TAMPA -- Joel Quenneville sat at the podium for his 2015 Stanley Cup Final Media Day press conference adorned in his typical Chicago Blackhawks track suit.
The initials embroidered on his jacket were a reminder that this season has been anything but typical for the Blackhawks.
Quenneville's jacket says "CR" to honor Clint Reif, an assistant equipment manager who died in December. Many of the Blackhawks were stunned again in February when former teammate Steve Montador, who played for Chicago in 2011-12, died.
"It's tough," defenseman Brent Seabrook said. "As tough as the season is, going through situations and things like that, it's tough. We miss them and yeah … I don't really know what to say other than that. It's just tough."
Reif worked for the Blackhawks for nine years, including six as an assistant team manager.
"You're with these guys every day. Every day," Seabrook said. "You're on the road with them. Whatever you need, they're family, they're there to take care of you. And part of our family is not around anymore, it's pretty tough. It's a tough pill to swallow. Nobody loved this time of year more than [Reif] did."
Blackhawks forward Daniel Carcillo considered Montador his best friend in hockey. After Montador's death, Carcillo produced an emotional video for The Players' Tribune.
"It's very tragic, the events that occurred with Clint and Steve," forward Patrick Kane said. "We felt like they were a big part of our lives and our hockey team. It's unfortunate, but at the same time you kind of have something to play for. Maybe if we do something special, you can dedicate it to someone and realize how important they were when we did good things with our team. It is unfortunate for sure, but everything in life happens for a reason, whether it is good or bad. You try to move on and take the positives from a negative situation.
"We realize how great of guys those two were, and even though they are gone, I still think they mean a lot to us today."