The Chicago Blackhawks won their third Stanley Cup in six seasons with some help from some unlikely heroes. One of those unlikely heroes was backup goalie Scott Darling. Everyone knows the Darling story. He was a draft pick of the Phoenix Coyotes and appeared to bottom out with Louisiana IceGators before making his journey to the NHL.
Darling most recently appeared in five playoffs games and went 3-1 during the Western Conference first round series against Nashville. Darling saved Game of 1 against the Predators by not allowing a goal relief. He made 42 saves in that game, and the Blackhawks went on to win the series. Without Darling, the Blackhawks do not win their third Stanley Cup.
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After joining the Blackhawks, Darling got a new red mask honoring Chicago. The mask featured a Portillo’s hot dog, the Blues Brothers, quotes from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and other Chicago landmarks.
"Darling went onto to say about the red mask: “That mask is so Chicago; I am going to have it the rest of my life and put it on the mantle when I am older, just to remind me of my days playing for the Blackhawks,” he said. “It’s going to be a great piece of memorabilia for me."
This seems to be the offseason of change for the Blackhawks’ goalies. Antti Raanta has been traded, Corey Crawford got new pads and now Darling gets a new mask. Darling’s new mask is a tribute to the the Blackhawks tribe and the franchise’s Native American history.
"New #LemontNativeScottDarling mask from DAVEART.com, and it kicks ass.Posted by Puckin Hostile on Thursday, September 10, 2015"
In addition to Darling’s mask, the Blackhawks as an organization do a good job of paying respect to the Native American culture. A Native veteran is represented on the ice at the United Center for the national anthem during the regular season and each round of the playoffs. The Native American veteran can be seen holding the Eagle Feather staff. The Eagle Feather staff of the Shawnee Tribe has been in the Chicago Cultural Center since the 1940s.
Darling also could be sporting all new goalie attire as he got new pads earlier in the offseason. Darling like Crawford will be going with black pads. Hopefully Darling’s new mask and pads will keep up the same success as his equipment did last season. In 13 games started, Darling went 9-4 with a .936 save percentage and a 1.94 goals-against average.
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