I watched Game Six of the Stanley Cup Finals last night with no emotional investment in who won the game.
At 4:06 into the first overtime, Blackhawks fans and bandwagoners alike got their wish as Patrick Kane’s shot flew past Michael Leighton and hit the right side of the net.
Where was the puck? Was it a good goal? What is really going on at Wachovia Center?
What made the goal unlike most other Cup-winning goals was that many people, even the referees and goal judges, seemed confused as to whether or not the puck went in. One of the officials even had to go over and review the play with an off-ice judge.
Wouldn’t it be something, I thought, if Chicago had started that celebration for nothing?
Fortunately, Kane had made the right call when he raced down the other end of the ice to goaltender Antti Niemi, setting off the celebration of the end of the Blackhawks’ 49-year Stanley Cup drought.
Last night showed what most of the Finals have been about since Game One just two weeks ago.
Dustin Byfuglien got the Hawks on the board at 16:49 of the first period with a power play goal.
However, Scott Hartnell had the answer at 19:33 with a power-play goal of his own and sent both teams to the dressing rooms tied 1-1 after the first period.
Daniel Briere then gave the Flyers their first lead at 8:00 of the second period.
But this time, although the Flyers never stopped pressing, they would not take control from the young, determined Blackhawks.
Goals from Patrick Sharp and Andrew Ladd gave the Blackhawks a 3-2 lead to start the third period. The closing frame was almost nonstop play, with the referees putting their whistles away and line changes coming on the fly.
I was relieved the referees had put their whistles away. They were way too ticky-tacky during the first two periods of this crucial game.
When Hartnell scored his second goal of the game at 16:01 in the third period to force overtime, I was nervous. This was not the first time in these Cup playoffs that the Flyers had gotten to overtime in such an important game.
Not to mention the fact that their previous overtime wins had made them believe they really had a chance of going further than anyone predicted.
But once Kane’s shot was confirmed to be a good goal, the Flyers’ hopes were no more.
At least not for the 2009-2010 season.
Toews not only became one of the youngest captains ever to win the Stanley Cup, he also won the Conn Smythe trophy. He finished the playoffs with seven goals and 22 assists for 29 points.
Toews caps off a remarkable season, in which he was a member of the Canadian gold medal hockey team at the Olympics, with a Stanley Cup and a playoff MVP award.
“Captain Serious” can only get better.
I was also happy to see Marian Hossa finally get a Stanley Cup.
Even though many of my fellow Pens fans felt betrayed by Hossa, I never felt that way.
The guy has a right to play where he wants, I say.
Hossa finished the playoffs with 15 points, tying his postseason total from when he played with the Detroit Red Wings in 2008-2009.
The sheer joy and relief on his face when he lifted the Cup over his head shows why winning the Stanley Cup is so awesome. The players have worked so hard for this, have been to hell and back, and finally they feel like they have reached the end of a very tall mountain.
Finally, I think it is great that hockey has finally earned a place back in the hearts of Chicago fans.
It’s been 49 long years since their last Cup, 18 years since their last appearance in the Finals, when they lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins, and 17,159 days since the last time they were able to celebrate a Cup victory.
The Hawks rose up from playing in front of a half-empty United Center with their games not even on TV to having sellout crowds and red carpet parties for their players.
Now a whole new generation of Hawks fans will have this Cup win to relive over the years.
Congratulations, Chicago Blackhawks.