The Chicago Blackhawks didn’t care about winning it. Many fans were leery of winning it. Other fans didn’t care about it one way or the other. Whatever your position, the Blackhawks have officially won the President’s Cup by beating the Edmonton Oilers 4-1.
With all the talk of their young talent, the Oilers couldn’t cut it against the Blackhawks and were only in the Blackhawks’ zone 29 times compared to the Blackhawks being in the Oilers’ zone 50 times. The Blackhawks had some excellent scoring chances, including two from rookie Drew LeBlanc, who made his NHL debut on Wednesday. It helped that he was being fed passes by Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp.
Aside from winning the President’s Trophy, the Blackhawks’ goaltending became an issue. Ray Emery started the game, but he left with six minutes remaining in the first period and was replaced by Corey Crawford. It was later revealed that he had a lower-body injury, most likely the result of tweaking or re-aggravating the injury that had kept him out of the net before this game. Crawford did hold his own, stopping the Oilers and making a tremendous glove save on Jordan Eberle’s shot in the second period.
A lot of fans are worried about claiming the President’s Trophy due to the fact that not many teams have won the Stanley Cup after doing so. In fact, in the past 10 seasons, only the Detroit Red Wings won both in 2002 and 2008. The rest have fallen at various stages: four in quarterfinal rounds, one in a semifinal round, two in a conference final series. The Vancouver Canucks were lucky enough to make it to the Cup Finals in 2011 before they lost.
I’d read a comment elsewhere on the Internet saying that the Blackhawks were as strong as the Red Wings from the 2001-02 season. If that’s true, we’ll see another team do what they did twice in six years. It would be a fitting end to the season the Blackhawks have had.