TORONTO — John McDonough hugged the Stanley Cup, passed his 2013 championship ring around to fans and strolled through the Hockey Hall of Fame gift shop.
Even as the Blackhawks are going full steam ahead trying to capture another Cup, celebrations of their latest conquest continue. Such was the case when McDonough and other team executives presented the Hall of Fame with a ring for display before the Hawks’ 7-3 loss to the Maple Leafs on Saturday at the Air Canada Centre.
“Any time you get a chance to visit the Hall of Fame (on) a business trip, you know the news is good,” McDonough said.
Once the puck was dropped, the Hawks found out the hard way the news isn’t always good. They were outskated, outworked and outclassed by a Leafs team that snapped a three-game skid.
“We weren’t very good,” coach Joel Quenneville said after the Hawks had their three-game winning streak stopped cold. “They were much better than us. I think we were looking for a pond hockey game, and we got what we deserved.”
Goaltender Antti Raanta was shelled for five goals on 25 shots before being yanked in favor of Kent Simpson — who promptly allowed a goal on the first NHL shot he faced.
Joffrey Lupul led the way offensively for the Leafs with two goals and two assists. Peter Holland added two goals and an assist, Nikolai Kuleman and Jerry D’Amigo each had a goal and an assist, Phil Kessel scored and Mason Raymond had four assists to provide plenty of support for goalie Jonathan Bernier.
The only bright spots for the Hawks were Patrick Kane’s two goals and a score by Brandon Saad, but it was far too little.
“It’s disappointing because everyone was excited to play a game where we had a chance to prove ourselves again, but it didn’t go our way,” Kane said. “We’ll try to move on from that.”
Added defenseman Duncan Keith: “A lot of things went wrong. We got in penalty trouble early on, and it just kind of snowballed and everything went downhill from there. We’ll just try to forget about this one as quick as we can.”
Despite the loss, the overall picture remains rosy. Two trips to the Hall to drop off rings in four years are the spoils of championships and bring even higher expectations as the Hawks look to become the first team since the 1997-98 Red Wings to repeat.
“The expectations are internal, really, not external,” McDonough said. “We have high expectations for everybody in the organization, starting with myself.
“We have a good organization, great communication (and) great respect for each other, but the expectations are always going to be high, the pace is going to be swifter and we’re on it. It’s always a little bit comfortably uncomfortable at the United Center.”