No organization has won more Stanley Cups in the salary cap era than the Blackhawks, who captured their third title in the past six seasons last June.
That doesn't happen by accident.
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While only seven players have been a part of all three championships — Niklas Hjalmarsson, Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews — those are the guys that have set the tone every year. It's a trickle-down effect from the owner to the front office to the coaches and players.
“The core is the group that drives the bus here,” Sharks coach Pete DeBoer said ahead of the team's matchup against the Blackhawks on Tuesday night, via Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area. “As long as those guys are there you’ve got interchangeable parts around those guys, but those guys are the identity of the team.”
The absence of Sharp, Brandon Saad and Johnny Oduya were certainly felt towards the beginning of the season, but Artem Anisimov and Artemi Panarin have helped ease those losses and then some. Same with the emergence of Erik Gustafsson on defense and the solid job Phillip Danault has done filling in for an injured Marcus Kruger.
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The team's success rubs off on everyone and it's the main reason why, despite a handful of roster changes in the offseason, the Blackhawks are an annual Stanley Cup contender.
“New faces, but same style, same skill, same elite team every year,” Sharks forward Tommy Wingels said. “That’s a testament to them. It’s always a challenge playing them.”
The Blackhawks square off with the Sharks at the United Center tonight at 7:30 p.m. Catch the action on Comcast SportsNet. Click here for pregame updates.