Chicago Blackhawks Are Stanley Cup Champs
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
This was the sound in the city of Chicago last night outside the United Center.
(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD CHEERING)
GREENE: Let's go Hawks, those people were chanting. Fans poured into the street celebrating hockey's Chicago Blackhawks and their second Stanley Cup Championship in four years. The Blackhawks scored two goals late in the third period. It was pretty dramatic. They took game six and the series, four games to two over the Boston Bruins. NPR's David Schaper, who is impartial on every story he covers except hockey, is with us from Chicago.
David, congratulations. Fans must be feeling pretty good in Chicago this morning.
DAVID SCHAPER, BYLINE: Yeah, it's unbelievable. Just an incredible finish last night, nerve wracking for fans of both teams. I will give Boston their props because I think the Bruins are a really tough, tough team and played extremely well. But, you know, fans were I think on their feet whether they were at the game itself or at home or at a bar the whole last five minutes of the game because the Bruins were up 2-1 and they're such a strong defensive team.
With the Blackhawks failing to even generate a shot on goal on a late power play, a lot of us Hawks fans were thinking, we're going to be going to a Game 7 Wednesday night back here in Chicago. But the Hawks kept coming and coming in those final minutes and with their goalie poled for an extra attacker just 76 seconds left, Captain Jonathan Toews makes a beautiful pass to Bryan Bickell who puts the puck in the net to tie the game.
And then just 17 seconds later - can you believe it - the Hawks come charging again and score a rebound goal tapped in by David Bolland. Just an incredible, amazing finish.
GREENE: Well, the emotion, the happy emotions Chicagoans are feeling; it must be devastating for Boston fans watching everything change in 76 seconds and the whole series go down. Let me ask. I mean, this Stanley Cup will really be remembered for injuries in many ways. There was some banged-up people on the ice last night.
SCHAPER: There were some really banged-up people. You know, hockey is such a physically demanding game, I think more so than any other of the major team sports. You saw Andrew Shaw in the game last night of the Blackhawks take a puck to the face last night, leaving a little pool of blood on the ice. It was even while he was carrying the cup around, he was - blood streaming down his face.
But the amazing guy, I think, is Boston center Patrice Bergeron. What he went through is just shocking. He is a critical player for the Bruins. He leaves Saturday night's game in Chicago, taken to the hospital in an ambulance for what we now know is a broken rib and torn cartilage and muscle. Then he comes back just two days later and plays last night. It's astounding.
GREENE: On the ice last night, after all that. That's amazing.
SCHAPER: Yeah, just astounding what they go through.
GREENE: Well, you know, if we remove the name Michael Jordan, Chicago is not known for piling up championships. I mean, this two NHL championships in four seasons must feel pretty sweet.
SCHAPER: It really does. It's incredible, the way this city has rallied around hockey. You know, we've had our little taste of championships here and there with the White Sox in 2005, the Bulls had their six titles in the '90s, you know, the Bears in '85 and who could forget the Cubs, you know, just a mere century ago back in 1908.
GREENE: Mere century.
SCHAPER: But the city is really fired-up about the Blackhawks. And NHL was essentially dead in this town just seven or eight years ago. They'd have thousands of empty seats at every game. The ownership was alienating fans by not even showing home games on television. And the turnaround started in about 2008; it just hasn't stopped. They won the cup in 2010, bring home the cup again this year, and the outpouring is just amazing.
GREENE: Well, stitch yourself up after a long night of watching hockey. NPR's David Schaper, thanks a lot.
SCHAPER: Thank you, David.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
GREENE: It's NPR News.
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