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PHT Stanley Cup Tracker: Ovechkin takes Stanley home, Cup visits Capital Gazette office

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The PHT Stanley Cup tracker will keep tabs on how the Washington Capitals spend their summer celebrating

Alex Ovechkin picked quite the time to win the Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals.

With the World Cup in Russia this summer, Ovechkin got his chance to take hockey’s holy grail to the pinnacle of soccer competition on Saturday at the World Cup’s Fan Fest venue.

Speaking to NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti, Ovechkin said he’s dreamed of being in the position he is now in.

“I’m going to share it with all the people who I know, people who I don’t know,” he said. “But I’m just going to share my moment with them because lots of fans haven’t seen it, never touched it.”

There was another special moment on Saturday.

Ovechkin visited the Dynamo Hockey School in Novogorsk, his hometown rink, where he was met by his father, Mikhail.

Ovechkin handed the Cup to his father for the first time. According to a report, Mikhail had to be hospitalized before the playoffs began was deemed too ill to travel to watch his son hoist the cup.

Washington Capitals equipment manager Craig “Woody” Leydig took his turn with the Stanley Cup on July 3 and he took it to the temporary offices of the Capital Gazette after a horrific shooting left five of the paper’s employees dead last week.

July Fourth was John Carlson‘s day with the Stanley Cup. He started by sharing it with local firefighters, the Children’s National Medical Center and a fundraiser benefiting DIPG.

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Sharp says so long to Chicago with heartfelt ad

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Food for thought: maybe newspapers are the true winners of each offseason.

It’s almost a cliche at this point: when someone spends a long time in a city, that player (or even coach) will take a full-page newspaper advertisement out to say goodbye and thank you. Considering his lengthy stay with the Chicago Blackhawks, it’s no surprise that Patrick Sharp did just that, placing an ad with newspapers including the Chicago Tribune:

(Sharp must have at least 1,000 photos of himself with the Stanley Cup, right? It must have taken him a while to choose the right one for this spot …)

During Saturday’s introductory press conference, the 33-year-old said he wasn’t sure when he would touch base in Dallas, but he noted that his wife has never been to Texas. One can only imagine the conflicting emotions Sharp must be dealing with at the moment, as a long journey comes to an end … but at least the Stars show interesting promise.

Here’s the full text of his lengthy letter:

I arrived in Chicago in 2005, not knowing the journey that the Blackhawks would take me over the next 10 years. This team gave me an opportunity to play, to grow and become the person I am today. I will always be grateful for the time I spent here.

Winning the Stanley Cup once was a dream come true; winning it three times, with three different groups of teammates, coaches and trainers, was the ultimate privilege as a player. I feel an overwhelming sense of pride when I look back on all that we’ve accomplished together.

Thank you to Rocky Wirtz, John McDonough, Stan Bowman and the entire Blackhawks family for allowing me to be a part of a world-class organization on and off the ice. Thank you to the fans for embracing me as a player and accepting me as a part of Chicago.

This city has meant so much to me and my family: Three Stanley Cup victories. The birth of Madelyn Grace and Sadie Ellen. Endless memories from the fans, my friends and teammates. For the Sharp family, Chicago has become home.

Thank you,

Patrick, Abby, Madelyn and Sadie Sharp

Rafalski headlines list of U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame inductees

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Three-time Stanley Cup champion, and two-time Olympic silver medalist, Brian Rafalski headlines the 2014 inductees into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.

Karyn Bye Dietz, who was a member of the U.S. women’s team which won gold at the 1998 Olympics, NCAA coach Jeff Sauer and Lou Vairo, an assistant coach for the silver medal-winning U.S. team at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics will also be inducted at a ceremony to be held Dec. 4.

“The class of 2014 is an extraordinary collection of individuals that have had an immensely positive impact on hockey in our country,” president of USA Hockey Ron DeGregorio said in a statement Wednesday. “Cumulatively, they have been involved at every level of hockey and this group is a big reason why our sport has advanced to the point it has in the United States.”

Rafalski spent 11 seasons in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils and Detroit Red Wings winning the Stanley Cup in 2000 and 2003 with the Devils and in 2008 with the Wings.

After playing for Sauer at the University of Wisconsin from 1991-95, Rafalski, who went un-drafted, spent four seasons in Europe before signing as a free agent with the Devils in 1999.

A native of Dearborn, Mich., Rafalski finished his NHL career with 79 goals and 515 points in 833 regular-season games. Knee and back injuries forced him to retire following the 2010-11 season at the age of 37. At 40-years of age, Rafalski attempted a brief comeback in 2013-14 playing in three games with the Florida Everblades of the ECHL.

Rafalski represented the United States at the Olympics on three occasions: 2002, 2006 and 2010.

Related: Brian Rafalski cites injuries and wanting time with family for retiring from NHL

Ottawa announces plans to construct monument to Stanley Cup (and Lord Stanley)

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On the 121st anniversary of Lord Stanley of Preston gifting the Stanley Cup, Ottawa’s Lord Stanley Memorial Monument Committee announced that it would construct a monument to that moment on Monday. NHL.com collects reports that indicate it could be unveiled on March 18, 2017 – 125 years after the idea was hatched.

It’s expected that the monument will be paid for by donations/sponsors, covering estimated costs of $7-$8 million, according to NHL.com.

Here are some details about where it might be located:

According to multiple Canadian media reports, a monument to Lord Stanley of Preston, the governor general of Canada, will be located on city-owned land near the intersection of Sparks and Elgin streets — not far from where the idea of what would become the Stanley Cup originated.

Check out this video regarding the plan:

Police looking for stolen 1907 Stanley Cup banner

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In 1907, the Kenora Thistles defeated the Montreal Wanderers to win the Stanley Cup.

Over 100 years later, their championship banner has gone missing.

That’s the word out of Ontario today as Provincial Police say they’re looking for the public’s help in locating the banner, believed to be stolen from the Whitecap Pavilion sometime between Friday evening and Saturday morning.

In addition to the banner — which is white and burgundy, so keep an eye out — a Canadian flag and a Los Angeles Kings Stanley Cup flag were also taken.

Trivia time: Among the players on Kenora’s 1907 Cup-winning team? None other than Hockey Hall of Famer and namesake of the NHL’s top scorer trophy — Art Ross.

(Image courtesy Legends of Hockey)