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'10 Final brings plenty to cheer about

Tuesday, 05.25.2010 / 3:19 PM / NHL Network

By Dan Pollard - NHL Network

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'10 Final brings plenty to cheer about
While the 2010 Stanley Cup Final isn't an Original Six matchup, it's probably the next best thing.
No "Original Six" match up in this year Stanley Cup Final, but we do get an "Original Six" and an "Original 12" playing for the big silver mug. We also get two of the loudest buildings and two of the best national anthems going in hockey right now.

Kate Smith was not around for the Flyers' last trip to the Final in 1997 (she passed away in 1986), but she was front and center for their last Cup win in 1975, singing "God Bless America."

The Hawks' Allen organ, a replica of the Barton Organ from the old Chicago Stadium, will rock the United Center with the "Star Spangled Banner" for Chicago's first action in the Final since 1992. The Hawks haven't sipped bubbly from Stanley since 1961.

Actually they didn't even sip bubbly the night they won. Owner Jim Norris said he didn't order any champagne because he was afraid of jinxing the boys when they went on to beat Detroit. I'm sure it had nothing to do with cost.

It was nothing but soda in the dressing room for defenseman Pierre Pilote and his teammates. Pilote notched 12 assists and shared the overall scoring lead with Gordie Howe with 15 points in '61.

In 2010 it's Duncan Keith hoping to play the part of Pilote, Jonathan Toews hoping to be a modern-day version of Stan Mikita and Patrick Kane slotted in as the modern-day scorer ala Bobby Hull.

The 1961 Hawks gained confidence by taking down the five-time defending Cup champs from Montreal in the semifinals. The 2010 version took out the Presidents' Trophy-winning San Jose Sharks. In that series Chicago made a subtle, yet crucial, transition from being simply a cocky team to a confident one.

What's the difference?

Well it's been said that "It's better to have character than to be one."

Cocky teams don't always win -- even ones with talent and depth. A cocky team plays with a sense of entitlement that can leave it short and forced to scramble when it comes time to perform. Cocky teams can dig themselves some deep holes.

A confident team, on the other hand, is quieter and rides out the tough times without panic. Mix that with talent and depth and you've got a great chance to be a winner.

A bold, cheeky brashness in Chicago has slowly been replaced by a quiet self-assurance this postseason. A cocky Hawks team lost Nashville and Vancouver to open their first two playoff series. A confident Hawks team battled back to beat San Jose in Game 1 of the third round on the way to a four-game sweep. There was a quiet resolve in the voices of the Hawks following the victory as they looked forward to the Final.

It isn't just about avoiding bulletin-board material for the opposition. It's an attitude that carries the day in the dressing room and on the bench. It's a sense that it's OK to believe in yourself but take nothing for granted and let your talent and hard work do the talking.

I'm sure owner Rocky Wirtz won't forget to order the champagne if the Hawks win in 2010.


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