Growing up I had a strong interest in the legend of Billy the Kid.
Although I’m not sure how historically accurate they were and they didn’t win any Academy Awards -- at least as far as I’m aware given my very limited knowledge of the Oscars -- I love the Young Guns movies starring Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Christian Slater, and William Petersen.
Like any of your favorite movies, there are parts of the script that stick with you. Estevez played Billy the Kid and in Young Guns II, he uttered this memorable line to Doc Skurlock played by Sutherland:
"I shall finish the game, Doc."
This line was exemplified by the headlining song on the soundtrack titled “Blaze of Glory” by Jon Bon Jovi. As far as corny movie soundtracks go, this was a pretty good tune as it was scored by a fantastic musical artist.
On Friday, Joe Thornton signed a one-year contract for $700,000 with the Maple Leafs after starting his career as a Bruin then spending the last 15 with the Sharks. Many thought -- and still think -- his expiration date was a season or so ago. Yet, he is plowing ahead in pursuit of the elusive Stanley Cup.
Jarome Iginla played 16 seasons with the Flames before embarking on a journey to capture the Cup. After pit stops in Pittsburgh, Boston, Denver, and Los Angeles, he came up empty and retired in 2017.
Ray Bourque is conceivably the most recent and most famous NHL star who was traded away from the team he played for the longest and eventually won the Cup. Even though he was traded from the Bruins to the Avalanche at the 2000 trade deadline, Colorado didn’t win the championship until the next season.
Then there’s the one and only Kimmo Timonen who spent as much time with the Predators as he did with the Flyers before joining the Blackhawks at the 2015 trade deadline. He didn’t have to wait long as he reached the Holy Grail that spring and got his coveted championship ring before retiring shortly after.
So where am I going with this?
It has often been argued that the Blackhawks need to win another Stanley Cup while the window of the core is still open.
Well, the core isn’t what it used to be with half of it gone already after the loss of Niklas Hjalmarsson to the cap crunch, Marian Hossa to a rare skin ailment, Patrick Sharp to retirement, and Corey Crawford to free agency.
Now, it’s unsure how happy the remaining core of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, and Brent Seabrook is with the current state of the team.
Would it be better to hold onto nostalgia and have them retire as lifelong Blackhawks even though they may be hard pressed to hoist the Cup again?
Or would it be better if they waived their no trade clauses and requested to be traded so they can pursue the ultimate prize with teams that are already contenders?
While it is great that Toews, Kane, Keith, and Seabrook each have a trio of rings compared to none by Thornton or Iginla, at least Toews, Kane, and Keith could play leading roles on a Cup-winning team like Bourque did with the Avs. Seabrook could, too, if he bounces back strongly from his multiple surgeries.
However, if they wait too long and are at the end of their rope, they could either never reach the Cup Finals again or be part of a Cup winner as more of a passenger hanging on by a thread like Timonen.
I could’ve written a much longer blog with my own opinion on this but I’m more interested in what others have to say.
What do you think?
Doc Skurlock to Billy the Kid:
"Billy! Let’s finish the game."
See you on the boards!