• cbssports.com
  • Andrew Shaw: another master of psychological warfare

It seems only right and fitting that a team that did not lose a single game in the first half of the (admittedly abbreviated) 2013 hockey season should win the Stanley Cup. You could credit the success to the talented players and their talented coach (and his equally talented mustache), but you should not neglect the effect of the environment in which they play.

To put it simply, United Center is quite possibly the most annoying place in all of sports. Even if you like the Blackhawks, it’s annoying as hell. Can you imagine what it’s like if you don’t like the Blackhawks?

It’s not just the rowdy fans and the stadium’s acoustics, which amplify and magnify every single cheer, or the laser light show just before game time. Those exist everywhere. It’s also not Jim Cornelison’s ritualistic performance of “The Star Spangled Banner” before every game, where he majestically raises his hand, bedecked with the enormous and gaudy 2010 Stanley Cup ring, for “our flag was still there” or the little blast of air that shakes the American flag up near the rafters for “oh, say does tha-at star spangled banner yeeeet waaaaave”.