Blackhawks: Bad coaching decision derailed the 1992 Stanley Cup

Mike Keenan, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Graig Abel Collection/Getty Images)
Mike Keenan, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Graig Abel Collection/Getty Images) /
1 of 7
Mike Keenan, Chicago Blackhawks
Mike Keenan, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Graig Abel Collection/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Blackhawks had to wait 49 years between 1961 and 2010 before seeing another Stanley Cup in the city. Their wait could have been sooner if it wasn’t for a bad coaching decision.

Between the Chicago Blackhawks’ 49-year long wait to win a Stanley Cup, there were many changes that the franchise went through. This included a near title run in 1992 when they made it to the Stanley Cup.

So, what happened that made that year special and a near title run for the Blackhawks?

To start we have to look at how different the NHL looked back then. The success of the Blackhawks between 1961 and 1992 was large in quantity, yet, small in overall success.

The team did make it to the playoffs 29 times and also the Stanley Cup on four different occasions. They, unfortunately, won none of those finals. However, much of the success in those 30 seasons were directly a result of the lack of teams in the league.

In 1967 the NHL changed the six-team league to a larger twelve-team format, then to a 14 team in 1971, to 18 teams in 1974, back to 17 teams in 1979, and finally back up to 21 teams in 1980.

The Blackhawks rarely were the best team but we’re not the worst team often, which led to mediocre seasons in the playoffs. The Blackhawks themselves from 1980-to-1992 made the playoffs each year, mainly because only two teams in their division didn’t make it and eight teams made it.

Their success mainly was a lack of formidable opponents and an easy playoff format that after 1992 would change the landscape of the NHL forever. In this era of easy playoff appearances and with limited success for the Blackhawks, they managed to put together possibly their best chance to hoist the Stanley Cup trophy in the 1991-92 season.