On a night when the Chicago Blackhawks partied like it was 1961, the most relieved man on the ice was probably Marian Hossa.
Hossa had been on the losing side of the past two Stanley Cup championships, so the fact that he finally won one last night had him beaming from ear-to-ear.
"Definitely, it's a huge relief," said Hossa. "I was so happy going to the finals, but at the same time, a little bit nervous. It's a funny thing. A couple of reporters came up to me and said, 'you're a lucky charm because every team you play for, you go to the finals.' Then I have a couple of others who say, there is a Hossa hex. So I don't know what to think, but I'm so glad this is over and I'm now on the winning side."
"Right now, I'm going to enjoy it.
When team captain Jonathan Toews accepted the Stanley Cup from commissioner Gary Bettman, he immediately handed it to Hossa. From Hossa, it went to Patrick Sharp, Brent Sopel, John Madden, Duncan Keith and then to his defence partner Brent Seabrook.
Keith had a special playoff; he lost seven teeth in the fourth game of the San Jose Sharks' series, when he took a puck in the mouth off the stick of Patrick Marleau. He played a game high 30 minutes and 39 seconds last night and was the anchor on defence all season long.
"If you lose this many teeth - look at how ugly I look right now - there's gotta be something at the end for me," said Keith, who said he was looking forward to a long rest after the longest season of his life. He was the first player to arrive in Calgary for the Olympic orientation camp back in August. A trip to Europe to start the season; a chance to win the gold medal at the Olympics for Canada and finally, more ice time than any other member of the Blackhawks' in a four series run to the Stanley Cup.
The Cup, he said, was heavier than he thought it would be.
"I thought I was stronger," said Keith. "I guess it's been a long season; and I've lost some strength, but that felt pretty heavy. But hey, it's worth it right now. Words can't honestly describe how good it feels.
"I just want to have a break right now. It's been a long season. It's a great way to finish it; I can tell you, it's going to be a great night tonight."
Coach Joel Quenneville thought Hossa turned in a "monster" effort in the decisive game.
"You go to the finals two years in a row and you have nothing to show for it and you get asked that question all year, I thought he was a great player all night. He was a threat. He was dangerous. He showed tonight that he was going to make sure he's winning the Cup."