The following is an excerpt from "One Goal in 2010: Not a One-Timer," a feature from Team Historian Bob Verdi at the center of the 2019-20 Blackhawks Yearbook, which will be given to the first 15,000 fans at Friday's game against Colorado. Secure your copy with a ticket to the Black Friday matinee here.
Patrick Sharp enjoyed a perfect view of a goal that was heard, if not immediately seen, around the hockey world. In Game 6 of the Final at Philadelphia, Patrick Kane scored 4:06 into overtime and the Blackhawks earned their first Stanley Cup in 49 years.
The date was June 9, 2010, and a decade later, they still talk about it.
"Yeah, Sharpy keeps reminding me," Kane mused. "He was open."
Well before that moment frozen in time, Sharp had a vision, optimistic but not nearly as defined, of what might be. He came to Chicago in 2005 from the Flyers, via a trade that the Blackhawks won big, even as they were losing a lot. Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, rookies on defense, looked like the real deal. They could do it all, and that included fanning out in the city to dispense free tickets for games at the United Center, where plenty of seats were available.
"Then along came the kids, Jonathan Toews, and Kaner a year later," Sharp recalled. "Then Niklas Hjalmarsson, up from the minors, a shutdown defenseman, and then we sign Brian Campbell, the best free agent defenseman available in the summer of 2008. He could have gone elsewhere. When did I know? When did I think I knew? Probably not until 2009, later that same season. That's when it sunk in.
"We got our first taste of playoff hockey. We had two series, against Calgary and Vancouver, that were as competitive as any I can remember. We won them both, and I kind of looked around. 'We're legit. We're as good as anybody.' You can never realistically forecast what was going to happen. But you could feel something building. We had a group that wasn't just happy to be there in the playoffs. We wanted to be great."
In the spring of 2010, after finishing atop the Central Division, the Blackhawks opened the playoffs against the gritty Nashville Predators. Tied at 2-2 in the series but down 4-3 in Game 5, Kane scored a shorthanded goal with 13.6 seconds remaining in regulation while Hossa, who accrued only nine minors all season, was serving a major for boarding. When paroled after "the longest five minutes of my life," Hossa bagged the winner in overtime. Two nights after that touchstone moment, the Predators were dismissed.
The Blackhawks then whipped the Canucks, also in six games, and swept the slightly favored San Jose Sharks, who had home ice advantage. The Flyers had to feel they were entering the Final on house money. They snagged a playoff berth, via a shootout, on the last day of the regular season. Then, after upsetting the New Jersey Devils, the Flyers lost the first three games of the next round, won the next three, then fell behind the Boston Bruins, 3-0, in Game 7 before rallying to win in historic fashion, 4-3. In the Eastern Conference Final, the Flyers spilled the Montreal Canadiens.
The Blackhawks beat the Flyers twice at home, lost twice in Philadelphia, then took a 3-2 series lead with a 7-4 conquest in Game 5 at the United Center. Late in Game 6, the Flyers forged a 3-3 tie. Soon it was Showtime, starring Kane, in prime time.
"I got the puck inside the blue line," recounted Campbell. "The puck was spinning. I could have shot it, I guess, but I passed it to Kaner, along the half wall, on the left side."
Secure your copy of the 2019-20 Blackhawks Yearbook with a ticket to the Black Friday matinee against Colorado here.