Author: NBC Sports

Video: Jeremy Roenick's emotional response to Blackhawks victory


 Earlier in the postseason, Roenick tried to pretend that he wasn’t secretly rooting for the Blackhawks to win the Cup. After tonight, there is no doubt.

One of the greatest American players to ever step onto the ice in the NHL, Roenick never won a Cup during his long career. He came close, going to the finals with Chicago in 1991 but never came that close again.

Tonight, his emotions got the best of him.


Mike Richards: "It hurts a lot."


Eventually, the Philadelphia Flyers will be able to look back at this
past season and what they accomplished against the Chicago Blackhawks
and be proud of what they did. For some, that moment will come tonight,
or later in the week. For others, it may take a bit longer.

For now, however, the Flyers are going to feel the sting of a loss in
a series they were more than capable of winning.

This was one of the toughest seasons I’ve ever seen a hockey team get
through and still be able make history in the postseason. Injuries to
key players, a midseason collapse and a coaching change, and more
goaltender issues than any team should ever have to deal with.

“We went through a lot this year as a group,” captain Mike Richards
agreed after the game. “I can’t analyze the season right now, but like I
said, we went through a lot. We’ve gone through a lot together. When
you go through stuff like that, I think it brings the group closer

Just like anytime a good, hard working team like this loses in the
finals there is talk about how good this experience was for the players.
While there is likely going to be a much different looking roster next
season, there’s no reason why the Flyers can’t be in this position again
in the near future. Of course, that’s not exactly what Richards was
hoping to be talking about tonight.

“It was a good learning experience for us,” Richards said. “I mean,
you have to take out of it what it takes to win. It’s the hardest
thing I’ve ever had to go through. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough.”

2010 Stanley Cup Finals: We should never have doubted Antti Niemi


Niemi10.jpgWe all questioned him, admit it.

When the Chicago Blackhawks made the public decision to not go after a
goaltender at the trade deadline and to instead stick with Cristobal
Huet and Antti Niemi, we panned the Hawks and said they were bonkers.

There was no way this team could win the Stanley Cup with either of
those two goaltenders in net.

I guess we were wrong, huh?

Niemi may not have been the most stellar example of Stanley Cup
goaltending against the Hawks, but through four rounds he was exactly
what his team needed him to be. He was steady, he was consistent and on
occasion he stole a game or two with some absolutely outstanding

Tonight against the Flyers, he may not have been at his very best but
he made the big saves when they matter most.

Now, he’s the first Finnish goaltender to lead his team to the
Stanley Cup and he did it as a rookie. Before this season, he was never
expected to be this important to the Blackhawks but when he was called
upon he approached the task like he always does: calm, collected and

Every player on his team says that no one works harder than Niemi,
that nothing ever seems to rattle him. He’s not an emotional goaltender,
and his ability to bounce back from bad games is perhaps one of the
best reasons the Hawks ultimately won it all.

“So many tough
moments, and even from Game 1 of our first series against Nashville,
people question you every single game as a rookie goaltender,” Jonathan
Toews said after the game when asked about his goaltender. “Everyone
knows how big of a position, how important it is to have a great
goaltender in the postseason. Everyone questioned his experience and
his ability to deal with that pressure.”

Still, Toews says he
never lost faith in Niemi even through the ups and downs of the season
and the playoffs.

“But I think we all believed in him. We all
knew he was that type of guy. And all the accolades on good days that
were thrown at him didn’t seem to bother him either. He just kept
playing, enjoyed the game and was a huge, huge part of our team.”

Third time's the charm: Marian Hossa finally hoists the Stanley Cup

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Hossa2.jpgAs if there was any doubt who it would be, Marian Hossa was the first
player to be handed the Stanley Cup from captain Jonathan Toews. The
22-year old, after holding the Cup over his head, turned around and
instantly looked for #81.

The supposedly cursed forward, who had been on the losing side of the
Stanley Cup finals two years in a row, finally got his chance to hold
the trophy himself. Perhaps it wasn’t the same emotional moment we’ve
seen in the past with players like Ray Bourque and Mark Messier, but
this was still one of the very special moments you only ever get to see
in hockey.

Say what you will about the guy, but you have to feel good for Marian
Hossa tonight.

Toews says that it was an easy decision to hand the Cup off to

“Yeah, well we talked about it very, very briefly this morning,”
Toews said afterward. “Didn’t want to get overexcited or think too much
of the end result, but mentioned it to him this morning to be ready,
that if we did happen to hoist it tonight, that Duncan and Sharpy both
agreed that he should be the first guy after myself to grab it.

know, it’s special for him. And I can’t imagine being a part of three
long seasons like that and to win one finally. It’s amazing for all of
us. But especially for him too for sure.”


For Hossa, it was the
culmination of three very long seasons. No other player in NHL history
had made it this far in three straight seasons with three different
teams. And while his numbers this year may not have been all that great,
as the series against the Flyers went on you could see just how
determined he was to finally win it. While his team was struggling a bit
to start the series, he was the best player on his team through the
first four games.

After the game, he was quiet and a bit
emotional, saying that it was a “relief” to win.

“I’m so happy to
finally do this.”

2010 Stanley Cup Finals: In the end, Patrick Kane was the difference


Kane5.jpgPatrick Kane had just one game-winning goal in the entire postseason
for the Chicago Blackhawks, but that’s all they ever really needed from
him anyway. Jonathan Toews may have won the Conn Smythe trophy as the
Most Valuable Player of the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs, but in the end it
was Patrick Kane that was the difference maker as he pushed his team
the incredibly resilient Philadelphia Flyers.

Kane, like the rest of this top line of himself, Toews and Dustin
Byfuglien, had struggled mightily against the speedy and physicial
Flyers in the first four games of the series. He had just three points
in those first four games, and was a minus-6 overall. He was practically
invisible at times and rarely was the scoring threat that this team
desperately needed him to be in order to finally hoist the Cup.

After a disastrous Game 4 performance, Kane turned a corner.

He had five points between Game 5 and 6 and along with Byfuglien was
the catalyst for what the Hawks needed to get their skates back under
them. The series against the Flyers had gone off the rails in Philly,
and here they were headed back to the City of — supposed — Brotherly
Love with a chance to clinch the Cup finals once and for all.

Kane had just two secondary assists before the overtime period
started, but his presence had been felt all game long. It was the same
determination you saw in him after the debacle in Game 4 and it showed
once more in the biggest game of his incredibly young career; there
should have been no doubting that Kane would factor into the winning
goal for the Blackhawks.

For Kane, who at age 21 is just now starting an already incredible
career, it was perhaps the highest moment he’ll ever reach during his
time in the NHL. Skating with the puck in the offensive zone, he was
pushed wide by the Flyers before whipping a hard wrist shot on net.
Somehow, the puck found its way through Michael Leighton before lodging
in the far side of the twine. Kane instantly screamed in joy as the
arena went nearly silent.

No goal lights went off.

No referee signaled a good goal. In fact, there was no signal made.

Kane6.jpgJust the sight of a young kid with the world’s greatest mullet
skating as hard as he could to the other end of the ice, gloves, sticks
and other pieces of equipment falling to the ice in his wake. No one
knew what had happened, but Patrick Kane knew right away: he had just
scored the Cup-winning goal in overtime.

Of course, while talking about the goal, Kane was quick to ramble
onto another subject.

“I knew it right away,” Kane said, a smile on his face as emotion
started to wash over him. “It was stuck behind the meshing there. Got a
shot out to my people back in Buffalo. My hometown. I have four
buddies who drove all the way to come out here. My five family members.
Three sisters, three beautiful sisters. My mom and dad. What a
feeling. I can’t believe it.

“It’s unbelievable. We just won the Stanley Cup.”

Kane was emotional after the game, as many players are when the
reality of their accomplishments start to sink in. Kane is just 21 and
has plenty of hockey ahead of him, but after a long and grueling season
with all of the uncertainty and all of the pressure that was heaped upon
the Hawks, it’s a relief to realize you’ve just accomplished the
ultimate goal.

“I can’t believe this just happened,” Kane said as tears started to
show in his eyes. “It’s something you dream of as a kid. To score the
winning goal in the Stanley Cup Finals. It was just — it was

There’s no doubting how important and how deserving Toews is for the
Hawks, the quiet and serious captain who held this team together all
season long. Yet it was Kane, the flashy one of the two, who was
ultimately the difference maker in this series. It’s not how you start a
series or a game, it’s how you finish it that matters. When the
Blackhawks were locked in a must-win game, fighting to not have to head
to a dangerous Game 7 and with the Flyers seizing momentum, he did
exactly what all good hockey players know to do.

He threw the puck
at the net and made something good happen.