CHICAGO (CBS) On June 9, 2010 the Chicago Blackhawks won the franchise’s first Stanley Cup since 1961. Over the last year, a lot has changed for the organization, but the core players still remain poised to compete for Stanley Cups in the future.
Immediately following Patrick Kane’s overtime goal, the city of Chicago and Blackhawks fans around the world were immediately sent into pandemonium. Fans congregated in bars, basements and home theaters celebrated the end of a 49-year Cup drought.
Over the months that followed the Stanley Cup Finals, Blackhawks fans had to painfully watch as the team had to trade away, or choose not to re-sign, some of their most popular and most important players. The Atlanta Thrashers, now the new Winnipeg franchise, welcomed Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Brent Sopel and Ben Eager. Adam Burish sign a contract with the Dallas Stars. John Madden joined the Minnesota Wild.
Rookie goalie Antti Niemi and the Blackhawks were forced to part ways after the Finnish goalie was awarded more money in an arbitration hearing than the Blackhawks could afford to pay him. He joined the team the Blackhawks swept in the Western Conference Finals, the San Jose Sharks.
As the 2011 season got underway, Blackhawks fans got to better know some familiar faces, as well as some brand new ones. The team brought in veteran goalie Marty Turco to take over in net, but he was eventually unseated by rookie Corey Crawford, who proved to be invaluable to the Blackhawks in the regular season and postseason.
For perhaps the first time, fans heard the names Nick Leddy, Viktor Stalberg, Ben Smith, Michael Frolik, John Scott, Chris Campoli and Jeremy Morin. All players who could play big roles in bringing another Cup to the Madhouse on Madison in the future.
The 2011 season didn’t go the way the Blackhawks or their fans wanted. After struggling throughout the regular season, the Blackhawks backed into the playoffs and drew the rival Vancouver Canucks in the first round.
After falling behind by three games, the Blackhawks fought back to force a Game 7, which would be sent to overtime on a goal scored by Jonathan Toews.
However, that proved to be the last bit of magic the Blackhawks could muster in their defense of the Stanley Cup, they fell to the Canucks in OT.
But with players like Kane, Toews, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa, there’s a chance that another season like 2010 isn’t too far off.