The day before the Blackhawks Game 7 OT victory against the Detroit Red Wings, Mick Jagger presented the crowd with his very own personalized Blackhawks jersey. The 69-year-old rocker told the crowd, “I hope they win!”
The Blackhawks and Bruins have both enjoyed recent success in the postseason, but have never met in a Stanley Cup Final until now. Chicago and Boston didn't cross paths during the regular season, but the two teams have forged similar paths to get to this point: The Bruins weathered a seven-game bout in the first round against Toronto, coming within 3 minutes of blowing a 3-1 series lead to their heated rivals, while the Blackhawks had to claw back from a 3-1 deficit of their own against Detroit in the second round. The squads also share potent offenses, stifling defenses, and two starting goalies playing at the top of their game. Below, the Blackhawks Blog takes a look at how Chicago and Boston match up in other areas.
Each week, the Blackhawks Blog will give you five stats you need to know about the Blackhawks this season.
1. Twenty-two of Marian Hossa’s 43 career playoff tallies (51.2%) have been go-ahead goals.
No. 81’s game-winning goal in the third period of Game 4 was his seventh goal of the postseason. Hossa has seven points (3G, 4A) in his last seven games.
There were several clutch performances that led to Thursday night's 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Worthy of mention: Bryan Bickell netting his eighth goal of the playoffs, Patrick Kane getting on the scoresheet for the first time in the series (with Bickell contributing an assist), and the Slovak connection coming through on the game-winner, with Michal Handzus finding Marian Hossa for a one-timer. But a crucial part of the Blackhawks' success in Game 4 was the team's depth—and strength—on defense, as Head Coach Joel Quenneville needed big games from his blueliners to make up for the one-game absence of Duncan Keith due to suspension. In came Sheldon Brookbank, who logged 6:20 in his first action since the end of the regular season, but it was Niklas Hjalmarsson, Michal Rozsival and Johnny Oduya who faced down the Kings' toughest customers all night. Below, the Blackhawks Blog compared the trio's ice time from the last two games:
Click on the image for full-size version (PDF).
The Blackhawks are back on the cover of Sports Illustrated, this time being featured in one of two national covers of the magazine. Author Steve Rushin offers his perspective on why the Stanley Cup Playoffs are unlike any other postseason in professional sports:
"From the shaggy beards to the thrilling Game 7s to the enduring institution that is the handshake line," he writes, "the NHL playoffs bring traditions with which other sports simply cannot compete."
Check out the cover featuring Marcus Kruger finishing a check against the L.A. Kings' Tyler Toffoli in the Western Conference Final:
Vince Vaughn appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Monday night to promote his new film, "The Internship."
Avid Blackhawks fan Vaughn chatted with Leno about Chicago's second-round series against Detroit and the team's recent success in the Western Conference Final against Los Angeles.
The play, as it happened...
Scrum behind the play near the Blackhawks crease. The Kings' gruff winger, Kyle Clifford, gets tangled up with Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, and the scuffle escalates quickly. In Crawford's own words: "Their guy grabbed him and got a couple of free shots. I figured it was enough, decided to go in there and grab his head."
Six goals, two statement games and one pulled goalie later, the Blackhawks are two wins closer to reaching the Stanley Cup Final. The Blackhawks won their first two games of the Western Conference Final against Los Angeles by a combined score of 6-3, including a four-goal outburst in Game 2 that sent Jonathan Quick, reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner, to the visitors bench in the second period. Meanwhile, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa continued to lead Chicago offensively, combining for two goals and three assists in two nights, while Michal Handzus established a career-long postseason point streak. The Blackhawks Blog's newest infograph highlights the spread of point contributions over the course of the playoffs and Quick's atypical night, as well as the team's big-game performers.
Click on the image for full-size version (PDF)
Every week, the Blackhawks Blog will feature fan tweets that reply to our official Twitter account @NHLBlackhawks mixed in with the tweets from some Blackhawks themselves! Send us your thoughts on the Blackhawks’ players, games and more, and you could be a contributor to our next Tweet Sheet.
There are 26 NHL teams that would rather be using hockey sticks instead of golf clubs while the Blackhawks and their three counterparts continue the battle for the Stanley Cup. Chicago became just the 21st team in NHL history to overcome a 3-1 series deficit to move on. Of course, the triumph came with some controversy, when Niklas Hjalmarsson's goal with 1:47 remaining in regulation was negated by a referee's whistle while two players were fighting near the Detroit bench. Fortunately, Brent Seabrook's goal at 3:35 of overtime has helped ease that angst as the Hawks have moved to the conference finals.
I don't want to mislead you, because besides the work I do for the team, I am a Blackhawks fan! It is easy to criticize a referee's call. All you have to remember is Game 6 at Detroit, when I'm sure most of the Red Wings faithful questioned the penalty shot call that resulted in Michael Frolik's game-winning goal to tie the series.
I was fortunate to be sitting in the first balcony at the Stadium on April 4, 1959, for Game 6 of the playoff semifinals against the Montreal Canadiens. Montreal was up 3-2 in the series against Chicago, which was making its first playoff appearance in six years and facing the defending champs. Red Storey was considered the best referee in the league; it wound up being his last NHL game.
The Hawks kept taking the lead, but the Canadiens tripped Ed Litzenberger once, then scored to tie the game.Then two more times, Bobby Hull was tripped in the third period, and both times the visitors took the puck up ice to score and win the game 5-4 in the final 90 seconds, and ultimately the series.
All three times, Storey failed to call a penalty against the Canadiens, and fans showered the ice for more than 30 minutes. When the game ended, two fans ran onto the ice trying to get at him, but were halted, one by the stick of Montreal's Doug Harvey. NHL Commissioner Clarence Campbell was at the game and was asked about Storey's officiating. He told the press that "Storey choked!"
So while the whistle prevented Hjalmarsson's goal last Wednesday, Seabrook eventually came through. Remember, the referees try to call them as they see them, and hopefully their decisions don't affect the final score. Go Hawks!