No. 33: Scott Darling
In April of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Chicago Blackhawks found themselves down — and looking out — after starting goaltender Corey Crawford gave up three goals in the first period of Game 1 against the Nashville Predators.
As a result, Scott Darling was put into the game as an attempt to give a spark to a team who came out looking largely flat. Darling did that, and more, making 42 saves and winning home ice advantage.
Darling’s appearance here looked like the perfect moment. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think the home-town kid had the perfect career leading up to that moment as well.
You’d be sorely mistaken.
Darling recalls his time leading up to this in a story for the Players Tribune.
"“On July 1, 2011, I ended up in a room with tubes and wires hooked up all over my body. There was a little machine beeping that showed my vital signs. It was my first day of rehab. I had been drinking every single day for eight months. I had just been released by a team in the Southern Pro Hockey League. I had no money, no hope. My dreams were effectively over. All I wanted, at that point, was to be a normal person again.”"
Darling spent years prior working to try and earn his way into the NHL. However, those dreams never looked as if they’d become a reality.
"“I remember opening my eyes. The ceiling was blurry, and my body ached, and I thought, How the f*** did this happen?”"
Like the Blackhawks in Game 1 of those 2015 playoffs where Darling heroically came in to provide a win, Scott was down.
He was not out.
"“On, July 1, 2014, exactly three years to the day after I went to rehab, I signed with the team I’d rooted for my entire life. My hometown team. The Chicago freaking Blackhawks. I remember thinking to myself once again, How the f*** did this happen?”"
The road leading up to July 1, 2014 was a long one.