Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011
By Tracey Myers
The 1960-61 Chicago Blackhawks, who won the Cup 50 years ago, can relate to the remaining Blackhawks who won it last season. They remember the joy of claiming the Cup and the feeling of being on top. And since most were there again in 1961-62, they remember just how hard it was to do it again.
We had our eyes on it (in 61-62). We could beat certain teams. But there was always something in the second or third period, wed hit the post or it bounced off the guys stick or went off our ass. And everybody had a good club, said Stan Mikita, one of several 61 Blackhawks who are here to be honored at Sunday nights Heritage Night. Anybody can repeat. But you need luck to go with the talent.
Several of the 61 Blackhawks, including Mikita, Bill Hay, Bobby Hull, Glenn Hall and Ab McDonald will take the ice Sunday night before the 2010-11 squad hosts the New York Islanders. The 61 team will remember how great it was to hoist that Cup. On Saturday, they recalled how tough it is to hold onto it.
When you get to the top, everyone wants to knock you off. Its always that way, no matter what, McDonald said. Everybody wants to knock off No. 1. Whether they become No. 1 or not doesnt matter. They want to beat No. 1.
Wayne Hicks said, its just that it was so tough to win in those days and still is. It takes dedication and very hard work to do it. Any player whos won knows that.
The 61-62 Blackhawks finished the regular-season 31-26-13, third in the then six-team league, but lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Stanley Cup Finals. This years team has struggled, and was eighth in the Western Conference entering Saturdays games.
As for advice for this years team in weathering the storm, Mikita had this to say.
I would say to anybody if youre going to beat a guy, beat him with your best effort, Mikita said. The same goes for defense. You have to think, that guys not getting by me. Give him your best shot. If you dont have your best shot youre in trouble. If its the other way, youve got a chance.
Whatever advice comes, captain Jonathan Toews said its worth heeding.
No matter how good you are, you never know when youre going to be back there. To even get two rounds of the playoffs is a pretty tough thing. Obviously were learning that, he said. Last year we worked hard and now you see how difficult it is to get back to where you want to be. But were not going to let that shake us, thats for sure.
Glenn Hall said Saturday hes amazed with how fast the pro game has become since his days. He was also struck by the size of the players and, of course, that goaltending equipment.
Even if it hits you, it doesnt hurt, he said. We had very little equipment. You used to beg to get new stuff. You figured you must be on the trading block because you asked for new equipment.
Hall faced his share of big shooters in his day. The biggest, however, was teammate Bobby Hull.
He had the hardest shot. Dont tell me how lucky I was that I didnt have to look at him in a game. I had to look at him 10 times a week in practice. It wasnt much fun facing Bobby.
They said it
I was president of the Calgary Flames for five years and I had to shower alone because I had the Indian head tattoed on my rear end. I didnt want to show them that. Former Blackhawks center Bill Hay
Lets see, whos the best-looking guy? Stan Mikita, on what current Blackhawk reminds him of himself.
Isnt he a super person? So humble. Hes an all-around hockey player. He does it all. Ab McDonald on Jonathan Toews
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.