When any team wins a championship, they get unexpected contributions from players. The Cavaliers, who’re battling for their lives tonight in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, have gotten an unexpected contribution from Matthew Dellavedova, their backup point guard. It’s the same in hockey. You have to get someone to break out in any series. Chicago had that. The now Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks had breakout players in this Cup series, which they won 4-2 in six games. Their opponent, the Tampa Bay Lightning, didn’t get any.
Not only did Tampa Bay not get that unexpected breakout, but their stars didn’t preform. Tyler Johnson, who ended up leading the NHL this postseason in points, goals, and game-winning goals, had one goal and one assist in six games. Turns out, we learned in the postgame that he was playing with a broken wrist, an injury he suffered earlier in the series.
Steven Stamkos didn’t contribute much, scoring one point all series.
This was worse-case scenario for the Lightning. Chicago’s defense was crippling to the Lightning’s attack. (It also didn’t help that goalie Ben Bishop, who’s mystery injury kept him out of Game 4 and plagued him throughout the series, was playing with a torn groin. A torn groin…) For a team that plays so fast, you would think their speed would have been able to pass the Blackhawk’s defensive line. But Chicago’s defense stepped up, and Duncan Keith was the leader of that effort.
The Conn Symthe Trophy winner (MVP of the playoffs) played a ton of minutes during the Cup, averaging around 30 minutes per game, a ton for a defensemen. After the Blackhawks lost Michal Rozsival to a nasty broken ankle against the Wild, the D-men’s minutes were stepped up, but it didn’t bother Keith. In Game 5 and 6 of the Cup, he totaled 39 shifts, and scored the first goal in last night’s 2-0 victory to clinch the title. Keith led the league in assists this postseason, dishing 18. He scored a ridiculous +16 +/- score, beating Victor Hedman by five scores.
Last night’s win captured Chicago’s 3rd Cup win in the past six years, with the Kings (twice) and Bruins winning the other three years. Gary Bettman, the NHL’s commissioner, proclaimed them a dynasty during last night’s Cup presentation. That generated controversy, as everything Bettman says does. I believe, truly, that this is a dynasty. Here’s why:
When Chicago won in 2010, grabbing their first Cup in this run, I wasn’t totally into hockey. I payed attention though. Turns out, six seasons later, it’s pretty much the same roster. Sure, they’ve added people, but they haven’t lost anyone too important. Fun fact: Antti Neimi was the 3rd goalie on that team. He’s now San Jose’s starter. That 2010 roster featured a 21-year old Patrick Kane, who scored that funky game winner in Game 6.
The limited roster transition is the reason why this is a dynasty. There’s been no bad season in-between. They’ve had the same guys since the beginning of this amazing run. The Blackhawks are a model-franchise. They’re well-run; and are probably the best ran franchise in the NHL.
The run is especially amazing in the cap-era. These teams have a limited amount of money they can spend. $71 million to be exact. Chicago, a team that has continued to draft exceptionally well, has managed their cap-number so well. Guys, who were drafted not long ago, and who are making low-money figures, are producing. Teuvo Teravainen is making $894,167, and scored 10 points this postseason. The winger is 20, and gave Chicago another play-maker in this series. It’s a matter of drafting well, and spending money where they need help.
The Blackhawks have 14 players under contract for next year. They’ll have around $6.2 million to spend this Summer. These names aren’t included in that list of 14 players.
- Brandon Saad
- Marcus Kruger
- Johnny Odyua
- Brad Richards
- Antoine Vermette
This is part of the game, and business. They aren’t gonna be able to re-sign everyone. That’s a fact. It’s also something we can worry about later.
This Chicago team is special, and has been for the past six seasons. They’re a dynasty. And that’s how they’ll be remembered.
On the Cup being late to the post-game celebration/presentation….
I mean, really? The Stanley Cup is a treasured piece of metal. It’s been around for 122 years now. It has it’s own body guard; someone who’s with the thing 24/7. Last night, due to weather in Chicago, the Cup was delayed getting to United Center. Here’s the thing though: Why wasn’t the Cup there pre-game? Why keep it somewhere else, and risk anything at all?
It’s goofy management, and this so called “Cup Guy” better feel pretty ashamed.
I found it funny, when, after the final buzzer sounded, and the Madhouse exploded, NBC kept interviewing player, instead of showing them with the Cup. Most people, who didn’t know what the situation was, were pretty confused about the large amount of interviews. Then NBC told the audience the Cup wasn’t in the building. Then Twitter exploded.
Overall, it’s pretty ridiculous this happened. Reportedly, the vehicle the trophy was in traveled at speeds of over 100 MPH through the streets of Chicago to get there in time, with a police escort of course.
Still, it’s embarrassing for the NHL. How dare they make us, or the fans at the Madhouse, wait.
That was a fun NHL season. Congrats, Blackhawks and their fans.
Hoping to have our first podcast or two recorded this week….. One on the Cup and one on the NBA Finals….