Yes, it's finally over with Thursday night's 4-2 victory over the Rangers.
But one of the most upsetting aspects of watching the Blackhawks' nine-game losing streak was witnessing the way Jonathan Toews got pushed around.
Kudos to veterans such as Jamal Mayers and Sean O'Donnell for coming to the captain's defense, but this is when you miss the inherent toughness of an Andrew Ladd or an Adam Burish spread throughout the lineup.
Not saying, just saying.
First-round playoff loss.
Season on the brink.
In other news:
Dale Tallon's Florida Panthers remain in first place.
The Hawks are too talented to stumble their way out of a postseason berth, right?
Now he's talking ... someone's language::
Love Bruce Weber's take on not instilling enough toughness in his Illini squad this season.
"We're always mollycoddling them," Weber said after Wednesday's loss to Purdue.
Gotta appreciate that Weber doesn't go through the whole rigmarole of tiptoeing around the tomfoolery and slipshod performances of his guys.
Weber's grilled, isn't he?
In the Knick of time:
If the Evanston tweet ain't so sweet … be discreet, but Delete! Delete! Delete!
Dress code, shmress code:
It shouldn't have come as a surprise, but yet somehow it still did.
Flipped on the TV over the weekend and there was Bill Belichik competing in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am -- in a hoodie!
You or me try that and we're sent directly to the pro shop to spend $100 on logoed golf shirt.
Scratching and clawing:
Even though his team has had so much trouble closing out games this season, Glen Ellyn's John Shurna has had no trouble closing in on the school scoring record at Northwestern and could break the mark Saturday at home against Minnesota.
2011-12 Bulls depth = 2009-10 Blackhawks depth.
Just for Thibs:
Anyone else notice during Sunday's Bulls-Celts telecast something different about Tom Thibodeau these days compared to when he was an assistant at Boston?
Let's just say Walt Frazier and Keith Hernandez would be proud.
What the what?
Just read the winning entry -- by far -- for the creepiest/most obtuse story of the week.
Go ahead and type in "Piggyback Bandit" and you'll see what I'm talking about.
Spelunking for ... the Cubs?
Brian Pasnik, a lifelong Cubs fan who was born and raised in Hoffman Estates and currently lives in Bloomingdale, is one of 50 finalists -- and the last Chicago fan standing -- out of a field of 22,000 candidates who submitted videos for MLB's "Fan Cave" competition.
The "winner" gets to spend six months watching every MLB game from the comforts of the cave in New York. Voting to reduce the field to 30 ends Feb. 22 at mlbfancave.com.
Reach us at CL5-4313:
News of Empire acquiring Luna got me thinking: Are we the most telephone jingliest advertising town ever?
That's right, Karz for Kidz and United Auto Insurance, I'm including you, too.
Just around the corner:
Not too long now before we start hearing normally erudite East Coast college basketball analysts incite my own personal Madness by calling it a "toin-a-ment."
To former St. Viator basketball coach Joe Majkowski on his impending enshrinement into the Illinois Basketball Hall of Fame.
Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.