Don't blame the Blackhawks for trading Michael Leighton to Buffalo in October of 2005 for the very forgettable Milan Bartovic.
The Hawks are hardly the only team that gave up on Leighton during the course of his career. So did the Sabres, Anaheim, Nashville, Philadelphia (in 2007), Montreal and Carolina.
The Hurricanes put Leighton was waivers just this season. The Flyers picked him up for a second time and now he's leading them in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Hawks.
Leighton appeared in 42 games for the Hawks from 2002-04, going 8-21-10 behind some pretty awful teams.
Leighton and Craig Anderson shared the bulk of the playing time in 2003-04 after an injury sidelined Jocleyn Thibault. It was a tough spot for two young goalies, considering the Hawks had little offense - Tyler Arnason led the team inscoirng with 55 points - and a defense that consisted of Bryan Berard, Nathan Dempsey, Jim Vandermeer, Stephane Robidas, Deron Quint, Alexander Karpovtsev, Steve Poapst, Jason Strudwick and Jonathan Aitken.
The Hawks finished 20-43-11-8 and Leighton and Anderson were fortunate they weren't scared for life. To their credit both goalies never stopped working hard. Anderson had a great year in Colorado this season, leading the Avs to the playoffs, and Leighton is in the Finals.
“When you play for a team and kind of get traded off like that, and they pick someone else over you, you can look at it and say, ‘Well, obviously, it was my own fault because I didn’t do what I was supposed to do to stay in the organization,’” Leighton said on Tuesday.
“There is always that little, where you’re a little mad you didn’t get more of a chance or you didn’t play well and they just ditched you. It was the kind of the same thing in Montreal.
“I did get a chance when I played there (in Chicago), but it was a much shorter stint. Just going back and playing against them is fun. You do have a little extra things you want to prove.”
For those Hawks fans who can't watch the Stanley Cup Finals, all the games will be broadcast on WGN Radio after the Cubs agreed to the arrangement on Tuesday.
"We are very appreciative the Cubs have accommodated us and allowed our games to be broadcast on WGN Radio," Hawks president John McDonough said. "It is a very classy gesture on their part as it allows us to maximize our audience during the Stanley Cup Final."