BY RICHARD ROEPER
I’m thinking “Hat Trick” won’t be a big seller in Nashville, Minnesota, Anaheim or Tampa, seeing as how the Blackhawks vanquished the hockey clubs representing those fine houses of skate — but it’s going to be a hit in Chicago.
You want to recapture the goosebumps? Slip this DVD into the slot.
With rare exceptions, sequels are never as good as the original, but “Hat Trick” (available Nov. 17 on DVD and Blu-Ray) is a big upgrade from the Hawks’ 2010 Stanley Cup championship DVD and every bit as good as “17 Seconds,” the rousing chronicle of the 2013 champions.
(A 240-page hardcover book, One Goal III: The Inside Story of the 2015 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks, goes on sale Nov. 10.)
Clocking in at a little more than an hour, “Hat Trick” spends a quick 15 minutes recapping the Hawks’ march through the playoffs, with coach Joel Quenneville bellowing, “Nobody likes winning more than me!” and owner Rocky Wirtz admitting he was nervous until the very end, noting, “The horse is not in the barn until he’s in the barn.”
After the Hawks beat the Lightning in Game 6 of the Final — the first time in 77 years they clinched on home ice — the players and members of the organization celebrated for a brief shining moment behind closed doors before letting in the media and the world.
But the “Hat Trick” cameras were there, capturing captain Jonathan Toews giving a speech in which he proclaims, “Every single f—— guy in here was part of this f—— championship,” and most of the team belts out a fantastically off-key rendition of “We Are the Champions.”
Next up is the parade and the rally at Soldier Field — standard championship video stuff, with some pretty cool footage taken from the parade buses, giving us the players’ point of view.
The human-interest element kicks in as the cameras follow a number of players as they take their turn bringing the Cup to their hometowns, from Russnas, Sweden (Niklas Hjalmarsson), to Prague (Michael Rozsival) to Slovakia (Marian Hossa) to Niantic, Conn.
In Sweden, a group of kids sings a song with lyrics about cows and how the Stanley Cup is “an old vase.” In Winnipeg, we get scenes of Jonathan Toews partying with friends and admitting he’s a sucker for his girlfriend’s little dog.
Toews’ mom says, “Just in the past few days he’s said a few funny things, so you know, he might succeed in losing that Captain Serious nickname.”
Cut to Toews: “No, I’m not funny at all. Just serious.”
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As you might expect, “Hat Trick” makes no mention and shows not a second of footage of Patrick Kane’s trip back home to Buffalo. (Even though the district attorney announced Thursday that no charges would be filed against Kane, what should have been a joyous return took a very dark turn.) Someday there might be a “30 for 30” documentary about Kane; here’s hoping he doesn’t provide any more material for one of those retrospectives on a talent wasted.
“Hat Trick” does delve into serious territory with a well-produced segment about Scott Darling, the backup goalie who grew up in Lemont and ran into trouble in his late teens and early 20s as he drank excessively and was suspended numerous times by the University of Maine’s hockey club before he finally was dropped from the team.
Darling lists all the stops he made on his way to Chicago (“Las Vegas Wranglers, Louisiana Ice Skaters … Mississippi River Kings, Florida Everglades, Cincinnati
Cyclones …”), and his mother recalls how when she was diagnosed with cancer for the second time — at a point when Darling was sober for a couple of months. She worried it would push him back to the edge, but he told her, “I’m here, Mom, and I’m going to be strong [for you] and not drink.”
Directed with style and assurance by Patrick Dahl and Matthew Dominick, “Hat Trick” is instant nostalgia — a video yearbook of the 2014-15 Hawks.
In the last six years, the Hawks have won three Stanley Cups, but only seven players were on all three of those teams, and one (Patrick Sharp) has been traded since.
No matter what happens with the Hawks in 2015-16 and beyond, for many, if not most of “the boys” who hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup, the good old days are already in the rearview mirror.
Follow me on Twitter @richardroeper.