Legends of Hockey - Spotlight - Chicago Blackhawks - 2010
One on One Turning Point

Chicago Blackhawks - 2010

6 MAY 2014
Skates worn by Chicago Blackhawk defenseman Brent Seabrook during the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs. (Hockey Hall of Fame)
During the late-1950's and early 1960's, many pundits predicted that the Chicago Black Hawks were poised to become a dynasty. After all, on a team that featured future Hall of Famers Glenn Hall in goal, Pierre Pilote on defence and snipers Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita at forward, the future looked very bright, indeed. Hall was an All-Star in eight of nine seasons. Pilote was named the Norris Trophy recipient as the top NHL defenceman in three consecutive seasons. And Hull and Mikita were the most feared forwards in the league - Hull collecting four 50-goal seasons and Mikita winning the scoring race and Hart Trophy as league MVP in back-to-back seasons. And even with a supporting cast that included Pat Stapleton and Elmer Vasko on defence and Bill Hay and Ken Wharram, the Hawks never reached the heights that were predicted of them.

Going into the 2009-10 National Hockey League season, the Chicago Blackhawks (note that the team name had been altered slightly in the mid-1980s) held the ignominious honour of having been without the Stanley Cup for the longest period of time, having not won the Cup since the 1960-61 season.

That all changed during the spring of 2010.

Actor and Blackhawks fan Vince Vaughn sent a congratulatory bottle of champagne to each member of the Chicago Blackhawks following their Stanley Cup win over Philadelphia.
(Craig Campbell/Hockey Hall of Fame)
During the summer of 2009, Chicago lost Martin Havlat, Nikolai Khabibulin and Sammy Pahlsson, but added five-time all-star Marian Hossa as well as Tomas Kopecky and John Madden.

From the first two regular season games, played in Helsinki, Finland, to the season conclusion, the Blackhawks collected 112 points to finish first in the Central Division. It was also the first time Chicago had won their division since 1992-93.

Chicago faced the Nashville Predators in the opening round of the playoffs and dismissed them in six games. Next up were the Vancouver Canucks, and the Hawks eliminated them in six games as well. Most anticipated that the Western Conference final against the San Jose Sharks, who finished first overall during the regular season, was going to be a sensational battle of two exceptional teams, but the anticlimactic result was a four-game sweep by Chicago of the Sharks, the only sweep of the entire playoffs.

That set up the Stanley Cup final, with Chicago meeting the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers had finished the season with 88 points, 24 fewer than the Hawks, but they had been at their feisty best during the post-season. This was the first playoff series between these two teams since 1971.

Chicago's Patrick Kane proudly hoisting the Stanley Cup during the Stanley Cup Champion victory parade.
(Phil Pritchard/Hockey Hall of Fame)
The series opened in Chicago, and while exceptionally close, the first game concluded in a 6-5 Hawks' win, with Troy Brouwer scoring twice to cement the victory. They edged the Flyers in Game Two, as well, taking a two games to none lead on a 2-1 Game Two victory. The third game went to overtime, and Philadelphia scored in extra time to earn a 4-3 win. The Flyers took that momentum into Game Four to win 5-3. Chicago fought back in Game Five, getting a two-goal performance from Dustin Byfuglien to win decisively by a 7-4 count to take a three games to two lead in the series.

Game Six, played June 9 at the Wachovia Center, saw the Blackhawks looking to close out the series that evening, and early on, it looked like they would do just that. Going into the third period, Chicago led 3-2, but Scott Hartnell of the Flyers tied the score late in regulation time.

The game went into overtime, and at the four-minute mark, Chicago's Brian Campbell dropped the puck back to Patrick Kane, who eluded a defenceman and fired at the Flyers' goal. Kane immediately began celebrating, but players on both teams, as well as the officials, lost sight of the puck. Kane knew, but no one else did, that the puck had crossed the goal line and was lodged under padding at the back of the net. The Blackhawks followed suit with their sniper and began to celebrate wildly, but in the meantime, the officials went to video review to determine that yes, indeed, and it was a Stanley Cup-winning goal for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Patrick Kane's goal was the first overtime marker to win the Stanley Cup since 2000, when the New Jersey Devils won on Jason Arnott's tally in extra time.

Over 2 million people took in the Blackhawks Stanley Cup parade. (Craig Campbell/Hockey Hall of Fame)
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman walked to centre ice for the Stanley Cup presentation. "The toughest trophy in all of sports to win. Two great teams competed for it. Congratulations to the Blackhawks and their fans, Rocky Wirtz, John McDonough, Stan Bowman and Joel Quenneville and the rest of the coaches. These players brought the roar back to Chicago, and now they're bringing back the Stanley Cup after 49 years. Congratulations. Jonathan Toews -- come hoist the Stanley Cup!"

Toews, the Hawks' captain, did just that. Moments earlier, he had also been awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable performer in the playoffs.

While winning the Stanley Cup was a milestone for Chicago, several individuals enjoyed their own personal milestones. Both Marian Hossa and Tomas Kopecky played in their third straight Stanley Cup final; Hossa with three different teams. Scotty Bowman, the Hawks Senior Advisor of Hockey Operations, earned his twelfth Stanley Cup championship, having won in various capacities while working with the Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings. Only Jean Beliveau (17 times) and Sam Pollock (also 12 times) have equalled or surpassed Bowman's extraordinary feat.

On June 11, 2010, more than two million fans attended the Stanley Cup parade through the streets of Chicago; more than any other Stanley Cup celebration to that date. The team later visited President Barack Obama at the White House, with the president taking particular pleasure in the victory because he had served as the United States' senator from Illinois before taking his place in the Oval Office.

Kevin Shea is the Editor of Publications and Online Features for the Hockey Hall of Fame.