Wayne Gretzky knows a thing or two about winning, something the Blackhawks have done a lot of since 2010 when they captured their first Stanley Cup in 49 years.
But winning in Gretzky's time is different in today's game.
It's more difficult, but how the Blackhawks have managed to consistently carry a competitive team in the salary cap era has Gretzky tipping his helmet.
"I think what the organization has been able to do to keep their team as competitive as they are -- to have to move players out only on the basis of salary cap issues for business purposes -- and yet be able to sustain the record and the way they play each and every night and the competitive spirit and opportunity to win another Stanley Cup, it's probably even harder to do today than what the (New York) Islanders did in the 80s or what the (Edmonton) Oilers did in the late 80s," said Gretzky on ESPN 1000 on Tuesday. "It's just difficult and they deserve all the credit in the world."
After winning the Stanley Cup in 2010, the Blackhawks were forced to trade away key players from the team that helped Chicago raise its fourth championship banner in franchise history.
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A big reason the Blackhawks' success carried over is because Stan Bowman & Co. kept their core players intact with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane topping the list.
"I think they're both great players in their own right. I think they've both been positive for the game and they're both exciting to watch, and they feed off each other," Gretzky said. "They complement each other and that's why their team's successful. Cause they're both unselfish and they want to be champions and yet individually I'm sure they push each other to be better each and every day."
Gretzky has also had his fair share of point streaks (51, 39, 30 and 28). Kane joined that list after picking up a point in 26 consecutive games earlier this season.
"Watching the streak was truly remarkable. I was extremely excited for him. I was pulling for him. I would watch to see if he was going to get another point. It really captivated not only the Chicago fans but fans of hockey throughout North America. And you know, the team had fun with it."
When Kane's streak ended, he said he was relieved so he could focus back on winning hockey games.
"It takes a toll on you mentally, but I thought he handled it extremely well," Gretzky said. "It was a tremendous positive for our game and he deserves all the accolades that he gets. He's having a phenomenal year.
"I don't think there's any question at this point in time in the season that he's probably the leading candidate to win the Hart Trophy for the MVP and it's well-deserved."