Unless, perhaps, you were a fan of one of the opponents along the way, it was hard not to feel good for Ray Bourque in 2001, Dave Andreychuk in 2004 and Rod Brind’Amour in 2006.
The first two had been in the NHL for 22 seasons by the time they finally won a Stanley Cup, while Brind’Amour had a cathartic end to a 17-year wait. Much earlier, Lanny McDonald capped a celestial 16-year career with his first and only championship in 1989 and is similarly remembered for the feel-good nature of that run.
Those stories are not just for the seasoned, starving stars, though. For instance, two years ago, there was a then-25-year-old Patrice Bergeron kicking ice chips over the worst of his concussion history and copiloting the Bruins to a title.
To varying degrees, all 16 participating teams in the 2013 playoffs have a chance to generate a story of a similar nature. On the eve of the tournament, those potential stories are highlighted as follows.
All statistics and past playoff results for this report were found via hockey-reference.com