BOSTON -- This time, the Chicago Blackhawks won't have to break up a Stanley Cup team.
Three years ago, after Patrick Kane scored in overtime to eliminate the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 6 of the finals, moves had to be made to clear up salary-cap troubles. Some important players left, and bad things were forecast.
But now, the Hawks have hoisted the Cup again in this lockout-shortened season.
There doesn't appear to be any reason they can't come back for more.
"We're going to enjoy this one first and have fun with it, and then we'll talk about (another) one," coach Joel Quenneville said after his team struck for two late goals in less than 18 seconds to score a 3-2 Game 6 victory and eliminate the Boston Bruins to avoid a Game 7 and win another Cup.
"It was that type of season where we did a lot of good things right," said Quenneville, whose move to reunite Kane and Jonathan Toews before Game 4 turned the series around. "Commend the competitiveness and the perseverance of our team, especially the way things ended today. It was that type of season, and it was special."
Perseverance? How about goalie Corey Crawford, who saw five goals fly past his glove hand in the 6-5 victory in Game 4? As the series moved forward, the feeling was the Chicago goalie was shaky, while Tuukka Rask had the decided edge at the other end.
With Quenneville clearly changing the team's defensive posture to keep the Bruins from getting clear shots at the glove, Crawford gave up three goals in the last two games. He kept his team in the game in the first period Monday night and was solid throughout the 23-save performance.
"I got a question the other day which kind of was surprising, 'Who's
going to play your next game?'" Quenneville said. "It was obvious who's playing our next game because (Crawford) was the reason we were playing the next game. It was that type of year for him, and I'm very happy for him."
Perseverance? How about Dave Bolland, who scored the winning goal Monday night? In Game 3 of this series, he had his stick lifted for the first Boston goal, was guilty of three penalties, and another goal scored before he could get back in the play.
Perseverance? How about Toews, the team captain, who may or may not have been concussed on a questionable hit by Johnny Boychuk in Game 5?
"He had a monster game," Quenneville said of Toews, who had a goal and an assist, while going 12-8 on faceoffs and dishing out three official hits. "He was fine. He looked ready to go at the end of the last game, and I thought he looked very good yesterday and was ready to go last night and today.
"The bigger the game, the bigger the setting, you know what you're
going to get from Jonathan Toews," Quenneville added. "He just knows how to play hockey. Whether he's productive or not, absorbs a lot of big minutes from their matchup guys and he never gets outscored. His production sometimes gets criticized. The one thing is he plays the way you want a hockey player to play, and our captain, as well."
Don't be shocked if these guys, again led by Toews and Kane, come right back and make a real run at the 2014 Cup.
"This is an unbelievable group," said Toews. "We've been through a lot together this year, and this is a sweet way to finish it off."