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SportsMondayTuesday: Just Wait 'Til Next Year

So this means we definitely don't get any more Hawk games this season, doesn't it.

And a second straight championship celebration and fourth in the last seven years . . . that is out as well, eh? (Just because all the Canadian teams missed the postseason doesn't mean we can't add a little Canuckian seasoning every once in a while).

All of this after the Hawks bowed out 3-2 to St. Louis on Monday night to lose their conference quarterfinal series 4-3 and end the 2015-16 season.

No more slick stickhandling from Artemi Panarin or Patrick Kane or "strong net-front presence" from Andrew Shaw or Artem Anisimov. And the blocked shots, the ridiculously obviously painful blocked shots offered up by Niklas Hjalmarsson time after time to stop dangerous situations before they started, those are gone too for another season.

No more trying to figure out the best way for the new guys to fit in. In particular, Andrew Ladd will be missed when he signs a big contract with a team that has plenty of room under the cap looking for a veteran power forward who knows how to win. The new guy you have to think the Hawks will try to hang onto first and foremost is Richard Panik, who showed in the last two playoff games that there may be a whole lot more to his game that previously suspected.

We're definitely done with Trevor Van Riemsdyk's (I won't miss trying to remember how these guys spell their names for the next five months or so) efforts to prove himself a worthy successor to Johnny Oduya as the fourth defenseman.

And no more excellent work in short-handed situations from the likes of Andrew Desjardins and Marcus Kruger, who came back from what was believed to be a dislocated wrist this season; when Brian Urlacher suffered a similar injury, it was immediately determined he would miss the rest of that season. We will also miss the insane toughness of hockey players.

Goodbye to speculating about whether coach Q made the right call in terms of who he played and who he healthy scratched. And I am bummed there is no more chance to watch the coach on occasion lose his mind in response to a call that didn't go his team's way.

Generally I can't stand it when coaches have tantrums but somehow when coach Q does it, I am far less offended.

Then there is the goalie - Corey Crawford sometimes gets too much credit when the Hawks win and too much blame when they lose (although hockey teams are just about psychotic about defending their goalie's performances in public no matter how shaky they might have been), but he deserved all sorts of credit for having his best regular season yet this time around.

And so long to Brent Seabrook's uncannily accurate point shots and all-around steady play. At times during the season it appeared that Seabrook was starting to slow down after all of the amazing work he has done for the Hawks on coming up on a decade now. But perhaps a longer-than-usual summer break will be rejuvenating.

I'll tell you one thing: Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith deserve the extra time off that comes with a first-round elimination as much as any NHL players have ever deserved that sort of break. In seven post-seasons since 2010, they have each played in 18 playoff series averaging between five and six games apiece. That is about 100 more games than players who have missed the playoffs have played during that time.

Hey guys, have a few drinks on me (you'll have to send me an e-mail in order to collect payment - the link is at the end of the column) on a cruise to somewhere luxurious.

This would all be slightly sadder if we weren't aware of the fact that, as I mentioned before, most of these guys will be back in action for the glorious hockey nation of Blackhawkistan all of about five-and-a-half months from now.

When we say "Just wait 'til next year" with this team, all hockey fans know we're saying "Just wait until this team kicks everyone's ass next year."


Jim Coffman is our man on Mondays, except when situations warrant Tuesdays. Comments welcome

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