It’s over! The Blackhawks are once again Stanley Cup champions! The Hawks dispatched the Lightning 2-0 in Game 6 Monday night in Chicago, clinching the franchise’s sixth Stanley Cup, first on home ice since 1938, and third championship in the last six seasons. The Blackhawks once again showed that their character, poise, and experience was the difference in another grueling playoff run. Many times this season and postseason there were moments where we questioned if the Hawks had enough to get it done, and once again they answered the bell. They are a modern dynasty in the NHL and in professional sports. Let’s break down a championship…
-Duncan Keith won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP, and he was 100 percent deserving. With all of the attention given to the Blackhawks’ defensive injuries and liabilities, Keith never wavered, and once again proved that he is one of the best defensemen to ever play the game. You could have made an argument for Corey Crawford if the award was for the Final only, but it isn’t.
-I knew we would hear from Patrick Kane in a big way before this series ended. In typical Kaner fashion, “Showtime” delivered a dagger and came through when his team needed with a goal and assist in Game 6.
-The Crawford haters (if there are any left) are awfully quiet now. The dude is a stud and a two-time champion, what more needs to be said.
-The Lightning are without a doubt the most likable and admirable opponent that the Blackhawks have faced in the playoffs in the last six years. This team had no dirty players, no hate-able guys. They simply competed, battled through injuries, and pushed the Blackhawks to the brink. This series was simply incredible. The Hawks’ 2-0 lead in the third period of Game 6 was the first lead for any team of more than one goal… through six games. Just a fantastic matchup for the NHL to showcase. The team of the decade vs. the team of the future. No doubt that Tampa will be back. They will be hoisting a Cup sooner rather than later.
-This one felt harder than the previous two, yes? I don’t know, maybe it just feels that way in the moment.
-I don’t care about the salary cap right now and neither should you. This was the swan song for many Blackhawks, and it couldn’t be a more perfect ending.
-They are all sweet, but winning it at home just felt a little sweeter didn’t it? Seeing the Stanley Cup presented to the Hawks in the UC was quite the sight. As the Hawks skated the Cup around the rink as “We Are The Champions” played in the background, I kept thinking about how it had been 77 years since a hockey championship was clinched at home in Chicago. All that is erased now.
What an incredible ending to another unforgettable season of Blackhawks hockey. Three Stanley Cup championships in six seasons is just so surreal, and caps off an era of the current core of the Blackhawks. Jonathan Toews has now captained three Stanley Cup winning teams, and Q has now coached three as well. It will be a short summer, and changes will be made this offseason, but don’t think for a minute that the Blackhawks are dead and done by any means.
Chicago is a Blackhawks town, and it isn’t even close. For now, enjoy this, Hawks fans. We are witnessing sports history right in our own city.
STANLEY CUP CHAMPS!!!