Wait’s over in Chicago
PHILADELPHIA – When the soaring moment arrived, it was a year less three days from the last springís crushing defeat…and several agonizing, bizarre seconds.
Chicago Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa and the Chicago Blackhawks got their Stanley Cup; Hossa after a three-year odyssey and the íHawks after a 49-year year drought.
Hossa helped the íHawks end those years of empty springs Wednesday night with a 4-3 win at the Wachovia Center over the Philadelphia Flyers, giving the Blackhawks their fourth Stanley Cup and ending Hossaís nomadic journey in search of Cup glory.
ìThis is unbelievable. I canít describe it. When I held the Cup, so many things went through my mind,î said Hossa, who was the second íHawk to lift the Cup after captain Jonathan Toews. ìSo much hard work, so many games over the last three years. I finally got it. Iím so proud of these guys.î
ìI thought he was a monster out there. You couldnít get the puck off him,î said íHawks coach Joel Quenneville.
Hossa and the rest of the íHawks had to wait for a few seconds before realizing they had won the game and the Cup as a strange, delayed-reaction scene unfolded at the Wachovia Center.
A shot by íHawks forward Patrick Kane at 4:50 of the first overtime ended Game 6 with a goal almost no one but Kane saw go in the net. Kaneís shot from along the goal line slipped under the stick of crouching Flyers goaltender Michael Leighton and just inside the post, lodging under the pad inside the net.
ìI saw it go right under his stick and through his legs,î said Kane. ìI just threw a shot at the net. It was a lot like (Sidney) Crosbyís goal at the Olympics. I think I was the only one who saw it go in.î
There was confusion as the play continued, the players looking for the puck, Kane galloping to the other end of the ice in celebration.
It was a sweet moment for Hossa, who was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins two years ago by the Atlanta Thrashers at the trade deadline and lost to the Detroit Red Wings in the 2008 final.
He left the Penguins as a free agent to sign with the Wings only to see the Penguins comeback back from a 3-2 series deficit last year and win Game 7.
ìIím so happy to be on the other side now,î said Hossa, who said he plans to take the Cup back to his native Slovakia this summer.
ìIím going to put it in front of the apartment where I grew up and play some hockey with my friends,î he said.
In the end, the íHawks simply had too much for the Flyers, who made history with their comeback from a 3-0 deficit in the second round against the Boston Bruins, but couldnít find a way to cope with the íHawks deep forward group. Chicago won despite not getting a goal in the final from Toews, whose strong performance in the first three rounds won him the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP.
Toews said he had made the decision to give the Cup to Hossa at the morning skate.
ìHe said to me, ìI donít want to talk too much about it, but if we win, Iím going to give it it you. I said, ëThat sounds great,íî said Hossa. ìIt shows his character. He knows what I went through.î
Now the íHawks, who have enjoyed a stunning rival which has seen them go from the depths of the league to its peak in about four years, will have something for which a couple of generations of hockey fans have been waiting for almost 50 years, a Stanley Cup parade.
ìThe party in Chicago,î said Quenneville, ìis going to be all-world.î
Wait’s over in Chicago