WASHINGTON, D.C. -- John Masson knew something was up Thursday when he and his wheelchair were summoned to the lobby of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He just never imagined how such a rainy afternoon could become an instant classic, just by turning a corner.

"Oh, man, is this unbelievable or not?" Masson crowed to nobody in particular. "The Blackhawks. This is why we fight. Because in the United States of America, people give back."

John McDonough, the team president, said much the same thing. The defending Stanley Cup champions have not ever had, nor will they ever have, a more important off-day in their hockey careers. Friday, the Blackhawks will be at the White House, and Sunday, they will be on national TV against the Washington Capitals. But what the Blackhawks did Thursday, with their jerseys on and skates still on the bus, was no touristy sidetrip or made-for-TV drive through.

Click here for the full story.