Congratulaions to the Stanley Cup Champion Ducks. I try not to be overly vindictive and I don't despise the Senators the way many in Buffalo seem to... but it was kind of fun watching them roll over in the finals, wasn't it? And for all the hate thrown at him, I'd much rather see Chris Pronger with the Cup than Chris Neil or Ray Emery. Punk or not, he's one of the best defensemen in the NHL and he certainly earned his championship on the ice.
The Stanley Cup presentation is the only sports championship that makes me cry every single year, even when it's not my team winning. (Last year is excluded because I didn't watch it. It wasn't really an anti-Carolina thing so much as last season was just really heart-breaking. I didn't watch much of the Finals at all.) First, there's the Cup itself, the greatest trophy in sports. Then there's the Cup going right to the players instead of the owner or GM. Seriously, Jim Irsay is a great owner (I guess) but did anyone really want to see him with the Super Bowl trophy? No. No, they wanted to see Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison toting it around. Every player gets his time with the Cup, his little moment in the spotlight, skating around and hoisting that sucker over his head just like a little boy. This year there were three things in particular about the celebration that got me:
I adore all three of my brothers (usually) so I'm a total sucker for Scott taking less money to play with his little brother Rob. I love that when Rob finally, finally got to touch the Cup - he flatly refused to do so every time Scott won it with the Devils - it was handed to him by his big bro. (Sidenote: Everyone and their grandmother has mentioned it at this point, but kudos to Scott for one of the all-time great playoff beards. If I'm his wife, I'm shaving that sucker off and putting it in a scrapbook somewhere.)
I was already soft on Teemu Selanne because of the whole "I'm going to keep a childhood promise to 16 friends and fly them in to Anaheim and cover all their expenses" story. And of course there was the fact that he was this year's chosen beloved veteran who's never won a championship. But then he started getting choked up before he even touched the Cup. And then he took the Cup from Pronger and the tears started flowing more freely. And then one of his little guys leapt off the bench into his arms. And then he hugged his wife and completely fell apart, blubbering like a baby. I really can't recall athletes in other sports getting as visibly choked up about winning as hockey players often do and I love it.
But this... this made me lose it. Aftter seeing this I was as gone as Teemu.
Even now, just looking at this photo makes me a little emotional. I'm really surprised Giguere's story didn't get more attention during the Finals - I mean, how many times did they remind us during game 3 that Chris Neil was a new father? - but even without the constant reminders that his son Maxime has been through so much in his very, very young life already, seeing J.S. skate that little guy around the ice hit me square in the heart. And how beautiful is that photograph with the confetti raining down and the cast-off helemt? Gorgeous.
In closing, can we end the whole "Ugh, I can't believe the Stanley Cup is in CALIFORNIA" stuff already? Is Anaheim as a region going bonkers about the Ducks winning the way Ottawa or Edmonton or Buffalo might had their teams won? Hardly. But that doesn't mean the players are any less deserving and it doesn't mean the fans who were in the building or watching on TV are any less excited. I don't know if the Ducks winning is necessarily GOOD for the NHL, but it's certainly not BAD. So quit your whining!
More to come. I have to figure out what it is that hockey bloggers blog about in the off-season.