The image I like best in the pregame video at theUnited Center is the one of Andrew Shaw bleeding from a cut on his face.
Not because he’s bleeding.
But because he’s bleeding and he doesn’t care.
‘‘That photo’s the greatest, isn’t it?’’ his ecstatic dad, Doug, said Monday night after Game 6. ‘‘That’s how our whole family is.’’
Selfless, he means.
That’s how you win a Stanley Cup. As a team, you just bleed together and don’t worry about fluid, stains, looks or anything else.
That’s how the Blackhawks won their third Stanley Cup in the last six seasons in a 2-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Everybody in. Nobody worried about anything but bringing the Cup back to Chicago for a third tour.
It’s fitting that ironman Duncan Keith, the tireless defender who famously donated seven teeth to the Hawks’ 2010 Stanley Cup playoff cause, would score the first — and as it turned out, winning — goal of the night in spectacular fashion. Not to mention then winning the Finals MVP Award.
Keith’s score came near the end of the second period, and the first thing you wondered was: What is a defenseman doing right in front of the enemy net?
But Keith had skated all the way up, fired a shot, and then, like a savvy offensive rebounder in the NBA, followed the shot to the goal and blasted in his rebound to the left of Lightning goalie Ben Bishop. The assists went to Patrick Kane and Brad Richards, but they could have gone to Keith alone.
Maybe Hall of Famer Bobby Orr invented this kind of attack for great defensemen. But Keith has pushed the role way down the road. Not that he wanted any special attention, beyond the team role.
Remember, he’s the guy who said of the knocked-out teeth, the ones lost to a puck five years ago, creating a pumpkin-grin mess that caused him to miss only seven minutes of playing time, ‘‘It’s a long way from the heart.’’
But this Cup win is right next to the heart of this team.
Three Cups in five calendar years is enough to qualify the current Blackhawks as a dynasty in the salary-cap-fragile NHL. All the skills that are here on this team are part of something much bigger. And that is the franchise itself, one of the Original Six, a storied club that had fallen into the muck just a decade ago but now reigns at the pinnacle of the NHL.
There have been games won in all kinds of ways, by all kinds of players, en route to this grand finale. Who would have figured Antoine Vermette or Marcus Kruger to have game-winning goals, as they did?
Who would have figured backup goalie Scott Darling to come in for shell-shocked regular Corey Crawford and stop an incredible 42 shots and not give up a goal against the Nashville Predators in the first round?
This is how you do it.
As famed NBC hockey commentator Mike ‘‘Doc’’ Emrick said earlier of the need for a deep and selfless team to win it all, in big games ‘‘the big guys cancel each other out.’’ By that he meant superstars such as Kane, captain Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa go against the other team’s superstars, and often there is a stalemate.
You didn’t hear a lot from the Lightning’s star captain and center, Steven Stamkos, either. And that, too, was by design.
Yet there was Keith, so ubiquitous on the ice that it’s hard to spot a moment when he’s not out there, doing something. If you watched him exclusively, you’d be exhausted just from eyeball exertion.
And the talent of the Hawks finally just exhausted the Lightning, with Kane himself slapping in a goal for good measure with five minutes to go.
How you gonna keep Kane, that three-time Cup winner, down? Especially now that he can actually grow an authentic playoff beard and not just blondish cotton candy?
Kane’s goal made it 2-0, and the crowd sensed the dynasty building on the spot. The Doo-doo-do-dooh’s of that silly Fratellis song became as frenzied as animal roars.
Before the game, it rained so hard in Chicago that you thought maybe the water would cascade down the UC steps and onto the ice and form some kind of ice cliff heading right out the doors and into the hot June night.
But that didn’t happen. The Cup did.
Again. And it was sweet as unity.
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