Ever since 1985, the NHL has awarded the team with the league’s best regular-season record with the President’s Trophy each season. In its first two years, the President’s Trophy was awarded to the Edmonton Oilers, who won the 1985 Stanley Cup with a record of 56-17-7. This was also the year where hockey legend Wayne Gretzky tallied 215 points. 17 teams have taken home the league’s best record since 1985, as multi-time winners include the Detroit Red Wings, Calgary Flames, Boston Bruins, and Vancouver Canucks. The Chicago Blackhawks are also in that mix with a pair of President’s Trophies.
Let’s take a look back at the two seasons in which the President’s Trophy wound up in the Windy City.
The first season the Blackhawks accomplished this was in the 1990-91 campaign where they finished with a record of 49-23-8. Coached by Mike Keenan and captained by Dirk Graham, the team fell to the Minnesota North Stars, who were 27-39-14, in the division semifinals. Mike Modano’s North Stars eventually fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final in six games.
That year, the Blackhawks featured a pair of 40-goal scorers, Steve Larmer and a 21-year-old Jeremy Roenick. Today, that roster features five Hall of Famers — Dominik Hasek, Ed Belfour, Doug Wilson, Michel Goulet, and Chris Chelios. Accompanying that group was also NBC Sports Chicago’s Steve Konroyd.
Every fan who was around for this season remembers 2013 as one of the greatest years of Chicago hockey. A lockout forced a 48-game schedule, but what ensued during that truncated campaign was remarkable. The Blackhawks went 24 games without a regulation loss, compiling a 21-0-3 record during that stint, one of the greatest starts to a season in sports history. They would finish with a 36-7-5 mark.
Netminder Ray Emery was also the first goalie to begin a season with ten consecutive wins. He extended that streak to 12 a few games later. The pairing of Emery and Corey Crawford captured the Jenning’s Trophy after the team allowed just 102 goals.
Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews lead the team with 23 goals each and were complemented by Hall of Fame forward Marian Hossa’s 17 tallies. Head coach Joel Quenneville had the perfect blend of veteran leadership and young talent to maneuver through the adverse schedule. A critique of that year was that teams never played the other conference due to the lockout. So, when the Blackhawks met the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup, it was the first Eastern Conference action they saw all season. It was in that Cup Final that Duncan Keith played a shift without a skate blade and the infamous two goals in 17 seconds ultimately brought the Stanley Cup back to Chicago.
A pair of President’s Trophy wins and six Stanley Cups sit on the Blackhawks’ mantle of accomplishments. The question now becomes, when will they return to early 2010s form and become the wrecking ball that was?