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Thursday, September 6, 2012
Updated: September 7, 12:02 PM ET
No. 74: Chicago Blackhawks

By Morty Ain
ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 36
Title track: 18 (tie)
Ownership: 26
Coaching: 47
Players: 62
Fan relations: 74
Affordability: 111
Stadium experience: 41
Bang for the buck: 75

Since raising the Stanley Cup in 2010, the Blackhawks have fallen down our rankings 58 spots. It's one thing to get bounced in the first round in back-to-back seasons, but it's quite another to drop all three playoff games to the Coyotes at the United Center (including a 4-0 trouncing in the elimination game). This was, after all, the most densely packed arena for the fourth straight season, boasting a 190-game consecutive sellout streak and a 12 percent increase in local TV ratings. Which could only mean one thing for sure: Break out the donation plate! Just before the start of their first-round exit, the Blackhawks announced their third season ticket price increase since 2008 (which was the first price hike since the 1997-98 season). Team president John McDonough didn't do much to smooth over the inflation irritation when he said the increases were based on "an interesting formula."

And then there's the Jekyll and Hyde saga of Patrick Kane: Stanley Cup hero, All-Star skills competition showstopper (dressing up like Superman and disintegrating pucks), transcendent superstar; or, one goal in last 13 playoff games, career-low point total (66), reckless party boy. While the jury is out on Kane, one thing is clear: Everyone in this franchise is still suffering from a hangover.