Cubs pick Blackhawks' brains during NHL champs' Wrigley visit

Not only did the Chicago Cubs enjoy watching Patrick Kane and the Chicago Blackhawks celebrate their Stanley Cup title, but they wanted to pick the brains of the three-time champions. AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks took a victory lap around Wrigley Field with the Stanley Cup on Tuesday night, one day after winning their third NHL championship in six years.

Besides having the chance to touch one of the most iconic trophies in sports, a few Chicago Cubs players said they were looking forward to the celebration -- which took place about a half-hour before their game with the Cleveland Indians -- so they could talk with the Blackhawks players about the secret to their success.

"I'm happy for those guys and it would be cool to ask questions of guys who have won consistently," veteran catcher David Ross said. "Winning is, I believe, learned. It would be fun to ask questions if we get to hang out with those guys for a little longer than a couple of seconds."

Ross, who won a World Series with the Boston Red Sox in 2013, was asked what he'd like to learn from the Blackhawks.

"I don't know, just talk about their definition of winning," he said. "'Why do you think you guys are so consistent?' I like to hear what everybody's opinion of winning is, what makes a winner. Is it talent? Is it a mindset? Is it hard work?

"It's nice to pick people's brains about winning."

Cubs manager Joe Maddon said he would be particularly interested in the players who have been a part of all three championships.

"To do it three out of six, that's pretty spectacular," he said. "There's definitely something to that. I'm like David, I'm a question asker. I'm always interested to hear different things."

The Blackhawks entered Wrigley from right field with Brad Richards carrying the Cup high above his head. Several players then took turns hoisting the Cup as they walked along the outfield warning track.

They made a brief stop in left field to greet Cubs starter Jake Arrieta (who had just started to warm up) and then proceeded to the area in front of the Cubs' dugout on the third-base side. Maddon was given the Cup and hoisted it above his head.

Patrick Kane, who scored the second goal on Monday night, then carried the Cup out to the mound and placed it near the rubber. With the Blackhawks gathered behind the mound, captain Jonathan Toews threw out the first pitch to Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo.

The Cubs and Blackhawks players then gathered on the mound for a group picture with the Cup.

Many of the fans at Wrigley wore Blackhawks sweaters and T-shirts. Among them was musician Tom Morello, who attended Monday's clincher at the United Center.

"It was spectacular," Morello said. "I was fortunate enough to be in the room for it. I've greatly enjoyed every Cup that they've won watching it on TV. But to actually feel the energy and the power in that room, there's really nothing like it.

"Now we need to get one at Wrigley."

Morello was happy to hear that a few Cubs players wanted to pick the Blackhawks' brains.

"There's not just a culture of winning with the Blackhawks, there's a culture of championships with the Blackhawks," he said. "With the Cubs, we're always happy to be the stepchild. 'Oh, we had a winning season. Oh, we made the playoffs.' It's not, 'Oh, we need to win three championships in six years.' That needs to be the goal."

Cubs president Theo Epstein believes the Blackhawks have set an example for other teams to follow.

"It's great to have a model franchise like that here in town where you can observe what they do and through osmosis maybe pick up a thing or two," he said. "It's great for them to raise the bar and set the standards for ours to try and reach up and match."

Epstein believes that's what happened in Boston when he was general manager of the Red Sox when teams from all four major professional leagues won titles in a short period of time.

"In Boston, one team's championship led to another and then another and then a fourth, so it would be great to create that in this city."

Monday's game was rained out, so the Cubs players got a chance to experience the game and the celebration.

"I watched the news [and] I had the game on," rookie Kris Bryant said of the Hawks' Stanley Cup-clinching victory Monday. "It was pretty cool seeing that, how many people were out there celebrating the win. I can't really imagine what that would be like here if we won the World Series.

"The rainout, I guess that was a blessing because that was absolutely crazy. I don't know if we would have had anybody at our game because everybody would have been out on the streets. It was good that it worked out the way it did."