Upon reflection, we’re still pretty pumped about the Chicago Blackhawks making their way into the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1992.
Not only did they do it for the first time in a good while, they did it in impressive fashion with a sweep of the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference finals. And in Game 4 on Sunday the Blackhawks came back from a two-goal deficit to win 4-2.
Want more? OK, we’ll indulge. How about Duncan Keith playing after spitting out more teeth than some less-than-hygienic people even have?
Keith is already considered one of the top defensemen in the NHL and the world (he and Chicago teammate Brent Seabrook formed one of Canada’s top defensive pairs in the Olympics). He’s a finalist for the Norris Trophy, given annually to the leagues top defenseman and recently dominated by Red Wings stud Nicklas Lidstrom.
For the most part, Keith doesn’t have a reputation for being a tough guy. He’s one of those puck-moving, blistering shot kind of guys. He can engage offense from the back and skate all day.
He can also play after almost swallowing his own teeth.
Not a big deal for a hockey player, right? But how about taking a puck to the mouth and losing seven teeth in the second period of Game 4 only to return and assist on the game-tying goal?
That’s something. I guess it’s called being a hockey player.
Teammate Patrick Sharp put it like this:
That’s playoff hockey (written) all over it. A guy takes one in the face, picking out his teeth in the locker room (and) comes back. He assisted on the Bolland goal there, created the whole goal there by taking a big hit. He’s walking around, skating around the ice, talking to us before the power play, mumbling what we were supposed to do. I don’t think anybody understood what he was talking about.”
Sharp’s right. That’s playoff hockey. If anyone still thinks the Blackhawks are a finesse team, well, think again. That’s the kind of toughness that gets a team to the Stanley Cup Finals.