CHICAGO -- With the Central Division and the top seed in the Western Conference already secured, the only remaining regular-season achievement for the Chicago Blackhawks to attain is winning the Presidents’ Trophy, which is awarded to the team with the most points.
While the Blackhawks wouldn’t decline the trophy if they finish first, it’s not something they’re focusing on as they close out the regular season and prepare for the playoffs.
Heading into their game Saturday, the Blackhawks lead the NHL with 72 points through 43 games. The Penguins, who won on Saturday afternoon, are just behind them with 68 points through 44 games.
“It’s a cool thing that people talk about, but they won’t talk about it very long, I don’t think,” Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said recently of the Presidents’ Trophy. “It’s not that important. Of course, we want to be the best. We’ve put ourselves at the top throughout the entire season. We want to stay there. But that fact it’s called the Presidents’ Trophy, it doesn’t mean a whole lot to us. We’re preparing ourselves for the postseason, and that’s the most important thing right now.”
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville shared a similar feeling as his captain.
“We’d like to win that, but we’ll see,” Quenneville said prior to Saturday’s game against the Phoenix Coyotes. “Pittsburgh won again. We’ll do what we can do, but we’re looking to play that game we’re playing. We’re looking to win that game. We’re not looking too much further.”
The Blackhawks’ chances of winning the Stanley Cup likely won’t increase if they take the Presidents’ Trophy. Since the Presidents’ Trophy was created prior to the 1985-86 season, only seven teams that earned the Presidents’ Trophy won the Stanley Cup in the same season.
“Hey, you saw last year the eighth seed,” Quenneville said. “Anyone can win. When you look at this year, when you look at the Western Conference’s top eight teams, you got to think everybody thinks they can win.”