Blackhawks: Tony Esposito honored with postage stamp by Canada Post


Blackhawks: Tony Esposito honored with postage stamp by Canada Post

Tony Esposito retired from the NHL in 1984, but he's still padding his resume with accolades.

The Blackhawks legend was one of six former goaltenders to be honored by the Canada Post on Thursday with postage stamps.

The other five include Montreal's Lorne "Gump" Worsley and Ken Dryden, Toronto's Johnny Bower, Philadelphia's Bernie Parent and New Jersey's Martin Brodeur.

[MORE: Artemi Panarin likely to make Blackhawks debut vs. Stars]

“These six goalies will forever remain relevant and real in a country that embraces its stars,” said Canada Post President and CEO Deepak Chopra. “They wore their hearts on their sleeves while they played, and captured ours in the process. Their on-ice brilliance left an indelible impression on a nation. They are an important part of our country’s rich history, and we are proud to immortalize these players on our stamps.”

Esposito also joins his older brother Phil, who received a stamp in 2002. Tony couldn't wait to get back home to tell him about it, but not for the reason you think.

The brotherly love bragging rights continued after Tony's Blackhawks beat Phil's Lightning - he serves as Tampa Bay's radio commentator - dating back to last year's Stanley Cup Final.

"I’ll show him when I get home,” Esposito joked, via Yahoo Sports. “Now I’m going to go back with the stamp and I’m going to Chicago from here and on Monday I get my new Stanley Cup ring, and then I’m gonna go home (to Florida). My brother works for the Tampa Bay Lightning, and I’m gonna show him (and say) we won this ring – what did you win in the Stanley Cup Final?"

[RELATED: Esposito brothers have message for Blackhawks, Lightning fans]

Tony Esposito spent 15 seasons with the Blackhawks, where he won the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year and later captured three Vezina Trophy's as the league's best goaltender in 1970, 1972 and 1974.

The Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. native currently ranks No. 1 in franchise history with 418 wins. 

Esposito was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988.

Blackhawks record 500th consecutive sellout at United Center

USA Today

Blackhawks record 500th consecutive sellout at United Center

The Blackhawks have had many ups over the last decade-plus, highlighted by three Stanley Cups. They've also had some downs recently, missing the playoffs for two seasons in a row after nine straight appearances.

But the fan support hasn't wavered.

On Monday against the Edmonton Oilers, the Blackhawks announced a crowd of 21,260, which became their 500th consecutive sellout at the United Center (436 regular season, 64 postseason). The NHL record is held by the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are at 572 games and counting. 

The Blackhawks have led the league in attendance for 11 straight seasons, which started during the 2008-09 campaign.

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Blackhawks not going to 'freak out' about 0-2-1 start

Blackhawks not going to 'freak out' about 0-2-1 start

The Blackhawks wanted to get off to a strong start this season because they know how hard it is to climb out of a hole in the Central Division. Last season was proof of that.

Well, they've picked up only one out of a possible six points through three games and are one of three teams still searching for their first victory of the season. But they're not going into panic mode just yet.

"We know there's things we have to improve upon," Jonathan Toews said. "Jeremy [Colliton] always talks about doing the right thing and over time eventually you're going to get results. I don't know if we can say we're doing things the right things that we want to and we're playing complete games right now, so even having said that, midway through the San Jose game and even against Winnipeg we were in a position to take control of the game going into the third period and we let teams back in. So I think there's a lot of ways we can play better.

"But having said that we're in those games and giving ourselves a chance to win. Obviously that's not good enough, but we're not going to freak out and say, 'we've got to start winning games.' Of course that's the goal, we wanted to get two points the other night."

The quest to pick up their first two points of the season doesn't get any easier for the Blackhawks on Monday night. The Edmonton Oilers are coming to town with a 5-0-0 record, and they're clicking on all cylinders. They have the second-best power play unit (41.2 percent), second-best penalty kill percentage (94.1), the NHL's leading point-getter in Connor McDavid (12) and leading goal scorer in James Neal (seven).

The Blackhawks know at some point they have to start stringing together some wins, but they're not living and dying by the standings right now because everything looks out of proportion. They're focused on the process and putting together a full 60-minute effort.

"It's always magnified at the start of the year," Colliton said. "Your special teams, you got [teams] with 100 percent PK, you got [teams] with 40 percent power play, and all the little things they look way bigger than they are. Would be nice for us to get a win, get some positive feelings but any three-game window among the 82, it's not going to be looked upon as closely as this one.

"So again, we've just got to focus on playing hard, playing the game the right way, do the right thing time and time again and we'll get the results." 

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