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The Stanley Cup-winning Chicago Blackhawks and their coveted prize landed in Chicago around 4 a.m. Tuesday at O'Hare International Airport. The cup was driven to Harry Caray's and greeted by lines of fans.
After a team wins the Stanley Cup championship, their names are engraved onto the Cup in celebration of their victory. The Chicago Blackhawks will obviously be the latest team to get the honor, but some fans may be wondering: How does the NHL determine whose name is included on the chalice?
In a normal season, a player is eligible for inclusion on the Cup if he plays in at least 41 of his team’s regular season games (half of the season) OR if he plays in at least one Stanley Cup Final game.
If the NHL adheres to the same half the season/Cup Final appearance formula, there are two notable Blackhawks who will be left off of the Cup: Daniel Carcillo and Jamal Mayers.
Carcillo played 23 games during the regular season, one shy of the half-season threshold, and only played in four playoff games, none of those coming in the Cup Final. Meanwhile, Mayers, who was one of the first Hawks to hoist the Cup as a veteran who had never won it, only played in 19 regular season games, and did not appear at all in the Cup Final.
Meanwhile, youngster Ben Smith, who played in a grand total of ONE regular season game, will appear on the Cup. He played in Game 3 of the Final in place of the injured Marian Hossa, so his name will appear on the trophy along with the other key Blackhawks contributors.
The Hawks do have a recourse in this situation, however. They are capped as to how many names they can include on the Cup (53), but with only 21 players qualifying for the distinction, they should have enough room to petition the league to include both Mayers and Carcillo on the trophy.
Both players, in their own ways, did enough for the team this season to deserve inclusion. Mayers obviously didn’t put up a whole lot in terms of statistics, but he did work with the team’s centers, including Jonathan Toews, on their face-off skills during the season, and also filled in during practices in the playoffs when Hossa and Michal Handzus were sitting out sessions.
Also, Carcillo gave the Hawks a bit of grit in their series with the Minnesota Wild in the first round, and their battle with the Detroit Red Wings in the second round. He also didn’t do much on the stat sheet (although he did grab a prominent spot on a Sports Illustrated cover during the season), but his contributions were important to the Hawks.