Ryan Dadoun

Brent Seabrook

Championship-clinching Game 6 draws big ratings

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There was no shortage of people watching the Chicago Blackhawks win their third Stanley Cup championship in six years last night. Monday’s game drew a 5.6 overnight rating, which is the third highest mark for a Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final since 1995, per NBC Sports PR. It’s also the fourth-best overnight rating ever for an NHL contest.

The Chicago market topped the list with a record-setting 41.0 household rating. Tampa Bay came in second with a 15.2 household rating. Buffalo (10.5), Milwaukee (7.9), and Denver (7.6) rounded out the top five.

Every game in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final was fiercely competitive as the first five were decided by just one goal while Chicago managed to end that trend with its 2-0 victory last night. The win also caused the dynasty debate surrounding the Blackhawks to heat up.

After a rough start, Crawford delivered in Stanley Cup Final

Corey Crawford
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Corey Crawford’s start to the 2015 playoffs was hardly idyllic. He was yanked after just 20 minutes in Chicago’s playoff opener because he surrendered three goals on 12 shots. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville put him back in for Game 2, but after Chicago suffered a 6-2 loss, it was Scott Darling that got the nod for Game 3.

Thus began a goaltending controversy that spanned the first round of the playoffs. Quenneville made it clear that Crawford would start in the second round against the Minnesota Wild and that was the end of the drama between the pipes.

From there the 30-year-old goaltender led the Blackhawks past Minnesota and Anaheim before coming up big in the final three games of the Stanley Cup Final by turning aside 80 of 82 shots. With that Crawford has now won the Stanley Cup twice in three years. He has a 2.23 GAA and .921 save percentage in 76 career playoff games and his 45th postseason wins puts him in a tie with Tony Esposito for the most in franchise history.

“We know who he is,” Brandon Saad told CSN Chicago. “He’s a big time player. He anchors our team and we love him. He’s a great goalie and obviously the rings speak for themselves.”

Crawford might go his entire career with his worth being questioned at every misstep, but it’s hard to deny what he meant to this franchise. All the Chicago dynasty talk exists because players emerged to help fill the void after Chicago’s cap situation forced them to make tough choices following its 2010 championship. Of all the players that have become regulars since the summer of 2010, Crawford has been the most vital.

Ten interesting numbers from the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup run

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six
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As Chicago wakes up from last night’s celebration and we enter a period of reflection following the Blackhawks’ third Stanley Cup championship in six years, let’s take a look at some of the interesting numbers associated with that feat:

2002: The last time a team won the Stanley Cup for the third time within the span of six years. The Detroit Red Wings won it all in 1997, 1998, and 2002.

45: The number of playoff games Corey Crawford has won. He’s tied for the Blackhawks’ franchise record with Tony Esposito.

114: How many points Patrick Kane has recorded in his 116 career playoff games. He’s just 26 years old, but is already tied for 64th place on the all-time leaderboard.

7: How many active Blackhawks’ players have been around for all three of Chicago’s recent Stanley Cup championships (Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, and Jonathan Toews). Justin Williams is the only active non-Blackhawks player with three Stanley Cup championships.

11: The size of the club Joel Quenneville joined by winning his third Stanley Cup as a head coach.

3: The number of Conn Smythe Trophy winners that got a point on Chicago’s Stanley Cup-winning goal (Duncan Keith, 2015; Patrick Kane, 2013; Brad Richards, 2004).

33-0-0: Chicago’s record (regular season and playoffs) when entering the third period with the lead. The Blackhawks were also 33-3-0 when leading after 20 minutes.

4: Where Duncan Keith’s 2015 playoff run ranked when it came to total ice time recorded during a single postseason since 1998. Keith logged 715:37 minutes, which put him behind just Nicklas Lidstrom (2002, 717:01), Chris Pronger (2006, 742:55), and Drew Doughty (2014, 747:33).

1,213: The number of games (regular season and playoffs) Kimmo Timonen participated in during his NHL career. Last night he lifted the Stanley Cup for the first time.

14: The number of Stanley Cup championships Scotty Bowman has won.

PHT Morning Skate: Reacting to Chicago’s championship

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Let’s lead with the highlights from Chciago’s Stanley Cup-winning 2-0 victory last night:

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is among those declaring the Blackhawks a dynasty. He’s also promising a “world class” celebration. (Associated Press)

Whether or not they’re a dynasty, what they’ve accomplished in spite of the salary cap is incredible. (Bleacher Report)

Pro athletes react to Chicago’s Stanley Cup championship. (The Players’ Tribune)

Blackhawks president and CEO John McDonough’s say they have fulfilled their ultimate goal:

After winning the Stanley Cup, Daniel Carcillo spoke about Steve Montador, whose “spirit is still with me.” (CSN Chicago)

Here’s a look at the jerseys worn by each championship team from 1918-2014. (Sports Logos)

DeBoer: Playoff collapse played a big role in Sharks’ 2014-15 struggles

San Jose Sharks Name Peter Deboer Head Coach
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Despite the tomorrow team talk in the summer of 2014, the San Jose Sharks entered the season with something to prove after suffering a humbling reverse sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings. Instead, San Jose regressed further by failing to make the playoffs at all.

Peter DeBoer has since taken over the head coaching duties from Todd McLellan and after getting a chance to talk with the Sharks’ players, he was left with the impression that their 2014 first round collapse “dragged into last season and played a big part in what happened there,” per Sportsnet.

He suggested continually answering questions about what happened in the 2014 playoffs was part of the reason it continued to hang over them. It nevertheless is in contrast to what happened in Boston, as the Philadelphia’s 2010 reverse sweep of the Bruins was followed by Boston’s 2011 Stanley Cup championship. Regardless, DeBoer feels they are ready to put that unfortunate chapter in their franchise’s history behind them.

The fact that there was a coaching change might help as it will provide them clear separation from the past as well as a fresh opportunity.

“It will be their first different voice in years. They had a great run, but now it’s time for a different look,” DeBoer said.