing more than to have this same team have a go at repeating next year.
So even though it hurts to see some of our favorite players get sacrificed to the salary cap gods, imagine how much it would hurt if it were happening when they hadn't yet fulfilled their potential.
Though what is even a bigger tragedy, it turns out, is that baseball had no salary cap to force a break-up of the Cubs before this season started.