An oral history of' “17 Seconds” from behind the scenes


An oral history of' “17 Seconds” from behind the scenes

June 24, 2013 – “17 Seconds” has become synonymous with this night in Chicago Blackhawks history. An improbable comeback late in Game 6 against the Boston Bruins earned the Blackhawks their second Stanley Cup in four seasons. Everyone remembers where they were at the moment, and everyone remembers how they celebrated. Here’s how it went down through the eyes of the people covering the game for (then) Comcast SportsNet.

David Kaplan (reporter): I traveled to Boston for Game 6 and covered the celebration as one of our on-ice reporters. I distinctly remember sitting in the press box at T.D. Garden Arena with Pat Boyle watching the game when we were told that the elevators were running very slow and that we should head downstairs before the start of the third period in case the Blackhawks won and we had to cover the celebration.

Pat Boyle (pre/postgame host): For the 3rd period of Game 6 in Boston, we moved to ice level where broadcast row was set up in the bowels of TD Garden.  

There were only a couple of TV monitors we could watch the game on.  So you had 40-50 media members staring up at a small flat-screen when Milan Lucic put the Bruins up 2-1 with 7 minutes to go in regulation.  A couple minutes later, the case carrying the Stanley Cup was wheeled by us…

Kaplan: The Stanley Cup was literally 10 feet away from us, ready to be brought onto the ice if the Blackhawks won the game. After Milan Lucic scored late in the third period to give Boston the lead, someone from the NHL came running down to the man guarding the Stanley Cup and said, "Pack that thing up and get it to the airport to get it to Chicago!"

Jeff Nelson (producer): I was producing the postgame show back in the Chicago newsroom for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final in Boston. With the Blackhawks down 2-1 with just under two minutes left, I sat in the control room getting ready to do a show that I thought would focus on how the Hawks could bounce back and win Game 7 at the United Center.

John Schippman (field producer): Members of the media were crowded around a few TVs spread out throughout the media holding area. I was standing next to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. We (the media) were lined up underneath the stands, on ice level, preparing to go onto the ice if the Blackhawks mounted a comeback and won the Stanley Cup that night.

With 1:29 left in the game and the Blackhawks trailing 2-1, Chicago pulls Corey Crawford out of the net for the extra attacker. The Hawks proceeded to flip the script entirely, as Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland scored 17 seconds apart to give them a 3-2 lead. The goals were scored 17 seconds apart in game-time, but in REAL TIME, it all happened in under 90 seconds…causing chaos and confusion everywhere.

Nelson: In my headset I heard someone say "Hawks just scored!”  I looked up, but on the broadcast they were still trailing. Then Bickell put the puck in the back of the net, and I realized the network was on a 15 second delay and I was hearing one of our photographers over the phone from inside the arena.  Everyone started cheering and I took a breath thinking we had a few minutes to relax, since there would be a long intermission before overtime got underway.

Kaplan: Not long after the Blackhawks tied the game on Bryan Bickell's goal, the same gentleman (who was with the Stanley Cup) came running back into the tunnel and yelled "Get back here and get that thing out near the ice! The game is tied!"

Schippman: I turned to my left and there was Bettman standing next to me. I was so focused on the game and the Bickell goals that I didn’t even realize he was there.

He said “Wow, things have just gotten interesting.” I said I couldn’t believe it, and I think we both planned for an exciting overtime.

Ryan McGuffey (producer): I was working that night with Sarah Lauch and while in our Avid editing suite, I began prepping for what appeared to be a certain Game 7 against Boston. As I watched the seconds tick off the clock, boom, Bryan Bickell tied the game with a goal. In the midst of celebrating loudly, and hardly paying attention, the Blackhawks were celebrating again. I was confused. I asked Sarah what happened. Then, we realized the improbable…Dave Bolland had scored. The Blackhawks led 3-2. Twice in 17 seconds. The game clock hit 0.0 and pandemonium ensued….at work. 

Nelson: A few seconds later (someone said it was 17), I was just about to take my headset off when I heard "Hawks just scored again!" No one else in the control room was hearing what I heard, so I shouted out "Everyone…watch this!" Bolland scores, bedlam ensued, and less than a minute later we were on the air covering another Stanley Cup title. 

Schippman: We all know what happened next. 17 seconds later, Dave Bolland scored the game-winning goal, and the words out of my mouth were ‘Holy #&*^+=@ sh*t!’ (True story!)

Bettman turned towards me again and said, “That’s pretty amazing.”

Boyle: Just seconds after “17 Seconds”, the beat up case carrying the Cup was wheeled by us again and was getting polished up for its presentation to the Blackhawks.

The postgame show started in the bowels of the Garden and then my co-host Steve Konroyd and I were moved inside the bowl, just above ice level.

Mike Cappozzo (photographer): We lined up to go into the locker room. Bicks ties it and I had to run down the hall to get into the “on ice” line. I quickly detached my Dejero (portable satellite receiver) and ran over there. Bolly scores. We go nuts. In my haste, I plugged the video cable back into the Dejero power outlet by accident and created a huge spark. The Dejero goes dead. I send up a prayer, fire it back up and it worked

Kaplan: I hit the ice looking for interviews for our postgame show. I spotted Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford and I immediately made a beeline for him to try to interview him live on the show. He said yes and just before Pat threw it to me, Corey leaned over to me and said that he watched SportsTalk Live during the season. I had been very harsh on Crawford and now with him standing next to me as a Stanley Cup winning goalie, he firmly reminded me of how hard I had been on him. How would he handle it when we hit the air? Would he blast me? No, Crawford was the consummate professional and he could not have been more gracious during our interview.

Schippman: The game clock hit zero, the celebration began, and we headed to the ice to gather sound for the postgame show. Covering the second Cup run was just as good as the first. We were more organized the second time around, but you always prepare for the unexpected, and that included Jonathan Toews and a few of his teammates moonwalking across the ice in their suits puffing on cigars as they waited to continue their celebration on the buses and eventually the flight back to Chicago. A great memory for me was this picture in the locker room, with a few of the hardest working people I know, and the head coach of the Stanley Cup Champions.

Cappozzo: Me, John Schippman and David Kaplan get a postgame picture with Bolland and the Cup in the hallway of the Garden. I shot a great iPhone video of Pete Hassen (Blackhawks VP of Marketing) dumping beer on Ship. It became a tradition in 2010 and he did it again in 2013.

Nelson: The next couple hours is a blur, but the one thing I clearly remember is when Pat and Steve were on camera from inside the arena, Jonathan Toews started yelling to them from center ice, and as the camera zoomed in, the captain celebrated the victory by doing the moonwalk.

Boyle: While we chronicled the Blackhawks historic, wire to wire run, my lasting memory was seeing Jonathan Toews at center ice with a handful of friends and family. The Captain had a cigar in one hand and a beverage in the other. “Captain Serious” had left the building and Toews was moonwalking on the ice.  Our cameras caught this unlikely celebration and it put a bow on another unforgettable night in Chicago sports history.

Scott Changnon (digital producer/editor): June 2013 marked my first year working as an editor at NBC Sports Chicago (then Comcast SportsNet). Just like all fans watching in Chicago, I was in our downtown studios biting my nails during the final minutes, witnessing the miraculous 17 seconds that had me still pinching myself afterwards that it actually happened. The most memorable moment was seeing Jonathan Toews moonwalk on the ice during the postgame show. I ended up editing that moment and dozens of other videos for social media and our website until the sun rose at 7 a.m. when I was relieved by our morning editor.

McGuffey: We flipped the script into celebration mode and how we’d cover it. Because we had a blueprint of how this worked from 2010, we reverted back to the things that were successful. The Blackhawks would touch down at O’Hare in the middle of the night, and the party would begin at Haray Caray’s in Rosemont…just as it had in 2010. I left the office around 2:30 a.m. to meet our crew to capture the first images of the players, and as important, the Stanley Cup. Usually when a team wins, it’s ALL about the players. Where they are. Who they’re with. Where they’re going next. But, the Stanley Cup brings its own star power and the chase was on. Around 3:30 a.m., the buses pulled in and the players rolled off. I remember interviewing a handful of players, including our own Jamal Mayers, amongst a throng of news reporters who had a tough time recognizing players without their jerseys on. I’d get a “who’s that?” after interviewing a player about the highlight of their hockey career. 

Danni Wysocki (booker/field producer): My main job the night the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup was to meet the team at the airport and follow the Cup around as they bar hopped and interview players. The camera man and I didn’t go to sleep and left straight to O’Hare after the Blackhawks won and the on-ice celebrations were over. We followed the Cup from O’Hare to Harry Caray’s then to The Scout. There were hundreds of people outside every stop, including fans, media and police. I listened to a police scanner app on my phone to see if we would be tipped off by the police to what bar the team was headed to next. When the players left the bar, we TMZ styled interviewed them. We joked that we were like the SNL cheerleaders peeking into the windows of Stanley Cup parties.  

McGuffey: Because we had no way of feeding the sound and video to our station, I grabbed the disc and got back in the car. I raced down the Kennedy Expressway, passing my house as the sun was coming up and I got it back to the station and gave it to the same person I watched the final seconds tick down with, Sarah Lauch. We edited the video and inserted it into a morning show replays as an update. Eventually, I got back in the car and made it home…at 9:30 a.m., exhausted, knowing it was ALL WORTH IT.

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Blackhawks can't match Oilers' intensity as Connor McDavid leads way in Game 2

Blackhawks can't match Oilers' intensity as Connor McDavid leads way in Game 2

Let's be honest: The Blackhawks dominated the Edmonton Oilers in Game 1. The final score was 6-4, but there was never a doubt as to which team was in the driver’s seat from start to finish.

So going into Game 2, the Blackhawks knew the Oilers would come out desperate.

"We’d be naïve," head coach Jeremy Colliton said before the game, "if we don’t think they’re going to throw everything they have at us."

And that's what the Oilers did. To be more exact: That's what Connor McDavid did.

After scoring 2:34 into Game 1, the two-time Art Ross Trophy winner scored 19 seconds into Game 2 and then again 3:46 later to give the Oilers a 2-0 lead before the Blackhawks even knew what hit them. He completed the hat trick in the second period, giving him four goals through two games so far.

It was clear from the first shift Game 2 would have a different feeling than Game 1. The Oilers, this time, were in control and they followed No. 97's lead.

"They were much better as a team than they were in Game 1, so give them credit there," Jonathan Toews said following a 6-3 loss on Monday. "And to add to the fact, I don't think we made things as hard on them as we did in the first game. So everything we did in that first game, we've got to step all that team game up a notch.

"McDavid's obviously a focus for me, and when we're not making things hard enough for them offensively, then we get ourselves in spots where we end up taking penalties, and you know what happens on the power play, a guy like McDavid's going to make you play. A couple times early in the game, we give him grade A chances and he's not making any mistakes. You know what we're going to get out of him every game, so we've got to be better on him."

You just knew McDavid wouldn’t let his team fall behind 2-0 in a series that easily, especially as the No. 5 seed in their own building. He certainly looked extra motivated to be a factor at even strength after being shut down in Game 1 — all three of his points came on the power play.

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This was a virtual must-win for the Oilers. Only one team in NHL history has overcome a 2-0 deficit in a best-of-five series: New York Islanders in 1985 after losing Games 1 and 2 in overtime to the Washington Capitals then rallying to win the next three.

"Connor led the way," Oilers forward Tyler Ennis said. "He set the tone for us and gave us a spark. That's exactly what we needed, and everybody followed."

Credit the Blackhawks for clawing back and showing the kind of resiliency that helped them win Game 1. They fell behind 2-0 and tied it up at 3-3 before McDavid's hat trick put the Oilers back in front 4-3.

The game got away from the Blackhawks in the third period, where they were out-chanced 10-1. But that what was bound to happen for a team that was playing catch-up all game.

In the end, the Blackhawks won't sugarcoat their overall performance. It was no secret the Oilers would come out hungry, and the Blackhawks simply didn't match their intensity.

"Ultimately, we didn’t play to the level we need to to beat this team," Colliton said. "We knew going into this series it would be a challenge. ... It’s a 1-1 series, I’m sure no one picked us to sweep them. They won a game, now we have to find a way to be better on Wednesday, and we will."

Former Blackhawks goalie Robin Lehner kneels with Ryan Reaves during National Anthem

Former Blackhawks goalie Robin Lehner kneels with Ryan Reaves during National Anthem

On Monday, former Blackhawks goalie Robin Lehner, currently with the Vegas Golden Knights, knelt during the National Anthem with teammate Ryan Reaves before Vegas' round-robin game against the Dallas Stars.

Stars forwards Tyler Seguin and Jason Dickinson joined Lehner and Reaves in taking a knee.

The Associated Press' Stephen Whyno reported Reaves approached Seguin during pregame warmups to inform him that the Golden Knights teammates intended to kneel during the National Anthem. Seguin told his teammates on Dallas in the locker room and Dickinson wanted to join.

"I made a mistake once, putting a Trump sticker on my mask. That is something I regret now... At the end of the day it's about human rights, not politics," Lehner told the media following the game.

The Golden Knights won the contest 5-3 with Lehner as the starting goalie.

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