|ESPN.com: NHL Playoffs||[Print without images]|
PHILADELPHIA -- Marian Hossa got the heads up from the captain at the morning skate Wednesday. Chicago Blackhawks star center Jonathan Toews made up his mind: the Slovak star would be the first to hoist the Stanley Cup after him.
"It was funny. In the morning skate, he came up to me and said, 'You know, Hoss, I don't really want to talk about it, but let's say if we win it tonight, I'm going to hand it to you,''' Hossa said after Wednesday night's Cup-clinching victory. "I said, 'That sounds great.' He kept his promise and that was an unbelievable feeling."
Well, really, who else would you give it to?
"You 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," said Toews. "It's amazing for all of us, but especially for him."
Who else has gone through what Hossa has the last three years, losing in back-to-back Cup finals with two different teams? The thought of going 0-for-3? Well, that just couldn't happen.
"I mean, what a feeling," said Hossa, who had a strong Cup finals. "I'm so happy I'm finally on the other side. I'm truly enjoying this moment. It wasn't easy. There were lots of hockey games three years in a row. This feels even better because of it."
His teammates wanted to win it badly for him.
"There's not one guy on this ice that deserves it more than him. I love that guy," said Kris Versteeg.
Versteeg believes Hossa's overtime goal in Game 5 against Nashville back in the first round was a gigantic part of the end result nearly two months later.
"That goal right there won us the Stanley Cup," said Versteeg. "We just carried off that every day after that."
Hossa was all emotion when he grabbed the Cup from Toews, lifting it up and down and up again in excitement.
"It was great that Tazer gave it to him first," said Hawks star blueliner Brent Seabrook. "He's done so much for this team. He's been great all season. It was really nice to see him win it this year."
Next up? His trip back home with the silver mug this summer. This time, he won't go overseas empty-handed.
"Well, I'm definitely going to bring it to Slovakia," said Hossa. "I'm going to put it in front of my old apartment where I grew up and where I used to play best-of-sevens with my friends and we're going to play hockey."