The Chicago Blackhawks won their third Stanley Cup in six years Monday, beating the Tampa Bay Lightning, 2-0, in Game 6 to clinch their first championship on home ice since 1938.
“Title Town, USA,” Chicago’s 670 the Score host David Schuster told Jay Berman, who was filling in as host of CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I guess I can steal that from another place on the map, but it’s true. The Blackhawks winning their third in six years – it’s debatable whether that’s a dynasty or not. But it’s certainly a heck of an accomplishment in today’s NHL.”
By “today’s NHL,” Schuster, of course, is referring to the salary cap era of the past decade. No team has won back-to-back Stanley Cups since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998. Compare that to the 1970s and 1980s, when the Canadiens won four straight, the Islanders won four straight and the Oilers won five in seven years.
So yeah, three out of six ain’t bad.
“I guess in today’s NHL, it is considered a dynasty,” Schuster said. “With the salary cap the way it is, the Blackhawks have had to maneuver around that a couple times already. They’re going to have to do it again going into next season, where they shed so many salaries to continue staying relevant. For as long as they got Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane and a few other guys – Duncan Keith, of course – you’re talking abut three Hall of Fame players that are still young. Brent Seabrook is also young. Corey Crawford has now won a couple of cups. Again, I always (say) for other people to debate it, but when you think of NHL dynasties – the Islanders won four in a row, Edmonton won four in a row, the Canadiens won all those championships. The definition of three in six years is not exactly a dynasty, but the way the NHL is now set up, maybe it is.”
The Blackhawks won this year’s Stanley Cup with depth and defense, limiting the Lightning to two goals in the final three games of the series. Duncan Keith scored with less than three minutes to go in the second period of Game 6 to give Chicago a 1-0 lead, while Patrick Kane’s goal with just over five minutes to go in the third sealed the deal. Chicago, which won the final three games of the series, scored two goals in each of its four wins. Game 6 was the first game of the series not decided by one goal.
With the win, Joel Quenneville, who has led the Blackhawks to at least the conference finals in five of his seven seasons in Chicago, is now a likely Hall of Famer.
“Yeah, I think last night clinched it,” Schuster said. “To have won three Stanley Cups in six years as a coach – and he’s No. 3 on the all-time list of coaching victories in the playoffs. No. 1, of course, is the architect of the Blackhawks, Stan Bowman’s father, Scotty Bowman, who won so many Stanley Cups, it’s just ridiculous. And now Joel Quenneville is No. 3 on the list of all-time wins by a playoff coach. So yeah, I do elevate him into Hall of Fame status. I do.”