Chicago Blackhawks make NHL playoffs

April 11, 2011 10:00:29 AM PDT
Blackhawks fans are gearing up for another trip to the playoffs.

The Blackhawks may have lost Sunday to the Detroit Red Wings, but Chicago won a spot in the post-season anyway after the Minnesota Wild beat the Dallas Stars Sunday night.

Repeat is now at least a possibility in the minds of some Blackhawks fans, still savoring the taste of last year's Stanley Cup victory.

"When I saw that the Stars had lost, I just breathed a sigh of relief. We finally made the playoffs," said Ed McCambridge, Blackhawks fan.

McCambridge said he thought it wasn't going to happen until he checked the scores Monday morning. And fan Dennis McKenna wasn't happy about being at the mercy of another team to make it into the post-season.

"If you can get into the playoffs, it's not the way you'd like to do it, but you're in," said McKenna.

One of the famous Billy Goat Tavern locations is just down the street from the United Center. Owner Sam Sianis said he was hoping the team would win so the customers would keep on coming.

"The playoffs for business is good because a lot of people come here from all over," Sianis said. "And come see the game here, the whole city."

Fans at the Palace Grill getting breakfast Monday morning said they couldn't be happier.

"I think it's awesome. I would love to see the Blackhawks back in it. It's great for this city," said fan Terry Curry.

"Normally, we like to come here for breakfast, win or lose. This is the home of Chicago hockey for us. We tend to come here in the morning," fan Jack Connelly said. "It is like a mini celebration."

Other 'Hawks fans were on the edges of their seats Sunday night at the West End Bar in the city's West Loop, watching the Stars-Wild game that decided the team's fate.

The crowd was excited, to say the least. So was Blackhawks Coach Joel Quenneville, who was also watching that game closely.

"I have never been more excited after a hockey game in my life that I didn't participate in. I was acting like a 2-year-old, celebrating -- maybe 3- or 4- or 5-year-old -- celebrating his first birthday party where he really knew it was really his birthday. It was unbelievable," the coach said.

The Blackhawks will now get a chance to defend their title as an eighth seed, and they say they are fortunate to be in that position. They'll face the Vancouver Canucks Wednesday in Vancouver, and they will stay there for a second game Friday. The series returns to Chicago Sunday for Game 3. Tickets are on sale at Ticketmaster.