Stanley Cup Final Begins, "F***ing Right Chicago!" and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Stanley Cup Final Begins, “F***ing Right Chicago!” and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

The Stanley Cup Final begins tonight in Tampa between the defending Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens.

Game One is set for a 7:00 p.m. CT puck drop as the underdog Canadiens return to the Cup Final for the first time since 1993 and the Lightning make their fourth appearance in the Final since becoming an NHL franchise in 1992-93.

But before all that, we have to talk about the Chicago Blackhawks and the latest developments surrounding the 2010 incidents involving former video coach Brad Aldrich and two former players.

•   This morning, the Blackhawks announced in an internal memo from team CEO Danny Wirtz that they had hired a former federal prosecutor to lead an independent review of the incidents in 2010, as well as the team’s alleged refusal to report the incidents properly.

•   The Blackhawks have been essentially silent on the issues, outside of trying to get the lawsuits against them thrown out. This is the first we’ve seen the organization trying to do anything proactive surrounding the incidents and allegations.

•   Likely, this will serve as they only thing the Blackhawks will say regarding the matters until the full legal process plays out.

•   To me, this sounds just like when college football programs levy “self-sanctions” against themselves for recruiting violations. But that simply shouldn’t be enough from the Blackhawks in this scenario. If we are talking about a decades-long cover-up of sexual abuse and harassment which began a chain of events ending with Aldrich sexual assault multiple minors along the way, then the hammer deserves to fall on any and all involved that had the chance to do the right thing, and did not.

•   The NHL has said very little on the subject as well. With NHL commissioner Gary Bettman scheduled to address the media ahead of Game One in tonight’s Stanley Cup Final, I would expect another prepared statement and likely no real answers to any questions to him about the incidents in 2010 and the Blackhawks’ handling of everything.

•   Outside of the Blackhawks hiring someone to lead an independent review, the league also needs to have someone look into the Blackhawks and their handling of everything. It should already be happening.

•   Oh, great.

•   We’ll see how this all plays out. But we are far from this being over.

•   In the meantime, the Stanley Cup Final begins tonight between the Lightning and Canadiens.

•   A couple of notes ahead of tonight’s contest, first with maybe the most interesting position battle between both goaltenders…

•   Andrei Vasilevskiy and Carey Price have been the top goaltenders in the postseason and are huge reasons why their teams have gone this far. Especially Price.

•   The Canadiens’ goaltender will be tasked with stopping one of the most potent offensive attacks in the NHL, led by Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov.

•   Good luck, Habs.

•   And good luck to those that want to get in to see Game Three in Montreal….YIKES

•   My car isn’t even worth that much.

•   For tonight, the winner of Game One could be a future indicator of who will go on to win the whole thing…

•   Then again, maybe not.

•   Either way, Montreal will have a bit of history on their side when it comes to tonight’s Game One.

•   The Stanley Cup is one of the hardest, if not THE hardest championship to win in all professional sports. But you wouldn’t know it if you asked Lightning forward Pat Maroon.

•   You might get that sentiment from Montreal veterans Eric Staal and Corey Perry though…

•   My officially official prediction for the series…for as much as I would love to see the underdog Canadiens unseat the $100M team, unfortunately I see the Lightning repeating with a 4-2 series win over Montreal.

•   On this day eight years ago, the Blackhawks celebrated the 2013 Stanley Cup Championship with a parade and rally in Grant Park. It was here that Corey Crawford had one of his greatest moments in his Blackhawks career…

•   It was a hot day, around 90 degrees if I remember correctly, and I chose to stand in the middle of a crowd of thousands with no clouds and no relief from the heat in my Blackhawks sweater. I wouldn’t have had it any other way that day.

•   That was a good day.

•   That will do it for today. Hope you all enjoy your Monday!

•   ONE LAST FINAL CALL! Send me your Blackhawks Monday Mailbag questions on Twitter using hashtag #BNHawksMailbag and I’ll see if I can get them into this afternoon’s mailbag post!

Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.