For the third time in six years — including twice in seasons in which they knocked off the Wild in the playoffs — the Blackhawks are Stanley Cup champions.
One title is nice. (Hey, Minnesota fans would take one in the NHL, NBA, or NFL. Just one. Any one). Two in proximity is a show of strength. Three? That’s a trend that gets you into the discussion as a dynasty.
Does Chicago make the cut? I say they do, though not at the top of this list of best major college or pro sports dynasties of the past 20 years:
• UConn women’s basketball: The Huskies have won the past three NCAA titles, five of the last seven and nine overall since 2000. This is the gold standard for recent dynasties.
• Los Angeles Lakers, NBA: From 2000-2010, the Lakers won five championships and lost in two other finals. Sure, there was the early version with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal and then the later version with Kobe and a different core, but Bryant spanned the teams. It’s a dynasty, and it’s hard to top.
• New York Yankees, MLB: They won four World Series titles in a five-year span from 1996-2000 and lost another the next year. Love them. Hate them. The Yankees were a dynasty, and there’s no doubt about it.
• Alabama college football: The Crimson Tide dominated college football’s pre-playoff era, winning three national titles in a four-year span from 2009-2012. My guess is it will be tougher to have that kind of run under the current format, but that doesn’t diminish how impressive Alabama was.
• Houston Comets, WNBA: Won the first four WNBA titles, from 1997-2000. Even in a league with fewer teams than most (only eight in the first year), that’s impressive.
• San Antonio Spurs, NBA: Can a dynasty really span 16 seasons? In the rare case of the Spurs and their sustained run of excellence — including five NBA titles from 1999-2014 — I say it can.
• San Francisco Giants, MLB: A sneaky dynasty, the Giants have won three of the past five World Series. In any era, but this one in particular, that earns them dynasty status.
• Chicago Blackhawks, NHL: Three Cups in six years only starts to tell the story of Chicago, which plays with the calm, confidence and fury of a dynasty.
• Detroit Red Wings, NHL: If we’re giving love to Chicago, we must do the same for Detroit which also won three Stanley Cups in six years (from 1997-2002) and has not missed the playoffs since the 1989-90 season.