"Oh My God. It's like that commercial. I'm speechless." --Conn Smythe Trophy winner and Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews.
Well, that was a fantastic end to a fantastic series. Very entertaining, top-notch hockey, tight games with lots of scoring and plenty of drama, and some great stories along the way. I'm not gonna go into a ton of detail because I'm plenty tired and have a terrible headache, but here are some highlights:
--Great day for Marian Hossa. Yeah, I ragged on the guy quite a bit last year, but as a Pens fan I think I was predestined to gloat a bit. The poor guy lost the Cup in 2008 with Pittsburgh to the Wings, then signed with Detroit over the summer saying it was nothing against the Penguins, but he just thought he had a better chance to win a Stanley Cup in Detroit, and THEN lost the Cup AGAIN in 2009 with Detroit, this time to the Pens. It was pretty funny and awesome as a Pens fan, but that really had to suck for Hossa. A year later, I'm glad that third time was the charm. I can't imagine what it would have been like to lose three Stanley Cups in a row!
--The game went into overtime, which is awesome. I actually expected the Hawks to win in OT tonight. I was 6-for-6 in picking who would win what game, which is kinda eerie but kinda awesome. I expected a huge moment, a big shot followed by an explosion of 'HE SCORES!' from Doc Emmerick and the Hawks spilling over the boards to mob the goal-scorer. Instead, nobody seemed to know what had happened right away except the referee and the scorer. (The scorer always seems to know, by the way)
--I got a text early in the game from my sister, who was watching the game in a sports bar in NYC that was filled with, of all things, Penguins memorabilia. I texted back that I imagined there were plenty of temporary Blackhawks fans there tonight, and she commented that it was hard to tell. After Chicago scored the game's first goal, I got a text that said, "Yup, hawks fans! :-)"
--Byfuglien. Pronounced "BUFF-glen". I still don't get it.
--I don't think there's any way the Hawks can replicate this season. They were amazing all year and were clearly the best team in the playoffs. NOBODY took them seven games. But they're already over the salary cap for next year, and there are guys that need re-signed. Plus, it's really freaking hard to repeat as Cup champs. Nobody's done it in over a decade. Things look grim for Philly, I'm afraid. Historically, Stanley Cup losers don't fare nearly as well the next season. (Unless they're the 2009 Pens, of course. Hm...maybe the rule should be Stanley Cup losers NOT from Pennsylvania don't fare nearly as well. There may be hope yet, Flyers faithful!)
--Kudos to two goalies who were both backups at the start of the season. I'm not even sure Leighton was a backup when this year started. Also, kudos to Niemi for being the first Finnish goalie to win a Cup.
--Unexpected emotional moment from Jeremy Roenick after the Hawks won it. It's been a LONG time since he left the Windy City; never realized the Blackhawks had kept such a prominent place in his heart. The guy played on some awesome Chicago teams (as well as a few really good Philly ones and one great San Jose squad) but never got to lift the Cup. Still, didn't expect to see him break down after the game tonight. Oh, and Mike Milbury's kind of a jerk, but what else is new?
What a fun Cup Final. It was sort of nice not to have a horse in the race after the last two years. Had the chance to just sit back and enjoy the hockey and not sweat it out quite as hard. Not that I prefer that, of course. Pens, Avs, or Bolts in 2011!!
That's all for tonight. I'm going to bed. I'll try to get a real Blackhawks fan to do a guest blog tomorrow for a different perspective.
Hockey is over, kids (well, except for the Calder Cup Final, tied at 2 games apiece, and how is the AHL still playing when they didn't take an Olympic break?). Enjoy the offseason.