A championship to Chicago?

The goal of every team and every player in sports is to win a championship. A team’s success is defined by how many championships they have won, and a player’s legacy is not complete until he has led his team to a championship. The Blackhawks achieved this goal by winning the 2010 Stanley Cup, their first since 1961. The parade that followed was evident that the city greatly appreciated what this team had done. But with their early struggles and the loss of key players like Dustin Byfuglien and Kris Versteeg, they are not looking like the Stanley Cup favorite.

So I ask, which Chicago professional sports team has the best chance of winning a championship in 2011?

First, we visit the Bulls. With the addition of Carlos Boozer this offseason, the Bulls believed that they could compete with the best of the Eastern Conference with a lineup featuring Boozer, Derrick Rose, and Joakim Noah. But the injury to Boozer has left the Bulls without big-time scoring threat out of the post, and the team has gotten off to a 5-3 start. The season is very long and with Boozer expected to come back in a month, the Bulls will inevitably begin to click with all-star candidate Rose and Boozer.

Senior Jake Johnson believes the Bulls have the best chance of the Chicago teams. “The Bulls (have the best chance). They have the best young talent in the nation,” said Johnson who believes the Bulls have a best chance of all Chicago teams to win a championship in the future.

But can they compete for a championship in 2011? I don’t think so, though it’s not because they lack talent. It is because of the talent of other teams. The Bulls cannot compete with the Celtics, Magic, and Heat, who are without doubt the class of the East. The Bulls could make run to the second round, and possibly to the conference finals, but a championship is probably out of the question.

The Cubs or White Sox? Not in 2011.

At the halfway point of the NFL season, the Bears are 6-3 and they are a half game behind the Packers in the NFC north. They have not played that great in spite of the start, and at times have looked worse than the lowly Lions. But if the offense begins to start clicking along with the solid defense, the Bears could make the playoffs. They still have to play the Packers again and the Vikings twice, so if they play well in the division they could make the playoffs. I think they will find a way into the playoffs, but no more than that. The NFC is not that strong this year, so that will give the Bears room to sneak into the playoffs.

That leaves us with the Blackhawks again. Sure, they are not looking like last year’s squad which never seemed to struggle. They have obvious flaws like the inconsistency of the defense and a few offensive players (Patrick Kane).

But the question I asked was which team has the best chance of winning a championship in 2011. And the answer to that question is the Blackhawks, regardless of their play thus far. They have the best chance because they will make the playoffs, and in the NHL more than any other professional leagues, once a team gets in the playoffs they can make a run. Rarely does an 8-seed beat a one seed in the NBA, but last year in hockey, the 8-seed Canadians beat the top-seed and went all the way to the eastern conference finals behind a hot goaltender. If the Hawks can get some momentum going forward, they could make a push similar to two years ago when they got off to a slow start, but reached the conference finals.

So in 2011, it looks like the Blackhawks have the best chance of all of the Chicago teams of winning a championship, and it would be a historic championship if they would have to repeat.