While John Madden
did not register a point Wednesday for Chicago, the veteran center was a huge part of why the Blackhawks ended a 49-year title drought with a 4-3 overtime victory in Game 6 at the Wachovia Center.
Signed as an unrestricted free agent in July to provide leadership and defensive integrity to a young, offensive-minded team, Madden delivered in spades in the most important game of the season.
He was a key part of Chicago's penalty kill and played a little more than 10 minutes of even-strength hockey in Game 6 Wednesday. But his biggest contribution may have come after Philadelphia's Scott Hartnell
tied the score at 3-3 with a fluke goal with 3:59 left in regulation.
Madden settled the team down in the intermission, refusing to let them dwell on the stunning turn of events they had just witnessed. Then, a little more than four minutes into overtime, Patrick Kane
scored the game-winning goal. It gave Madden the third Stanley Cup title of his career.
Afterward, as the Blackhawks celebrated on the Wachovia Center ice with the Stanley Cup, Madden talked with reporters about what had just transpired and what it meant to him.
Q: Can you just talk about what you are feeling?
It's just unbelievable. I have to thank (former Chicago GM) Dale Tallon
for calling me on July 1 with this in mind and I hope this is not the last one. I'm so happy for the organization, for Rocky Wirtz and John McDonough
Q: It's really been a storybook season for you and everyone else, hasn't it?
Absolutely. We didn't know who our starting goalie was and (Niemi) came up big. All the young guys had incredible years. Half the team went off to the Olympics and won some gold medals and some silvers and came back. It's just been an unbelievable year.
Q: How long before the beard comes off?
I know the wife wants it off immediately; but I am going to keep it for as long as I can.
Q: You have won Stanley Cups before, but is this one different because you were brought in to be one of the main guys?
I'd be lying if I said it wasn't. When you get a phone call on July 1 with one goal in mind and sign a one-year deal. This was a goal. This was it. It just feels great to come in and accomplish what we set out to do.
Q: Can you talk about the way you guys ended up winning the game?
It's amazing. After they tied it up in the third, I went in and said, 'Well this is more our style, anyways.' We went into OT and the way the guys carried themselves with a swagger. They are all a great bunch of hockey players and a good bunch of guys.
Q: This is the first one you have won with your kids being around. Does that make it more special?
Oh yeah. We're going to have a good time with it. I always tell them everything is about hard work and now they see what can happen. Now they understand what is going on.
Q: Can you talk about what it means to win for the city of Chicago and Blackhawks fans?
It's unbelievable to end a drought like that in the style and the way we did it with the team that we had. The fans are incredible. I have never experienced anything like that in all my years of playing hockey and they are just awesome fans. Hopefully we can share some moments with them when we get back.
Q: What about Johnny Toews, he walks off with the MVP trophy?
I'd really like to check Johnny's birth certificate because he is a man among boys out here. He plays so hard and competes so hard in everything he does. I always joke at home if my son turns out half as good as John then we have done a good job. That's how I think of him.
Q: Everyone wants to talk about Philadelphia's resiliency, but you were a pretty resilient bunch, too?
Every team has different characteristics of what they do. Philly was an unbelievable competitor that came back from a lot of stuff. Maybe all the series that went so late on them and the way they had to come back kind of weighed on them. But my hat goes off to them because they never quit at all. Our team just kept coming. We have a deep team.
Q: Marian Hossa finally wins after three tries. Can you imagine what he is going through?
No. I know in '01 or whenever it was when we lost in Colorado, we were one game from a back-to-back championship and it took a couple years to get back and win another one and that was hard. To go all that way and lose, it's very heartbreaking. It's a long summer. To go to three Stanley Cup Finals and win on your third one, it's something to be said and I don't think it'll ever be done again. He deserves it. He never laid down and died. Even when that puck went off his leg and in the net for the (Flyers') third goal, he kept coming and never quit. There was never a 'Why me?' or anything like that. I'm telling you, he has without a doubt a huge heart and soul.