Blackhawks' 'Big Five' already Hall of Fame worthy
Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, left, celebrates with fellow superstar Patrick Kane after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in game six of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. (Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports)
CHICAGO - When it comes to the Hockey Hall of Fame, the 2002 Detroit Red Wings might one day get their own wing - no pun intended.
Hall of Fame inductees Igor Larionov, Brett Hull, Luc Robitaille, captain Steve Yzerman, coach Scotty Bowman, Dominik Hasek, Brendan Shanahan and Chris Chelios were members of that illustrious Stanley Cup-winning team, while Nicklas Lidstrom should get his own personal call to the Hall in the next two weeks. Sergei Fedorov and Pavel Datsyuk one day might also find themselves in that illustrious Hall group, while general manager Kenny Holland belongs there as well.
The 2015 champion Chicago Blackhawks won’t have that many when all is said and done. The league is no longer conducive to that, thanks to the implementation of the salary cap in 2005.
Of course, under that system, there are not supposed to be dynasties either. And after three Cups in six seasons, these Hawks certainly are one of those.
Having said that, the Blackhawks do have their own impressive group that one day could - and likely should - find themselves as viable candidates.
Just call them The Blackhawks Big Five.
Joel Quenneville, the man who is third on the all-time regular-season coaching wins list and the owner of three Stanley Cup rings as head coach.
Duncan Keith, the Canadian defenceman whose trophy case continues to balloon, thanks to three Cups, the 2015 Conn Smythe as playoff MVP, two Norris Trophies as the NHL’s top defenceman, and two Olympic gold medals.
Patrick Kane, who has been a key cog in the Hawks Cup runs, scoring the title-winning goal against Philly in 2010, then setting up Keith for exact same thing in Chicago’s 2-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday.
Jonathan Toews, the valiant captain of this dynasty who himself has hoisted the Cup three times and has two Olympic gold medals as well.
And Marian Hossa, three-time Cup champion and supremely skilled two-way player who has 1,056 career points and is just 14 goals shy of 500.
With these five, along with defenceman Brent Seabrook, making up the heart-and-soul core of this team, how can anyone be surprised at the renewed success these Hawks continue to have?
With every delicious sip they take out of the Stanley Cup, owner Rockey Wirtz and GM Stan Bowman are thankful for having these five in their organization. Both also think the members of this impressive cache of coaching and playing talent will, in fact, be in the Hall one day.
“I certainly do,” Wirtz told Postmedia. “It’s very exciting that they’re all on one club. And the thing is, there’s not an ego amongst amy of them. It’s always about the team. It’s always about someone else.
“What these guys have helped to create is unbelievable. You can’t go down the street without seeing someone with Blackhawks paraphernalia on. They’re lighting up buildings in red ...
“In the old days they would say there are 16,666 fans in Chicago Stadium. That was it. Those were supposedly the only Blackhawks fans in the city.
“Not any more.”
As for Stan Bowman, he knows all about the Hall of Fame, with his dad Scotty being the all-time winningest coach in NHL history.
“You look at the accomplishments those five have had and they still have many years of hockey left in them,” Stan Bowman said. “They’re pretty special and they’re a big reason why we win these Cups.
“We’re fortunate to have them.”
Just like the Hall will be one day.