Monday, November 14, 2011

The Eagle Lands - Belfour to the HOF

Eddie Belfour is headed to Toronto, tonight, and this time it's not to play for the Leafs. It's to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Now, I really don't care what the fans in Dallas, San Jose, Toronto, or Florida have to say, but the above picture is how I remember Eddie The Eagle, and it's how he should be remembered. For 8 seasons, Ed Belfour lost blood, sweat, and tears for the Chicago Blackhawks organization, but it looks to me, on the intarweb, that people are overlooking the things he accomplished here in Chicago. All I'm seeing is Dallas this, and Dallas that. Screw Dallas! He led the Blackhawks to their ONLY Stanley Cup Finals between 1973 and 2010, we won the Calder trophy, he won the Jennings trophy 3 times, and he was a 3 time All-Star all as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks.

While his abrasive temper seemed to rub some people, well A LOT of people, the wrong way, he was an enlightening and fresh surprise in Chicago. He was the backbone of some of the most underrated Blackhawks teams, ever. While they were dominating the Campbell Conference, there was a little phenomenon in the city named MICHAEL JORDAN that swept this city off their feet, and the damn Pittsburgh Penguins, with Lemieux and Jagr, were lighting the Wales Conference on fire. As a result, the Hawks quietly did their thing under the radar, even advancing to the Cup finals in my senior year of high school, 1992. While I will admit that I was definitely a closet Mike Vernon (Calgary), and Dominik Hasek fan, at the time, I loved Ed Belfour, as well. You couldn't go wrong with either guy. If you look back on things, these were two future Hall of Fame goaltenders, in our city, with three more future Hall of Famers in Jeremy Roenick, Chris Chelios, and Michel Goulet. Not often that happens anywhere in the NHL. Nonetheless, I loved watching Belfour play. His style was wild, theatric and emotional, which is just what this closet hockey town needed, and especially a young impressionable goalie, like myself.

Who can forget the mask, either? Even though Belfour was Canadian, that Eagle on his mask seemed to stand for all the wholesome things here in the states. His mask, as innocent as it may have originally seemed, became his identity, and eventually one of the most legendary masks ever. If you can look at this mask, as a US citizen and hockey fan, and it doesn't strike up some sort of emotion, you're not human:

Dallas Stars fans can blab to me all they want about Stanley Cups, but he spent the most time of any organization right here in Chicago Stadium, with the Blackhawks. He belongs in the Hall of Fame as a Blackhawk. If it weren't for the over mettleing of Mike Keenan, he could have very well won more than one cup here, because the Hawks were as DOMINANT as a team could be. Maybe even more so than the current Hawks teams. At the time, the Hawks management, namely "The Bobs" Pulford and Murray, had lightning in a bottle and failed to realize it. The departure of Roenick in 96, Belfour in 97, and Chelios in 99 was the beginning of the fall of disgrace, for this franchise.

Eddie will always be a Blackhawk, in my heart, just as Roenick and Chelios are. I really don't care what crests they donned after leaving here, because they were part of something legendary, here. If someone deserves a Heritage Night, it's Eddie the Eagle. Congrats, Eddie, true fans love you, and appreciate what you did here in Chicago!


Shoutcast Player


Facebook Page

Blog Archive