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Daniel Carcillo savoring Stanley Cup moments even though he's not playing

For Blackhawks' Daniel Carcillo, season has been more life and death, less hockey.

The last seven months have been a lot more about matters of life and death and less about matters of hockey for Daniel Carcillo.

The Blackhawks left winger, who hasn't played since March 25 after being diagnosed with concussion symptoms, never had experienced the death of anyone close to him until this season. Nor had he experienced new life, as a father, which began with the birth of his son, Austin Wolf, in late November.

"He's the biggest thing in the world right now to me," Carcillo said of his son. "It would be a lot harder every day if he wasn't around. Let's just put it that way."

The death of Blackhawks assistant equipment manager Clint Reif, 34, followed on Dec. 21. Then one of Carcillo's best friends, former teammate Steve Montador, 35, was found dead at his home on Feb. 15.

But there was another death — that of Carcillo's aunt — earlier this year, that Carcillo said he has kept mostly to himself.

"Nobody really knew about it," Carcillo said Monday morning. "I took off for a few days and paid my respects."

A brief silence followed as he collected his thoughts.

"I don't want to get into that too much now," he continued. "Lot of different emotions to deal with. You just have to find positive outlets to let you deal with those different life-changing events.

"If you don't deal with them, they can creep up on you. There are outlets all around us that we can use. I'm using them and just enjoying this run with the guys."

The finish line of that run came Monday, when the Blackhawks won their third Stanley Cup Final in six seasons with a 2-0 victory over the Lightning at the United Center. Victory carried with it potential challenges for which Carcillo and Blackhawks backup goalie Scott Darling said they were prepared.

Both have battled alcoholism. Both said they weren't concerned with the temptations, which include the presence and consumption of alcohol, that come with winning a championship

"I don't think about that stuff," said Carcillo, who has been proactive in bringing chronic traumatic encephalopathy and concussion awareness to the forefront since Montador's death. "Even though you're not playing, you're not planning a party. You're with these guys and kind of live vicariously through them."

It's what Carcillo has been doing since being medically cleared to play April 30.

Darling, too, said he wouldn't be uncomfortable during any celebrations, that he's savoring the moments sober.

"All that stuff is not even part of my life anymore," said Darling, who is 3-1 this postseason but hasn't played since April 25. "(Being around alcohol) is not even an issue anymore."

Carcillo shared an embrace with former Blackhawk Jeremy Roenick on Monday morning in the Blackhawks locker room. Roenick offered some words of encouragement for Carcillo before departing.

"Keep doing what you're doing," he said.

Carcillo nodded. Game 6 loomed.

pskrbina@tribpub.com

Twitter @ChiTribSkrbina

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