For the first time in 77 years, the Chicago Blackhawks were able to hoist the Stanley Cup on home ice and it was truly an amazing experience. With a 2-0 win in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night, the Blackhawks won their third championship in six seasons! The key to success was outstanding goaltending and the ability to save leads, winning all 33 games this season when they were ahead after two periods. Chicago was alive Monday with a lot to celebrate.

A Modern Day Dynasty

You’ve heard this term a lot, and we can finally say it is true. With their third Stanley Cup win in six seasons, the Chicago Blackhawks truly are a Modern Day Dynasty in the salary cap era. The salary cap was designed to create parity and prevent lengthy dominance by one team, but the Blackhawks have found a way to overcome that with the strength of such a great group of guys.

Blackhawks President John McDonough arrived in 2007 and helped turn a franchise that was pretty much non-existent into the one every NHL club wants to be. Former General Manager Dale Tallon laid the groundwork, and Stan Bowman fortified it with more outstanding drafting—proof to never doubt his decisions. I know I’ve had my moments of doubt, but Bowman always proves us wrong with his decisions.

This is the third title for Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson who were all drafted by the Blackhawks during the organization’s quest to build up when the United Center had plenty of empty seats. Jonathan Toews and the Blackhawks brought the love of hockey back to Chicago and it is here to stay.

A Shutout for Crawford

What better way to end the postseason than with a shutout AND a Stanley Cup win?! I couldn’t think of anything better either. Except that maybe Crawford finally get the respect he deserves. Crawford struggled in the postseason, as he was benched in the first round and replaced with Darling. However, Coach Q never lost faith in Crow, giving him the start in the next round. Crawford never let us down. In last night’s game, Crawford was a brick wall shutting out the Tampa Bay Lightning to ensure that the Blackhawks hoist the Cup on home ice for the first time in 77 years. To Crawford, I salute you. I’ve never lost faith in him and I hope that the haters finally stop hating on Crawford—he truly is an elite goaltender with two Stanley Cups under his belt. Give the guy a little credit for once!

Duncan Keith Wins Conn Smythe

That’s right—Duncan Keith wins the Conn Smythe for the ultimate achievement of his amazing career! Keith is universally recognized as one of the NHL’s best defensemen, winning the Norris Trophy and receiving votes in each of the last seven seasons. With 21 points in the playoffs, Keith was the second best total on the Blackhawks and tied with Jonathan Toews. Both were behind only Patrick Kane.

With a stellar career and outstanding run in the playoffs, Duncan Keith seemed like a figment of our imaginations. He made significant offensive contributions in all four rounds and got us on the board in Game 6 to set us up for victory. If we learned anything from the playoffs it is this: Chicago Runs on Duncan. Keith became the fourth defenseman since the NHL started tracking ice time to play 700 minutes in a single postseason.

Timonen Ends Career with Victory

Lastly, we have Kimmo Timonen. Last year he wasn’t sure if he would ever play professional hockey again, but 10 months later the 16-year NHL veteran can finally call himself a champion. Monday night’s victory and Stanley Cup win gave Timonen the ending he deserved—an ending he never could have predicted. Before this season, Timonen was diagnosed with blood clots in his lungs and his right leg—the Flyers ruled him out indefinitely. After talking with doctors, Timonen found a way to continue his career without risking his long-term health.

Just days ahead of the NHL trade deadline Timonen was traded to the Blackhawks. Many people were skeptical, but were proved wrong—he found a way to make a difference for the Blackhawks. I couldn’t imagine a more deserving player who gave his all for one last magical run. Timonen can now retire a champion after 16 seasons.

That was one hell of a run, Blackhawks—One hell of a run. With the Stanley Cup back in Chicago, we celebrate Thursday at the Blackhawks Parade and Rally. See you all there!

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