It was a 20-minute span Sunday afternoon that clinched it for me. The time it took for Patrick Kane's game-tying goal to sneak through a sliver of open net to Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard's left, followed by a time-bending shootout move that henceforth should be known as The Kaner.
It's time to start considering the 2013 Blackhawks' place in history. It's time. Doesn't matter that it's a short season—that isn't a factor when the team being considered literally doesn't lose.
Yes, they will lose in regulation this season. They'll lose a couple. Hell, they'll probably drop a terrible fifth-game-in-eight-nights kind of game to Columbus along the way. It'll suck to watch, and then you'll remember they've won all the other games and it won't suck so bad. Then you'll look at your outstretched hand and realize you have more fingers on it than they'll have regulation losses, and it won't suck at all.
Points percentage is the only way to compare this 48-game slate to the normal 82-game or 80-or-fewer schedules of the past. The best team of the modern era was the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens, who rolled up 82.5 percent of all possible points, going 60-8-12. The Blackhawks have nabbed 93.2 percent thus far. The magic number to reach this season is 80 points, and the Blackhawks need only 39 in their remaining 26 games to hit it. A now-pedestrian 19-6-1 would do it. It is going to happen.
There's really only one pro team to compare them to, and it isn't a hockey team. It's a team that shared the same building, in fact. A team you'd watch and not wonder IF they'd win, but HOW AWESOMELY they'd win. I don't need to type their name. If you hadn't made the connection before, you have now.
After an Olympic-quality nationally televised game airing in an early-Sunday sports vacuum, you're going to notice the uptick in the team's national profile. They are no longer just Chicago's team. America loves a winner, and the Blackhawks are America's hockey team now. If they maintain this pace, they'll finish like that other team. And the world will be next.
RedEye special contributor Alex Quigley can be heard on WGN Radio 720.
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