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Bruins are a ‘hot team,’ but Blackhawks have been there, McDonough says
Chicago Blackhawks President John McDonough acknowledged Monday that the Boston Bruins are a “hot team,” but said the Hawks have “been there before” and are led by a super-star who has re-gained his confidence.
Patrick Kane led the Hawks back to the Stanley Cup Finals with a hat-trick in Saturday night’s pulsating, double-overtime victory at the United Center that sent the defending champion Los Angeles Kings home for the summer.
Just a few days earlier, Kane was huddling with his father and studying videotape of his past play-off performances in an attempt to end his post-season scoring drought.
On Monday, McDonough praised Kane for putting the Hawks on his back and carrying them back to the finals for the second time in three years. A tap-in goal during Game Four in Los Angeles helped Kane regain his confidence, McDonough said.
“That very well could have been the impetus for his performance the other night. Those are the kinds of things you need [when you’re struggling to score]. You need to have one go in off somebody’s back or go off the post or whatever—have it go your way and you get a lot of confidence from something like that,” McDonough said Monday after groundbreaking ceremonies for a new Bulls practice facility.
“Maybe sometimes it’s [lost] confidence. But, having that hat-trick in the last game—that’s who Patrick Kane is. He’s a prolific scorer. To see that he scored that goal on an assist from Jonathon Toews [after] a beautiful pass—great conclusion to an epic series.”
A master of marketing, McDonough reveled in the match-up between two of the National Hockey League’s Original Six franchises and the opportunity that presents to peddle Hawks merchandise and market hockey to a whole new audience of fans.
“It’s great for our fan base. The television ratings have been through the roof. Interest in the Chicago Black Hawks has never been higher,” McDonough said.
“But, we need to continue to make some progress. Our sample size is a little bit smaller maybe than some of the other teams. At the youth level, it’s really important to grow the game. It’s a very young demographic that we have right now. Our fans feel they’re part of something special.”