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Open letter proves Blackhawks are the class of the NHL off the ice as well

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wirtz-letter

By Allan Muir

I talked to a few Bruins fans the day after that heartbreaking loss in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup. They were disappointed, and still maybe a little stunned, but to a man they recognized that Chicago was the class of the league and that the Blackhawks were deserving champions.

Turns out they’re the class of the league off the ice as well.

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  • Published On Jun 28, 2013
  • Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks grace Sports Illustrated regional cover

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    Sports Illustrated's Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup cover (Brian Babineau NHLI/Getty Images)

    The Chicago Blackhawks are Stanley Cup champions — and Sports Illustrated cover boys. SI’s regional cover showcases Dave Bolland’s game-winning goal, which sealed a miraculous 3-2 Game 6 comeback win and gave the ‘Hawks a 4-2 series victory. Despite Monday’s action pushing right up to SI’s weekly close deadline, the magazine was able to highlight the stunning conclusion to an outstanding NHL postseason.

    For more, subscribe to Sports Illustrated or purchase the tablet edition of this week’s magazine. And check SI.com on Wednesday for the national cover reveal.

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  • Published On Jun 25, 2013
  • Stanley Cup Final: Celebrity Twitter reaction to Blackhawks’ Cup win

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    By Allan Muir

    A quick look at what some notable celebrities and athletes had to say on Twitter during last night’s thrilling Stanley Cup-clinching victory by the Chicago Blackhawks in Boston.

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  • Published On Jun 25, 2013
  • Stanley Cup Final: Gary Bettman booed as usual after Blackhawks win Game 6

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    By John Rolfe

    Did you expect anything other than a robustly negative reception for the Lord of the Lockout? Fans may have forgiven the NHL for depriving them of half a season — the great postseason certainly helped soothe inflamed passions — but they didn’t forget. If anything, this year’s sour serenade was one of the most highly anticipated of the Commissioner’s 20-year tenure, and it didn’t disappoint.


  • Published On Jun 25, 2013
  • Stanley Cup Final: Report Card for Blackhawks’ Cup-clinching win

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    Chicago's Corey Crawford earned top marks for standing tall against the Bruins in the Cup-clinching Game 6 win.

    Chicago’s Corey Crawford earned top marks for standing tall against the Bruins in Game 6. (David E. Klutho/SI)

    By Allan Muir

    Here is a completely subjective look at some of the key elements in Chicago’s Stanley Cup-clinching 3-2 Game 6 win over the Boston Bruins:

    Goaltending

    Corey Crawford, Chicago: If there was one box left unchecked on Crawford’s record during these playoffs, it was that he’d yet to steal a game like all the great keepers had. We can’t say that anymore. Tonight, he was Glenn Hall and Tony Esposito wrapped up in one glorious goaltending package during a first-period assault that saw him singlehandedly repel the black and gold hordes. While his teammates struggled to match Boston’s intensity, Crawford battled to track the puck through a forest of bodies out front and consistently controlled his rebounds, limiting the second and third chances that haunted him at times during this postseason. Those early frustrations seemed to eat away at Boston’s confidence, leading them to over-pass or get a little too cute with their shots as the game progressed.

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  • Published On Jun 25, 2013
  • Stanley Cup Final: For Boston fans, heartbreak softened by perspective

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    Boston Bruins

    The Bruins nearly forced a Game 7, but succumbed to two late Blackhawks goals in Game 6. (David E. Klutho/SI)

    By Adrian Dater

    As a New England native, I’ll confess: Being a part of the woe-is-me, somebody-up-there-hates-us Boston sports fan lament isn’t fun. Babe Ruth, Johnny Pesky, Too-Many-Men-On-The-Ice, Desmond Howard, Bucky “Bleeping” Dent — it all got to be too much, even for me.

    If not for that miracle Patriots Super Bowl win in 2001, that even more unbelievable Red Sox comeback over the Yankees in 2004 and the Celtics’ win over the Lakers in 2008, this column would likely be one long cry for sympathy — and that cry would be necessary after Monday night’s Beantown Meltdown by the Bruins in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final against Chicago.

    Pre-2001, when the tuck rule saved the Patriots, and pre-2004, when Tony Clark’s ground-rule double proved to be a lucky bounce for the Red Sox and Dave Roberts was safe by an inch, Monday’s Cup collapse would have ranked among the top Boston gag jobs of all time. A 2-1 lead, the opposing goaltender pulled, the crowd on its happy feet, less than two minutes left. Game over, let’s go to Chicago for Game 7.

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  • Published On Jun 25, 2013
  • Stanley Cup Final: Chicago’s Patrick Kane deserving Conn Smythe winner

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    Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Kane

    Patrick Kane was quiet in Game 6, but registered 19 points during Chicago’s Stanley Cup run. (David E. Klutho/SI)

    By Adrian Dater

    First, a note: The NHL’s media corps was forced to vote on the Conn Smythe Trophy winner with 10 minutes remaining in the third period of Monday’s Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. Ask any regular NHL beat writer, and he or she will tell you that picking a game’s three stars is one of the most dreaded assignments in an NHL arena. Magnify that tenfold for picking the playoff MVP.

    Understandably, there were more than a few “What the…?” proclamations on Twitter and elsewhere after the Blackhawks staged a miraculous 3-2 comeback victory to claim the Cup, and Gary Bettman announced Patrick Kane’s name amid the usual thicket of boos from the stunned TD Garden crowd.

    Kane, after all, did not register a point in Game 6. He played only 19 minutes, nearly 10 fewer than Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith, the pick of many others in the media.

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  • Published On Jun 25, 2013
  • Stanley Cup Final: Chicago’s Andrew Shaw takes puck to the face in Game 6

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    By Alexander Abnos

    The Chicago Blackhawks didn’t have the best start to Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final in Boston. The Bruins were all over them from the very beginning, out-shooting them handily en route to a 1-0 first period lead that should have been more.

    Oh, and this happened to Andrew Shaw:

    shawpuckface

    Ouch. Shaw had to be taken off the ice and into the locker room after bleeding pretty profusely, but in true hockey fashion he would return to the game in the second period (albeit with a cut under that eye).

    HACKEL:  NHL’s painful tradition


  • Published On Jun 24, 2013
  • Stanley Cup Final: Boston’s Patrice Bergeron plays in Game 6 vs. Chicago

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    Patrice Bergeron will be able to help the Bruins in their attempt to stave off elimination.

    Patrice Bergeron is in the lineup for Game 6 after leaving Game 5 early with an injury. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    Patrice Bergeron came out for the warmups ahead of Game 6. He skated hard and took his usual spot with Brad Marchand and Jaromir Jagr during the line rushes.

    But then the player who usually stays on the ice until the last possible minute skated off with nearly six minutes remaining and headed to Boston’s dressing room.

    The speculation rose that Bergeron would be unable to go tonight, until the official roster was finally released just before puck-drop.

    Bergeron is in the lineup.

    Impossible to say what he’ll be able to bring tonight or if he can go the distance, but this will go down as a gutty effort from Boston’s emotional leader.


  • Published On Jun 24, 2013
  • Stanley Cup Final: Notable quotes from Boston, Chicago coaches on Game 6

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    Coach Joel Quenneville of the Chicago Blackhawks

    Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville is focusing his team on capturing the Stanley Cup tonight. (Icon SMI)

    By Allan Muir

    The most telling quotes from the press conferences held this morning by Chicago coach Joel Quenneville and Boston coach Claude Julien:

    • Chicago coach Joel Quenneville on captain Jonathan Toews: “He’s 100 percent ready to go.

    • Quenneville on being in the right place mentally with a chance to close out the series: “You want to make sure you have confidence going into today’s game, but let’s make sure the energy is going to be in the right place. Let’s make sure there’s a purpose with it. But at the end of the day, we all dream about this challenge and this opportunity, and let’s go take advantage of it.”

    • The opening question posed by an unnamed comedic genius at Claude Julien’s presser: “Coach, with the NHL draft coming up, I wonder if you have had any chance to look at any of the prospects?”

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  • Published On Jun 24, 2013


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