Rebuilt Blackhawks get 2nd championship in 4 years
BOSTON (AP) — Just nine players remain from the Chicago team that won the Stanley Cup in 2010. But that core plus those acquired to add depth were good enough for the Blackhawks to win another championship Monday night.
“We went through losing basically half a team, even more so,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said after Monday night’s 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins gave the Blackhawks the title in a six-game series.
Key players from that championship team three years ago remained — Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa and Dave Bolland.
Brian Bickell also was on that club, and he scored the tying goal on a feed from Toews with 1:16 left. Then Bolland scored the winner 17 seconds later.
“There’s something about our core,” said Kane, the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs. “Hopefully we can stay together a long time because that’s two Cups in four years, and we seem to only be getting better and better as players as time goes on here.
“We can go up and down the line and name off guys and how they contributed to this team and this game. It’s just a great group.”
ACHES AND PAINS: Tyler Seguin planned to visit doctors the day after his season ended. He’s not the only Boston Bruin having his battered body checked now that the team’s hopes for a second Stanley Cup in three years are finished.
Patrice Bergeron said he had a broken rib, torn cartilage and muscles, and a separated shoulder. Zdeno Chara wouldn’t talk about his injuries. Neither would Seguin, although he said, “I’ve had the same problems my whole life.”
Seguin had 16 goals during the regular season but just one goal and seven assists in 22 postseason games.
“I’d say 90 percent of us were banged up with something,” he told reporters after the Blackhawks won the Cup with a 3-2 win in Game 6 on Monday night. “I’m sure you guys will hear more and more as time goes on after these few days. We wear so much pride on our jersey, and we fight for each other.
“We need to take this rest, and obviously get our conditioning back up and get ready for training camp.”
ROLE REVERSAL: Dan Carcillo didn’t play a single minute for Chicago in the Stanley Cup Final. Still, he got to skate around the ice with the NHL championship trophy that eluded him three years earlier when he faced the Blackhawks.
He was a left wing in those 2010 playoffs with the Philadelphia Flyers when they lost the finals in six games to Chicago.
“To be able to come to the dark side, so to speak, with the guys that beat me, it’s amazing to have an organization like this want me,” he said after the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup with a 3-2 win in Game 6 on Monday night.
In 2010, Carcillo had two assists in the Eastern Conference semifinals as the upset-minded Flyers — a No. 7 seed — rebounded from a 3-0 deficit to win the last four games against the Bruins. They then beat the Montreal Canadiens in five games before being stopped by the Blackhawks.
On Monday, he was on the winning side.
“It just feels really special,” Carcillo said.
HOT TIME IN BOSTON: The Bruins’ last home game was their first played this summer in Boston.
The temperature reached a high of 95 on Monday and the Bruins and Blackhawks indeed sledded through some soft ice during the series finale. There was even some fog in the building during the morning skates.
The puck seemed to slow down at times on the surface Monday, and at other times, earlier in periods, it had some jump to it.
“Those are conditions that you have to play with at this time of year,” Boston coach Claude Julien said. “Everybody has been through it, and two teams go through the same conditions.”
LIFE OF BRYAN: Lost in the elation of the game winner for Chicago was the tying goal by another of Chicago’s unheralded postseason stars, Bryan Bickell.
His ninth tally of the postseason capped a run to remember, as he finished with a plus-12 rating and 23 points.
The 6-foot-4, 223-pound bruising left wing remained humble throughout the playoffs, and after hoisting the Stanley Cup, that didn’t change.
“It’s real simple, sometimes hockey can be real simple. Get to the net and good things happen,” he said. “That’s my game, that’s our game — stay aggressive, continue to work hard and good things will happen.”
The 2004 second-round draft pick also picked up 25 minutes in penalties along the way.
“I feel I like I played my kind of hockey this playoffs. I got a little lucky too,” he said. “But this team allowed you to play your game, use your strengths for the team’s greater good and I was able to do that.
“I feel real fortunate.”
JUST IN TIME: Boston goaltender coach Bob Essensa watched the series from the press box, but for Game 6 he almost missed the opening faceoff. After he left the locker room, the elevator up to the ninth floor — traditionally an express route — stopped at every floor to take and release new passengers.
Essensa stood in the back of the elevator, patiently, and did not complain. When the doors finally opened on the ninth floor, Essensa scooted out just in time for the end of the national anthem. His goalie, Tuukka Rask, made six saves in the first period as Essensa watched from above.
SIMPLY THE BEST: Chicago defenseman Johnny Oduya has been on some good teams in the NHL, with the Blackhawks and in one of his previous stops as well — New Jersey.
But Oduya knew early on in this lockout-shortened season that this club was going to be the best he was ever a part of.
He was right.
“I don’t think there’s any question. Even though — let’s face it — (Monday night) was a little bit of luck, we’re still the best team in the league,” Oduya said. “We proved that during the year, and we proved that during the playoffs. Lot of things have to break right for you, they did tonight, but sometimes the great teams make their own breaks.”
Oduya had three goals and 12 points in the postseason, including an assist on Bolland’s game-winner.