Blackhawks Win Final, Wait for Cup
When it comes to awarding North America's oldest team trophy in Chicago, the Stanley Cup is fashionably late.
Actually, awkwardly late.
That was the only time prior to this season that it was due to make an appearance after the Blackhawks won it. However, the NHL's prez, Frank Calder, figured the heavily favored Toronto Maple Leafs -- who else? -- would prevail and shipped the hardware to the Great White North.
So, it was celebration time in the Windy City without the Cup.
It would arrive a day later.
Fast forward to last night, when the latest edition of Blackhawks laced 'em up with Tampa Bay right about the time the Cup and its minders left their Chicago hotel. Coach Joel Quenneville's crew did what they came to do:
Seems like the trophy's journey to the coda was just as eventful. Lousy weather and lousier traffic led to a 106mph race to the Madhouse on Madison.
Fortunately, the team and fans were too busy celebrating to spend much time being picky about itineraries.
So was the rest of Chicago, which registered boffo ratings the likes of which had never before been seen for one hockey team in one broadcast market.
Three titles in six years will have that sort of effect.
The Conn Smythe was a no-brainer. Not only did Duncan Keith come up trumps whenever the offense needed, his 715 total playoff minutes withstood everything from the Anaheim pounding to the vapor trails of Tampa's triplets.
But they'll be back, as most of the Bolts will. The club has only one free agent on its roster, so it won't be a surprise to see them make a deep run next year.
However, this season belongs to the Blackhawks. In fact, this era belongs to them. Whether or not the Cup arrives on time.