Blackhawks

How Blackhawks 2013 Stanley Cup champ Brandon Bollig barely made on-ice celebration

How Blackhawks 2013 Stanley Cup champ Brandon Bollig barely made on-ice celebration

NBC Sports Chicago Blackhawks Insider Charlie Roumeliotis caught up with 2013 Stanley Cup champ Brandon Bollig on the latest Blackhawks Talk podcast. Among the topics discussed were what it's like for a healthy scratch to get dressed and meet their team on the ice when they're about to win the Cup.

Bollig and co. didn't have much more than 17 seconds to get out and join their teammates on the ice in Boston after 2013's Game 6 of the Final that saw the Hawks hoist Lord Stanley's trophy. The forward was a healthy scratch in Game 6, but had played earlier during the series against the Bruins. 

NBC Sports Chicago Blackhawks Insider Charlie Roumeliotis caught up with 2013 Stanley Cup champ Brandon Bollig on the latest Blackhawks Talk podcast. Among the topics discussed were what it's like for a healthy scratch to get dressed and meet their team on the ice when they're about to win the Cup.

Bollig and co. didn't have much more than 17 seconds to get out and join their teammates on the ice in Boston after 2013's Game 6 of the Final that saw the Hawks hoist Lord Stanley's trophy. The forward was a healthy scratch in Game 6, but had played earlier during the series against the Bruins. 

"We go in, we're leading the series 3-2, we're in Boston, luckily the Hawks are gracious enough to fly all of our families there, so that makes it even more special," Bollig said. "Us guys that didn't play that game: it was me, Dan Carcillo, Jamal Mayers, Ben Smith, I think even Ryan Stanton was one of our guys in there, there were a couple other guys in the room with us, probably five or six of us. 

"We had worked out with the strength coach, probably during the first period. Rode the bike, the standard stuff when you're scratched, and then we're sitting there watching, of course eyes glued to the TV in the training room and everyone is kind of sitting on the training table, some of us on a swiss ball, just chilling, hoping that our boys pull through. 

"We were sitting there the whole time [during] the third period, I think they were up by a goal and we're all sitting there waiting. Of course [we're] super nervous, of course in there cheering on the fellas like, 'Come on guys, pull this off, let's do this.' We were not even thinking about, 'Where's our equipment? When are we going to have to get this stuff on?' That was not a thought that crossed our mind.

"So we're sitting there watching and lo and behold, Bicks scores a goal and Bicks ties it up, he's going berserk. Tazer passed it to him, Toews is going berserk. All the guys are going crazy, the bench is going absolutely insane, we probably cheered louder and harder than any of the fellas on the ice, we were just going berserk in the training room. 

"So we're going nuts, I think it's minutes that we were standing up there hugging like we were the ones that scored, we're in there so so pumped that we tied it, 'OT! OT! Win the Stanley Cup in overtime, how much cooler does it get?' So we're still celebrating, I don't think we had even sat back down yet and then Bolland scores and we're like, 'What is going on!' 

"Our heads are about to explode, we are just overcome with excitement. We huddle up again, we're super pumped, we're cheering with each other, high-fiving, all that and then quickly realize, 'Oh my god, we got to go get our gear on.' There's like 1:20 left or whatever it was and that was when the chaos ensues. 

"In Boston the setup is the locker room is just across this tiny little hall from the training room ... So we're in the training room, we're waiting, we're celebrating. Once we realize we got to go get our gear, we look across the hall, the equipment guys are digging [out] our bags and our jerseys and chucking it across the room at any open stall like, 'Get dressed! Get dressed!' Of course they're super excited, of course they want to go enjoy whatever is going on instead of worrying about us getting dressed. 

"We're getting dressed as fast as we can. That is no question the fastest I've ever gotten my gear on in my life. I'll never forget Jammer was sitting right next to me and he's like, 'I'm gonna cry, I'm gonna cry, we're about to win the Cup.' I'm like, 'Dude don't say that, I'm literally about to.' 

"We keep looking up because there's a little clock in the room that tells you how much time is left in the game. So we're looking up there, it's dwindling, dwindling, going so quick. Finally, I think with less than 12 seconds, probably seven seconds left, get the last of my gear on. I don't even have my jersey on, I'm running down the hallway and there's probably a good 10-15 yard hallway to get from the locker rom to the ice.

"It is jam-packed with all our staff, and media that traveled with us, our doctors, all that stuff. Literally everyone that comes with the team was crammed into this hallway because the boys were about to win the Cup and they were all ready to jump on, but they obviously didn't realize the scratches were behind [them]. So I'm honestly swimming through all these people like palming them out of the way, like, 'Get out of my way. I got to get onto this ice,' as I'm slipping each of my arms into my jersey, putting my head through the hole. 

"My jersey is on literally as the buzzer hits zero, all of us hit the ice and jumped on the ice with the rest of the guys. It was just of course the coolest feeling, the most surreal feeling you could ever imagine. It's something you imagined doing it every day pretty much from the first time you started played hockey. ...

"You don't even know what to do with yourself, you don't even know what to do with your feelings or emotions. 'What's going on? We just won the Stanley Cup.' So we are going absolutely insane and then once it kind of calms down for a second, then they start to wheel the Cup out and then it's just all these emotions rolled into one and you just realize your entire journey that got you there. All the youth hockey, all the tournaments, all the traveling, all the family stuff that you missed, it all kind of flashes before your eyes. 

"And then for me, when it came time to hoist the Cup, I was insanely nervous, I was like, 'I cannot drop this thing.' I'm wiping my hands on my jersey, on my pants and just making sure I'm not going to drop this thing and now I have the tightest grip I've ever had on anything when I hoisted that. ...

"I was just so lucky to be able to do that."

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NHL Phase 2 target time and guidelines firming up for Return to Play

NHL Phase 2 target time and guidelines firming up for Return to Play

On Monday morning, The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun reported that the NHL and NHLPA sent out a protocol for Phase 2, which includes team practice facilities opening up and small group workouts beginning, that was sent to players and teams late Sunday night.

The memo stated the NHL is planning on transitioning to Phase 2 in early June but the league isn't sure specifically when and how long the camps may last according to LeBrun.

The document also stressed player participation in Phase 2 is voluntary as teams can't require players to travel back to the home ice cities. 

Per LeBrun, the agreement also states no more than six players are permitted to be at a practice facility at one time and no coaches or other team personnel are allowed on the ice. 

Players will be required to wear face coverings while entering and leaving facilities and inside facilities during times when "social distancing cannot be maintained.''

For testing during Phase 2, LeBrun tweeted the following excerpt from the memo:

"As an over-riding principle, testing of asymptomatic Players and Club personnel must be done in the context of excess testing capacity, so as to not deprive health care workers, vulnerable populations and symptomatic individuals from necessary diagnostic tests.''

The NHL released the protocol to the public at 10 a.m. central on Monday.

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Blackhawks 2019-20 season in review: Corey Crawford

Blackhawks 2019-20 season in review: Corey Crawford

The NHL put its 2019-20 season on pause March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but remains hopeful to award the Stanley Cup at some point. Although it's unclear if or when it could return, NBC Sports Chicago will recap the season of each Blackhawks player to date in our "season in review" series. Next up is Corey Crawford.

One of the most intriguing storylines going into Blackhawks training camp this season was how the goaltending tandem would work between Corey Crawford and Robin Lehner, both of whom were going to be pending unrestricted free agents at the end of the season.

You have a two-time Stanley Cup champion on one end and a reigning Vezina Trophy finalist on another and each of them deserved their fair share of starts. It's a good problem to have if you're a coach, but the other part of the challenge is trying to keep both netminders happy.

"They both want to play 60 games, 80 games maybe,” head coach Jeremy Colliton said in November. “That's part of the team. [Patrick Kane] wants to play 60 minutes. It's how it is. Ultimately, we want to make decisions that help the team win and part of that is keeping both guys fresh, keeping both guys playing at a high level and I think that's going to be a benefit for us as the season goes on."

For most of the season, it worked.

Going into the NHL All-Star break, the Blackhawks had the sixth-best team save percentage at .913; Lehner led the way at .922 and Crawford was at .910. But coming out of the break, Crawford was lights out and Lehner was dealt to the Vegas Golden Knights at the Feb. 24 trade deadline.

From Jan. 27 and on, Crawford went 7-7-1 with a 2.46 goals-against average, .927 save percentage, 7.60 goals saved above average and 9.76 high-danger goals saved above average, which ranked No. 1 among all goaltenders over that span, according to Natural Stat Trick. He clearly got into a rhythm the more starts he got and kept the Blackhawks in the playoff race down the stretch.

"He’s been excellent, coming up with big saves when we needed them," Colliton said of Crawford at the beginning of March. "He’s been excellent for a while now. I’d have to really work to go back to find one where we didn’t like his play. It’s a big boost for our group."

With the NHL Players' Association signing off over the weekend on the NHL's proposed 24-team return-to-play format, the Blackhawks will have an opportunity to compete for a playoff spot when hockey returns. And if Crawford can get back to the level he was at before the NHL pause, don't count out the Blackhawks to make some noise because a hot goaltender could be the difference in a series.

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