Many years back, a good friend of mine -- epitome of the jaded hipster kid -- confessed that when he saw sports teams celebrating a championship, he was moved almost to tears. "They just look so happy!" he said.
I wouldn't go quite that far -- I'm a man, after all. But I got chills last night, watching the clock count down, and the 'Canes celebrate (great video here). There is, for my money, nothing like the Cup celebration in sports. A horrible confession: even watching the Red Wings skate around with it wasn't totally horrible, once I got over the pain of them winning.
František Kaberle goes down in history with the 2006 Stanley Cup-winning goal. I'm ecstatic. And while I know he became the symbol of all that's wrong and bad to non-'Canes fans, it was wonderful to see Brind'Amour lifting the Cup. On the other side of things -- tough to see Pronger, Aleš Hemský, Ryan Smyth, Fernando Pisani, and others dealing with the disappointment. The guy I felt worst for was one I'd forgotten was on the team prior to the Finals, Jussi Markkanen. When Roloson went down, everyone wrote off the Oilers' chances -- in the end, Markkanen nearly won it all for them.
By the time the lockout came around in '04, I'd lost a lot of interest in hockey -- this year has revitalized it. It's been a fun season, and last night's Game Seven provided a worthy ending.
My non-hockey-fannish friends can rejoice: this really does mark the end of the hockey-blogging for a while, aside from Kloučekwatch once his contract expires. Congrats to Carolina's fans -- here's hoping next year Atlanta makes a run at extending the Southeastern streak.