The Chicago Blackhawks are the 2015 Stanley Cup champions, updates on the Capitals, Coyotes and Blues, and the latest on advanced stats.
Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup, Keith named MVP.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE/THE TAMPA TRIBUNE: Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane scored the only goals needed as the Chicago Blackhawks blanked the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-0 to win Game Six of the Stanley Cup Final and win the Cup for the third time in six years. Keith was the unanimous choice for the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. The first teammate Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews handed the Cup to was defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who is ending his sixteen-year NHL career as a champion.
It was revealed Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop was suffering from a partial tear in his tear since Game Two of the series, but he won’t require offseason surgery. Teammate Tyler Johnson played with a fractured right wrist suffered in Game One. There was a near-embarrassing moment for the league when the Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophies were held up arriving at the arena due to bad weather in Chicago, resulting in several awkward minutes following the Blackhawks’ post-game celebration before both trophies could be awarded.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the Blackhawks for their well-deserved championship. No surprise Keith was the unanimous choice for MVP. He logged well over 700 minutes in this year’s playoffs and was invaluable to their success.
I don’t think anyone’s surprised to learn of Bishop’s and Johnson’s injuries. Bishop was clearly hobbled in this series while Johnson didn’t take a faceoff after Game One and his production dropped significantly. The Lightning, however, have nothing to be ashamed about, as this Cup Final was among the most closely contested in NHL history. Given their depth in young talent, the Bolts should be Cup contenders for the next several years, depending of course on how they manage their salary cap.
Speaking of the cap, we will see some significant roster changes for the ‘Hawks this summer, as cap constraints will force management to ship out two or three players to free up cap space. The impact of those moves and how quickly it takes the ‘Hawks to recover remains to be seen.
Finally, why the hell wasn’t the Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy in the arena before the game started? I realize there are travel issues, especially if the series went the full seven games and a return to Tampa Bay. But this could’ve been a major embarrassment for the league if the trophies were delayed for a significant period of time. I think we can be assured those trophies will be in the building for future Cup Finals well before the start of a potentially deciding game.
Notable NHL headlines.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks great Stan Mikita is suffering from suspected dementia and is now in a care facility. He now has no memory of his Hall of Fame career. While his brain disorder could be tied to injuries suffered during his playing career, Mikita’s family has no intention of suing the league, pointing to other factors which could have contributed to his condition. Mikita has left instructions that, following his death, his brain be donated for research. His family will abide by his wishes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A sad end indeed for one of hockey’s greatest players. Here’s hoping his final days are spent in comfort and surrounded by those who love him.
CSN WASHINGTON/THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom could face up to five months of rehab following arthroscopic hip surgery on May 27. Meanwhile, the Capitals announced they re-signed goaltender Philipp Grubauer to a two-year, one-way contract worth$650,000 in 2015-16 and $850,000 in 2016-17.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backstrom could face missing the opening two months of next season. Grubauer’s new deal ensures he’ll be Braden Holtby’s backup starting next season. Current backup Justin Peters has another season remaining on his contract. I suspect the Caps could try to trade him this summer.
FOXSPORTS ARIZONA: Coyotes majority owner Andrew Barroway has agreed to relinquish his role as the club’s majority owner over “a philosophical difference in the financial direction of the team.” The deal has been in the works since the end of last season and is subject to NHL approval.
THE GLOBE & MAIL: David Shoalts suggests the Glendale city council’s vote to end its lease with the Coyotes could hand the club’s owners the opportunity to relocate the franchise. Shoalts believes the talk from the Coyotes ownership of suing the city of Glendale is just bluster, suggesting a smart owner would entertain offers for the franchise from other markets. He also notes league commissioner Gary Bettman could be quite displeased with the city of Glendale, maybe unhappy enough to allow the current owners to sell and move the team. Shoalts speculates perhaps the ownership might attempt to do so without Bettman’s consent.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ve been hearing calls for moving the Coyotes for years from some in the Canadian media and nothing’s come of it. As long as Bettman, and the NHL board of governors, are determined to keep the franchise in Arizona, that’s where it’ll stay. By the look of things, the Coyotes are determined to fight the city of Glendale’s attempts to break its lease. Perhaps Barroway’s decision to relinquish his majority ownership had something to do with the other owners determination to stay in Arizona? Hopefully we’ll find out more in the coming days.
STLTODAY.COM: Still no definitive answer as to Vladimir Sobotka’s plans for next season. It was speculated he would return next season with the St. Louis Blues, as he owes them one season. He spent last season in the KHL.