Three-time Stanley Cup Champions Toews, Kane, and Keith "deserve" what more in their careers, exactly?
Pictured, from left: Not losers
Toews, for his part, is also a gold medalist in the World U17, World Junior tournament, IIHF World Championships, and the Olympics, where, oh yeah, he has TWO friggin' gold medals. Duncan Keith has all the cups and Olympic gold medals that Toews has, and the only thing that has counted as adversity in his career is the six more Norris trophies he needs to catch up to Bobby Orr. Sure, Kane only has the silver medal in the Olympics to go with his Cup rings, but it's not his fault he's American, and he's not only got his Smythe, Ross and Hart trophies to cry into, but he even scored an appearanceon an official NHL hockey card when the was like, five.
Look, rebuilds are tough, but a) NONE of these guys are in a "Joe Thornton to the Leafs" scenario, and b) EVERYONE goes through rebuilds!
As a Boston sports fan, our region has had more than our share of success of late, and with it, the earned antipathy of a jealous sports continent. But in the wake of all the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins* glory, it's been pretty amazing how skillfully Chicago sports teams have flown under the hater's radar. I mean, good lord. In the last 30 years, we're looking at three Stanley Cups from the Blackhawks, a World Series title for both the White Sox and the Cubs(!) and that's before we even add in the incredible six championships the city enjoyed courtesy of Michael Jordan's Bulls, a double three-peat so sweet, that even a dyed in the wool basketball hater like myself is jealous. If you want to extend that window of glory as far back as 1985, you can throw in a Super Bowl win for the Bears over the New England Patriots, in what was either the third or fourth most devastating Boston postseason loss of my young life. So in terms of Blackhawks fans, and the "recipe for disaster" they are currently suffering through, sports fans from just about every other city in North America would LOVE to trade places with you.
Having a hard time, Chicago? Tell it to a middle-aged Buffalo sports fan, who got to see the Bills drop four Super Bowls in row, and watched native son Patrick Kane win cup after cup for you. Tell it to the Atlanta sports fan who saw not only one, but two NHL teams leave town for Canada, suffered through their Falcons blowing a 25 point lead in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl to the Patriots, and whose only championship came from the Braves, who after going 1-4 in the World Series in the late 20th Century, provided far more heartache than glory.
So pardon me if I don't shed a tear for the adversity currently being suffered by the Blackhawks. And as for Toews, Kane and Keith, sure, there's a school of thought that says they "deserve" to go an play for "a winner." But these guys also still have the chance to join an even more exclusive club of champions, one that even Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Ray Bourque, Bobby Orr, and Tom Brady couldn't pull off.
It would mean joining a group that includes Stan Mikita, Mario Lemieux, Steve Yzerman, Marty Brodeur, Kobe Bryant, Larry Bird, Derek Jeter, John Elway, and Bill Russell, among others.
They all still have the chance to be champions who played for only one team.
Obviously, it's not exclusively up to them, but would that be the worst thing in the world?
*Also, in the case of the Bruins, we're still only talking about ONE championship in the 47 year period between 1973 and the present, but still.
Toews Photo Credit: By Resolute - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6598409
Toews, Kane, Keith photo credit: (Jan. 28, 2011 - Source: Harry How/Getty Images North America)