Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Random thoughts on Chicago Blackhawks' Stanley Cup, Toews: "I'm speechless"

Posted by: Michael Russo under Stanley Cup, Wild off-season news Updated: June 9, 2010 - 11:29 PM

Well, for the first time since John F. Kennedy ran this country, the Chicago Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup. It came on an elusive shot that nobody seemed sure was in except the man who shot it -- Patrick Kane.

Similar to the way Sidney Crosby scored the overtime Olympic gold medal-clinching goal, Kane made a nice move off the wall to beat Kimmo Timonen and surprised Michael Leighton with a quick shot from a bad angle to extinguish the Philadelphia Flyers.

"Oh My God. It's like that commercial. I'm speechless," said Conn Smythe Trophy winner and Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews.

Some random thoughts:

-- The Blackhawks, like the Penguins before, prove the value of losing. Yes, painful at the time, but if you can withstand it as an organization and as fans, you're awarded with franchise-changing players like Kane and Toews. Developing from within with exceptional draft picks is the quickest way to build a championship, especially in this era.

-- The next coach of the Atlanta Thrashers should be announced in the next week. John Torchetti, Chicago's assistant coach, is leaving, I'm told. Will Torchetti become the Thrashers' head coach or would he be willing to become the Thrashers' associate coach in a tag-team if Thrashers GM Rick Dudley wants to hire Craig Ramsay? Dudley's dream, I believe, is to bring in both. But if Torchetti only wants to become a head coach and that can't happen in Atlanta, would he consider Houston? This man is a technical wizard, one of the best coaches I've ever covered, and he's tight with some members of the Wild's front office.

-- Speaking of Dudley, for the second time he's got his fingerprints all over a team and will be denied a Stanley Cup ring and his name on the Cup. He was Chicago's assistant GM under Dale Tallon and helped build the Blackhawks. The last time this happened was 2004 when he was fired by the Lightning after building 95 percent of that Stanley Cup team. I know Dudley well and he swears this doesn't bother him. As he's often told me, "I know what I've done."

-- Hopefully Tallon, now Florida's GM and Chicago's old GM, gets some satisfaction from watching Chicago win. He was fired last summer in one of the most sinister dismissals in NHL history. Tallon had as much to do with that qualifying offer snafu as you and me. But Tallon basically built that team with Dudley, and the class act deserves to feel good about what was accomplished there.

-- How cool was it to see Marian Hossa hold that Cup over his head after the last two years on the losing end?

-- Who ever would have thought that with all the great Finnish goalies in the NHL the last several years, from Kiprusoff to Backstrom, that Antti Niemi would be the first Finnish starter to win a Cup?

-- Boy, Dustin Byfuglien had a remarkable playoff. I bet they're partying up in Roseau right now and for the first time, the Stanley Cup will be heading to that small Minnesota town.

-- Impressive final two games for Chris Pronger, eh? Anybody know if he snatched up tonight's game puck? But how good was Scott Hartnell tonight?

-- So what does Chicago do now? They have serious salary-cap issues going into next year and they're cap figure will actually be lower than the rest of the NHL because they were over this year. They can put Cristobal Huet in the minors next year and eat his salary, but they still would have to trade a player or two. How can that be Patrick Sharp or Byfuglien now? GM Stan Bowman will have some tough decisions to make. The Wild would be extremely interested in Sharp and Byfuglien, especially Sharp.

-- If I were Chuck Fletcher, I'd give Flyers GM Paul Holmgren a day to brush off this disappointment and then call up and offer Josh Harding. I hear the Wild will try hard to move Harding in the coming weeks, and the one thing the Wild hopefully learned last summer is if it's going to trade Harding, it must be before free agency. The second it turns July 1, teams that need goalies will just sign them and it'll be difficult to move Harding then.

-- In a warm and fuzzy moment, apparently former Hawk Jeremy Roenick broke down on NBC talking about Chicago winning it all.

-- Funny back and forth after: Pierre Mcguire told Patrick Kane: "Be on your best behavior at the parade" Kane's response: "Not a chance. Not a chance."

-- You've got to feel for guys like Marty Havlat, who went to the conference finals last year with Chicago, and Cam Barker, who was on Chicago as of February.

-- Where'd Kim Johnsson watch tonight's game? Or, did he?

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