NASHVILLE -- What the Blackhawks accomplished during six months of the regular season was extraordinary. They won 50 games and seized a Western Conference championship with a roster that featured seven players who would make their playoff debuts.
Alas, what happened to the Blackhawks when they arrived to the Stanley Cup grind was also hard to do and hard to watch. They scored but three goals in eight days and were swept out of the tournament with Thursday night's 4-1 conquest by the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena.
Not since the National Hockey League grew to its present size has a No. 1 seed been eliminated by a No. 8 in straight sets, but the Blackhawks cannot say they achieved this milestone (millstone?) by accident. From Head Coach Joel Quenneville to captain Jonathan Toews, the vanquished favorites formed an echo chamber.