Money talks, but it doesn't have to be a motivation must.
Shortly after winning their second Stanley Cup in four seasons, the Blackhawks cleared cap space, while making room on their roster for several promising prospects. The next step was rewarding Corey Crawford, Brian Bickell and Niklas Hjalmarsson with new multi-year contracts. Financially, those players can breathe easy, but feeling comfortable is another story.
"I felt really good about staying in Chicago, but ... I don't want to get comfortable at all. I want to push myself to get better and be a strong part of this team. So, in no way will I use any sort of thought to try and make myself feel comfortable in any position," said Crawford after the Blackhawks first practice.
Crawford has reason to feel confident after his stellar Stanley Cup season. So do Conn Smythe winners Jonathon Toews and Patrick Kane. Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman says he intends to keep his dynamic duo together in Chicago "forever." Kane told reporters that he discussed the comments with Toews, but they won't be on his mind this season.
"When you hear that stuff it obviously makes you feel good, and at the same time you don't want to read much into it because you don't want to be satisfied. You want to get better as a player. You want to keep achieving things," said Kane.
Winning brings reward. The Blackhawks can continue the trend starting Oct.1.