Less than 24 hours after his team ended one of sports' longest title droughts, Blackhawks president John McDonough was quick to deflect credit for one of the most remarkable turnarounds in Chicago history.
"I know a little bit about hockey, let's leave it at that," McDonough said on ESPN 1000's Afternoon Saloon. "I think we've got a great hockey operations staff that knows a lot more than I do. But you know I've been doing everything I can the past couple of years to follow the game as attentively as possible, and it's been a great experience."
McDonough came to the Hawks in November 2007 after spending 24 years in the front office of the Chicago Cubs. Upon his arrival, the team instantly began to change perceptions in the city.
"I think a lot of it had to do with how swift the turnaround was," McDonough said of the way Chicago has embraced his team. "Also the fact that we had not televised our games forever. Now all of a sudden the games are broadcast and it's a brand new product that we had never seen before and it's a good one."
For McDonough winning the Cup was a way to reward the fans of Chicago and Hawks chairman Rocky Wirtz.
"That probably to me, along with our fans who are so deserving ... Rocky deserves it," he said. He's the ultimate decision-maker. He's the one who had the vision. He's the one that when I started he [said] there was only going to be one approach. ... He talked about television and resources and doing things the right way, not taking any shortcuts, getting out of the grudge business. ... Those were things that we talked about from Day 1."
During his tenure with the Hawks, McDonough has had to make several franchise-altering decisions. The most significant of which may have been to remove Dale Tallon as the team's general manager and replace him with Stan Bowman. Tallon was reassigned within the organization. Last month, he left the Blackhawks to become GM of the Florida Panthers.
"Dale absolutely will get a ring," McDonough said. "He had an immeasurable impact on this franchise. He will absolutely get a ring and he deserves it."
In the present, McDonough is focused on enjoying the city's first Stanley Cup in 49 years. The first item on the team's celebration agenda is tomorrow's ticker tape parade, which will be carried live on ESPN3.com and ESPNChicago.com.
"There's a lot of work to be done," he said. "Tomorrow we're going to enjoy the day and we're going to have the parade and the convention's coming in a few weeks."