The Hockey Hall of Fame unveiled the latest Blackhawks to be engraved on the Stanley Cup on Sunday, and perhaps most notable were two names that were missing: assistant equipment manager Clint Reif and goaltender Antti Raanta.
A spokesman for the NHL said that the team gets to choose which 52 names it wants on the Cup, and that the league only goes through those names to verify whether they meet the requirements. So basically, it’s up to the team who makes the cut and who doesn’t. The only rule is a player must appear in half of a team’s regular-season games, or at least one Stanley Cup Final game.
Raanta played in just 14 games, but dressed in more than the required 41. Traditionally, the backup goaltender is included even if he doesn’t play 41 games — Scott Darling is on the Cup even though he played in just 14 regular-season games and dressed as the backup for all six games in the Final — but the NHL said there was no set rule for backup goalies who dress but don’t play.
When asked why Raanta was left off, the Hawks simply said only players who play in 41 games or one Final game make the cut.
Congratulations @NHLBlackhawks. Forever 2015 #stanleycup champions!@HockeyHallFame— Philip Pritchard (@keeperofthecup) September 27, 2015
Raanta — who lost his backup job to Scott Darling late in the season and was traded to the New York Rangers during the draft — was embroiled in some controversy over the summer when a Finnish magazine quoted him as saying he rooted against the Hawks during the first round of the playoffs, so he could go home to Finland. Raanta told the Sun-Times that was greatly exaggerated, and that he was just briefly frustrated after he was called up to be a Black Ace rather than keep playing in Rockford.
“It only took one day,” he said. “[Because] then I came to Chicago and saw my teammates, and everybody was so happy to see me. So it was [a] big help for the first couple days. … I’m not that kind of guy that I would say something like that, and hope my team to lose, even if I’m not paying goalie.”
Reif, meanwhile, is the popular assistant equipment manager who died last December. The Hawks honored his memory with “CR” stickers on their helmets, and Reif’s family was on the ice to celebrate the Stanley Cup victory in June. Reif’s name is on the Cup twice already, as he was a part of the 2010 and 2013 championship teams, too.
The Hawks did petition, successfully, to have forwards Daniel Carcillo and Joakim Nordstrom engraved on the Cup, even though they came up just short of the required 41 games. Among the 52 names were 11 first-timers: Antoine Vermette, Kimmo Timonen, David Rundblad, Andrew Desjardins, Teuvo Teravainen, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Darling, Nordstrom and Kyle Cumiskey, along with coaches Kevin Dineen and Jimmy Waite.