With just four games left in the regular season and holding a five point lead atop the NHL, the Blackhawks are on the verge of capturing their first Presidents’ Trophy since the 1990-91 season.
Not that their captain is very excited about it.
“It’s a cool thing that people talk about, but they won’t talk about it very long,” Jonathan Toews told the Chicago Daily Herald. “It’s not that important.
“Of course we want to be the best and put ourselves at the top for the entire season, but the fact it’s called the President’s Trophy doesn’t mean a whole lot to us.”
Capturing the regular season title has always been odd for players to contextualize.
It’s a significant accomplishment — especially for Chicago this year, given its record-setting points streak — but one that massively pales in comparison to winning the Stanley Cup.
That said, winning this year’s Presidents’ Trophy would be cool for the Blackhawks from a historical standpoint. It would put them in a conversation with the great ’90-91 team that featured Ed Belfour, Jeremy Roenick, Chris Chelios, Steve Larmer and Michel Goulet, the first and only Chicago team to win the regular season title.
It would also ensure Chicago home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs, so that’s something.
There’s another issue to consider with the Presidents’ Trophy, though:
The hex it’s thrown on recent winners.
Since the 2004 lockout, four of seven winners were bounced in the opening round of the playoffs, including last year’s winner — the Vancouver Canucks, who were eliminated in five games by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Kings.
‘Hawks head coach Joel Quenneville said that, with all the parity in the league, winning the Presidents’ Trophy doesn’t mean much come playoff time.
“Hey, we saw last year with the eighth seed that anybody can win,” he explained. “The parity and closeness of all the teams, if anybody can get on a roll and take off and go, they think they can win it.”