CHICAGO – Six years and a week ago, his quick move to the net and sneaky shot ended a 49-year Chicago hockey drought.
Patrick Kane might have been a little naive at what he’d exactly done when he snuck a puck under Michael Leighton in overtime at the Wells Fargo Center on June 9, 2010.
After all, he was just 21 years old when he scored the Stanley Cup winning goal in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Flyers. The golden goal delivered Chicago its first Stanley Cup since the 1961 season and cemented Kane as the man who ended five decades of frustration for Blackhawks fans.
Over a half-decade later, Kane is once again in a position to end the franchise’s long wait for another major NHL honor. Unlike that night in 2010 in Philadelphia, nothing Kane does in Las Vegas on Wednesday will end this drought. His work is already done.
Eighty-four games in the regular season is the body of work that’s made him a finalist for the Hart Memorial Trophy-the NHL’s MVP award. It’s been a long time since a Blackhawks player came home with the honor.
48 years, in fact.
Stan Mikita captured his second consecutive Hart Trophy at the end of the 1967-1968 season with 40 goals and 47 assists in helping the Blackhawks to the NHL Stanley Cup semifinals.
He also won the award the year before with teammate Bobby Hull winning the Hart Trophy in the two preceding seasons. Since then, it’s been nearly a half century since a Blackhawks player was recognized as the best in the NHL.
Judging by team history, Kane has a pretty good shot to get the award for one reason: Points.
In easily the best year of his career Kane scored 46 goals with 60 assists and those 106 points were top in the NHL, earning the forward his first Art Ross Trophy.
In his two Hart trophy seasons Mikita was also the NHL’s leading scorer while Hull won the MVP in 1965-1966 after doing the same.
Five of the last ten winners of the Hart Trophy were also Art Ross Trophy recipients.
The ability to churn up points is a theme of this year’s finalists for the award along with Kane. Dallas Stars forward Jaime Benn finished second in the league in scoring with 89 points while Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was just behind him with 85 points.
It was the latter of the three that came home with the Stanley Cup. Kane couldn’t keep a streak going for his Blackhawks this year, but he could help the franchise bring home some much desired hardware this June after all.