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Round 2
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Stanley Cup Final

Stanley Cup tour blog

Sunday, 08.15.2010 / 3:01 PM / Summer with Stanley

NHL.com

Kane, Cup party in Margaritaville
08.15.10 / 3:01 PM ET

Patrick Kane was told by the Hawks PR that if he wanted two days with the Cup, he would have to bring it to Chicago on the second day.

"It's never a problem to bring the Cup back to Chicago," Kane joked.

He did Saturday night and he did it in style, too, according to Blackhawks PR guru Brandon Faber, who was with Kane at the concert and told NHL.com all about it in an e-mail Sunday.

Kane chartered a flight out of Buffalo Saturday afternoon and brought the Cup and a bunch of his buddies to the Jimmy Buffett concert at Toyota Park that night.

He started with a photo opp with the band and stage crew behind the stage roughly an hour before the show and then he met with Buffett for 15 minutes. They filled the Cup with Landshark Lager and took turns taking some swigs.

Buffett congratulated Kane on the season and mentioned that he saw him on ESPN the day before when he was touring the Cup through Buffalo.

Kane went on stage during the middle of Buffett's fifth song, 'Boat Drinks,' with the Stanley Cup. The crowd went wild.

He walked to center stage hoisting the Cup and then he handed it over to Buffett, who raised it up himself and handed it back. Buffett then handed Kane a tambourine and the Hawks' 21-year-old star played along with the band while dancing around the stage and kicking beach balls into the crowd.  Kane said it "was just a huge rush being on stage. The crowd was on fire."

When the song ended, Kane raised the Cup one more time and the crowd erupted for a full minute before Kane finally left the stage. He watched the rest of the concert from stage right.

In a text message to NHL.com Kane described his experience at the concert in one word.

"Blast," he wrote.

Asked to elaborate, Kane said it "was just a huge rush being on stage. The crowd was on fire."

The Cup is off to Roseau, Minn. Sunday for Dustin Byfuglien's celebration. From there it goes to Madison, Wisc. for Adam Burish.

-- Dan Rosen

Kane wins the Cup, again

08.13.10 / 6:09 PM ET

Patrick Kane played in a floor hockey game at DJ Spinners with his buddies, as well as Tim Kennedy, formerly of the Buffalo Sabres, and he again won the Stanley Cup. Kane's team won the best-of-seven tournament in Game 7, and Kane did score a goal in the final game. It was not the winner, unlike Game 6 in Philadelphia.
 
Kennedy, who was just released by the Sabres, joined in the celebration. Kane said he would look good in a Blackhawks jersey, but we all know it'd be pretty hard for them to sign him right now. Who knows. We'll see what happens.
Anyway, Kane let his friends raise the Cup over their heads when it was over, but with Cup protocol, as told to NHL.com by Cup keeper Mike Bolt, Kane had his hand on the Cup the entire time so it was legal. People who have never won the Cup are not supposed to raise it over their heads, but Bolt said it's OK as long as someone who did win the Cup has his hand on it.
 
Kane made sure to have his hands on the Cup.
 
We are now back at Kane's parents house on McKinley Parkway here in Buffalo, where everyone is getting themselves cleaned up to go to Creekside Banquet Facility in Cheektowaga for his private party. We'll have more from there.

-- Dan Rosen

First hiccup of the day
08.13.10 / 3:41 PM ET

It was nearly a devastating doozy, but breathe easy Chicago fans and Buffalonians because the first malfunction of Patrick Kane's day with the Cup has been rectified.

Kane and the Cup were stuck about three stories up in the bucket of a fire engine for about 20 minutes because the motor that controls the ladder had stopped working. After calling in the technicians, the firemen finally got their ladder working and Kane was returned successfully down to earth.

As he stepped off the ladder he was visibly shaking.

"It was a little scary, but anything with this (the Cup) is unexpected," a clearly relieved Kane said after making his way down. "I'm just happy to be out."

Kane had gone up to take photos while holding the Cup above his head. Now that decision feels slightly regrettable.

-- Dan Rosen

Mom couldn't be happier
08.13.10 / 3:21 PM ET

Donna Kane spent six weeks planning her son's big day in Buffalo. She walked out of meetings shaking her head at the magnitude of all of this.

Security. Media. Locations of tents. Modes of transportation.

It was overwhelming to Donna, but today she has seen it all come to fruition while watching her son enjoy every moment of his dream come true.

"What a happy day this is," Donna told NHL.com. "This is the best day I have had in a long time."

Donna mentioned how warming it is to her to watch Patrick interact with all the different people here, including his friends, the media, the Hawks reps, people from Bauer and New Era as well as his aunts, uncles and three sisters.

"The relationship he has with his sisters is just absolutely amazing," she said. "It's fun to see him with every different group and how he handles that moment with them. You just don't want the day to end."

Donna said the Niagara Falls visit was so special because all of those people on his bus grabbed a poncho and got themselves drenched on the Hurricane Deck. Most had been saying they wouldn't go up there.

"Patrick was out of town when I went to see it and when I got back I called him and said, 'Pat it is going to be awesome,' " she said. "He was like, 'Really!' I said, 'Pat, it is going to be the most amazing shot and you're gonna get drenched and it's going to be wonderful and so much fun.' And, it was great.

"For me, with Pat, I just wanted him to enjoy every moment because you don't know if you're ever going to be able to do it again."

-- Dan Rosen

Kane meets with local 6 ironworkers
08.13.10 / 1:40 PM ET

Terry Prendergast remembers calling out the play and watching little Pat Kane work his magic.

"Mad dog," Prendergast explained, was the play. When Kane was 8 years old Prendergast, then his coach and also a local ironworker in Buffalo, would scream mad dog and Kane, at the drop of the puck, would grab it, skate in and score a goal.

"He would always score," Prendergast said.

So, you can imagine Prendergast's excitement when Kane and the Hawks won the Cup. He was so excited that from thr fifth floor of the building he is currently working on he hung upside down and painted on a beam, "(Buzz) Pat Kane Wins Stanley Cup."

The Zzs in Buzz, which is Kane's childhood nickname, are backwards. Prendergast, of course, painted it on while he was upside down, so it's definitely a forgiveable mistake.

Prendergast is also a close and old friend Kane's father, Pat Sr. They go back to the days when they were kids. Therefore, Prendergast is part of Kane's caravan today (he even left his family vacation in Florida to be here), and Kane agreed to bring the Cup to the building to visit with the ironworkers from local 6, Prendergast's collegaues, and take pictures above the beam.

Kane wore a personalized hard hat and jersey with the ironworkers logo. He went up to the fifth floor and posed for pictures with all of the workers, Prendergast included.

"This is for all these guys, all my buddies here," Prendergast said. "This is glorious, glorious."

Kane and all the workers hooted and hollered. Kane reveled in his time with them and they reveled in the few minutes they had away from work.

"We did it for him really, not for us," Prendergast said. "With him bringing the Cup here for all these guys, it's a great thing. He's a blue collar kid and we are all blue collar guys."

-- Dan Rosen

A humbled Kane does right by his community
08.13.10 / 12:29 PM ET

Patrick Kane walked through the pediatric wing at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and wherever he went he felt the magnitude of his life and what he has become to the people in his own community.

"When I grew up playing hockey it was just for love of the game," Kane said. "It still is, but now you realize how much you can give back, too."

Kane gave back in a big way today by bringing the Cup to the cancer patients, or as he said, the people that otherwise would not be able to come see it anywhere else.

He walked through and met with several kids, roughly 6-14 years old. It was private, but I am told emotional enough that Kane's three sisters, Erica, Jessica, Jacqueline, struggled to hold off their tears. Kane went into rooms to visit with patients and met several more in an interactive all-purpose room. He gave them all hats made by Bauer and New Era with his initials on them. He signed the hats and several shirts and jerseys.

Kane was upstairs for roughly 40 minutes before coming back down into a packed atrium where he and Dr. Donald L. Trump, the President and CEO of Roswell, addressed the crowd.

Kane talked about his humbling experience, being true to his Buffalo roots, about being a role model and finally about what he could possibly do to top his incredible year.

"An illustration of what it meant was the passion and energy in the atrium of the hospital," Dr. Trump said afterwards in a private interview in his office with NHL.com and ESPN.com. "We have had lots of events in the atrium and there were 10 times more people there for this than anything we get. That's one measure of it. It was the biggest buzz I have seen in the atrium."

Trump noticed how humbled Kane was by the visit.

"He did appreciate the position, energy and impact he was having on the people," Trump said. "He is smart enough to take that and process that and see how important it is."

"They're all special," Kane added of the kids he saw. "They're all awesome."

-- Dan Rosen

Kane shows Cup to lucky Buffalonians

08.13.10 / 10:29 AM ET

On our way to the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Patrick Kane stopped his bus so he could jump out with the Cup. That stopped traffic on the corner of Hertel and Niagara in Buffalo.

Kane stood in the middle of the street and held the Cup over his head as people stopped in their cars honked incessantly. Some even got out of their cars and one lucky guy was able to get a pic with Kane and the Cup.

All told he stopped for maybe two minutes, but he made the day for dozens of people.

-- Dan Rosen

Cup visit to Falls is highlight of one career
08.13.10 / 9:58 AM ET

Angela Berti is the spokesperson from the New York State Parks who arranged the entire stay here at Niagara Falls. She had walk throughs at the Falls with Kane's dad and then a separate one with his mom. She spent several days making sure the entire thing went off without a hitch. She even made sure they had the "big picker" near the Hurricane Deck just in case the winds got too strong and, heaven forbid, Kane dropped the Cup into the Falls.

It was time consuming and stressful for Berti, but oh so worth every minute of planning.

"On a personal level, this is the highlight of my career," Berti said in an interview with NHL.com and ESPN.com.

Berti said she, along with all of her colleagues, are big time hockey fans. She knew the Cup was coming to Buffalo and she was hoping it would make the trip north to Niagara Falls. Kane's Aunt Bonnie, who is involved in the Buffalo city council, contacted the mayor of Niagara Falls to get the planning started. The mayor contacted Angela and she took over.

"As soon as I leaked it to the staff everybody was on board," Berti said. "For state parks in general, we don't have a lot of money and we depend on events like this where we know this is going to be around the world in an hour. They will all see Niagara Falls and the Hurricane Deck. You can't buy that. It's really special."

Her party could not have gone any better, but she knew that would happen.

"You have the icon of Niagara Falls, one of the most photographed icons in the world, and then you bring something like the Stanley Cup here," Berti said, "it's just a magical combination. And, it was magical."

-- Dan Rosen

Cup, Kane get wet under HurriKane Deck

08.13.10 / 9:36 AM ET

Patrick Kane was told by Cup keeper Mike Bolt that he had to go somewhere to get a great and memorable picture with the Cup.

"I figured what better place in Buffalo than Niagara Falls," Kane said.

The pictures will most definitely last a lifetime.

Wearing his Hawks home jersey, Kane marched up the wooden steps to Hurricane Deck, located underneath the Falls on the American side. With the power of the Falls behind him, Kane lifted the Cup as the mist coming off the Falls soaked through him.

"Awesome," was a word Kane used several times while talking with the rather large contingent of reporters that are following him.

"What a rush," he said often.

Kane was joined on the deck by his family and friends. Everyone was given ponchos, but Kane and his father, Patrick Sr., chose not to wear them.

Kane said he had to get his footing and get a good grip on the Cup, but it wasn't easy. He said once he got comfortable up there the nerves went away.

When Kane's friends joined him on the deck, they ducked underneath the Falls and got even wetter. They were all hooting and hollering.

Kane stood in front of a handmade sign created by the workers at the Falls that read, "HurriKane Deck." It had a picture of Kane and the Blackhawks indian head logo flanking the words.

To Kane's left was the actual Hurricane Deck sign, and it was being hit by waves of water. Kane said he was happy they didn't make him stand in front of that sign because, "I would have gotten crushed, and we can't have anything happen to this baby (pointing at the Cup)."

Following his adventures on the deck, Kane was gifted that very sign and awarded a key to the city of Niagara by the mayor, who begged him to consider the Sabres when and if he ever becomes a free agent.

He was called a "Western New York hero."

-- Dan Rosen

Kane has his Cup

08.13.10 / 8:07 AM ET

The Stanley Cup arrived at Patrick Kane's parents' house on McKinley Parkway at 7:30 this morning. He grabbed it and took it into the middle of the street, and with the help of some local police, he stopped traffic as he raised it over his head.

Dozens honked their horns.

There is a huge gathering of people, including family, friends, reporters and neighborhood in front of the house. Some of the neighbors ran out of their house sans shirts just to see the Cup. Kane greeted many of the neighbors. This was the house he grew up in.

"This is unbelievable," Kane said. "I couldn't sleep last night."

Kane and the Cup will be shuttled around all day on a luxury limo bus. He will be joined on it by friends and family. The media is following in separate vans. Right now the caravan is en route to Niagara Falls, the first stop of the day, and we have a police escort.

"I was nervous this morning, just before it arrived," Kane said. "You spend a month planning and you want to make sure everything is perfect."

Kane said he went to bed at 10, but couldn't fall asleep until midnight. He was up at 7.

"A solid 7 hours," he said.

Next blog from Niagara Falls. Follow along with me also on Twitter at @drosennhl.

-- Dan Rosen

Kane gearing up for his Cup days

08.12.10 / 2:58 PM ET

The hero of Game 6 is ready to celebrate what he made possible. Patrick Kane is bringing the Stanley Cup home to South Buffalo on Friday.

"I am really excited for it," Kane told NHL.com in a text message, "but, I think this will be the weekend that really helps everything finally sink in from the past year."

Kane, who was maybe the only person in the house that knew his hard-angled shot beat Michael Leighton for the Cup-winning goal, will receive the trophy at his parents house early Friday and spend the better part of a day and a half celebrating in the Buffalo region. Then, early Saturday evening, Kane and some of his buddies are boarding a private plane bound for Chicago because Kane and the Cup are invited guests to a Jimmy Buffet concert.

Kane will bring the Cup on stage during Margaritaville.

Beforehand, though, Kane's schedule is packed.

After receiving the Cup at his parents house Kane is bringing it to Niagara Falls for some cool pictures at Cave of the Winds. We needed to file insurance waivers just to join him there.

After about two hours at the Falls, Kane's entourage is heading to Roswell Park Cancer Institute, where he and the Cup will visit with patients. Kane will then head to a photo opp at the construction site of a new medical building with some ironworkers whom his father is friendly with.

Kane will spend roughly two hours visiting with local police and fire officials and officers at the New Era Cap outlet in Buffalo. He will take more pictures and sign more autographs for Buffalo's finest.

From the cap store, Kane will head out to West Seneca to DJ Spinners, a roller hockey rink, where he and his buddies will play a game of floor hockey for the Cup. Kane told me they play there once a week in the summer.

From Spinners, Kane's entourage travels to Cheektowaga for his private party at Creekside Banquet Facility.

After putting in a full day Friday, Kane has several more hours with the Cup in Buffalo on Saturday before leaving for Chicago. He plans to take it to a cemetary to visit some family grave sites, plus to a rink and a pizza place. Those details are still being ironed out.

Follow Kane's time with the Cup right here on NHL.com.

-- Dan Rosen

Awe-inspiring atmosphere
08.10.10 / 8:42 AM ET

After walking the parade route for about 1 kilometer (no clue how long that is other than it didn't feel too long), the car entered what seems to be an arena-type setup where thousands of fans have waited to see Niklas. I'm not sure if I read his lips clearly, but it appears he said, "OH God!"

To be honest, the scene did deserve that reaction. Looks like everyone from this village has showed up to support Niklas.

-- Paul Vinciguerra

Carrying a tune
08.10.10 / 8:52 AM ET

In what really was a classic scene, Niklas just sang a duet to the song "Country Road," with a local politician. I always knew this rising young defenseman could carry his team if needed, but I never knew he could carry a tune. In this instance, I will say if he ever wanted a day job, since he works at night, he could receive plenty of offers.

-- Paul Vinciguerra

Awe-inspiring atmosphere
08.10.10 / 8:42 AM ET

After walking the parade route for about 1 kilometer (no clue how long that is other than it didn't feel too long), the car entered what seems to be an arena-type setup where thousands of fans have waited to see Niklas. I'm not sure if I read his lips clearly, but it appears he said, "OH God!"

To be honest, the scene did deserve that reaction. Looks like everyone from this village has showed up to support Niklas.

-- Paul Vinciguerra

Marching right along
08.10.10 / 8:22 AM ET

The marching band has begun to march, the drums are being beaten and local hero Niklas Hjalmarsson is being driven in a car through the city with thousands of kids running after the vechicle. Great scene.

-- Paul Vinciguerra

Meeting the media
08.10.10 / 8:04 AM ET

Having spent a few hours at the playground, Hjalmarsson then paid a visit to his old rink before heading over to a little media session.

After the media session, the big parade will start.

-- Paul Vinciguerra

Playground gathering
08.10.10 / 5:16 AM ET

Finishing up with pictures and quiet time at home with family, after the barn shoot, Hjalmarsson walks over to the playground where over 100 people greet him from the community. Please let me define what a playground is in Russnas, Sweden. It means two houses that attach together with a garden roughly 5000 square feet that contains grass, swings, BBQ pits, plus ax throwing and sand pits.

This is great, the whole town has come together to greet Niklas. After some dancing and a brief speech by Niklas, there was singing from a local childrens choir group, which I have to say was terrific.

The scene here is so captivating and natural to these people its amazing. Joyous celebration filled with warm smiles and genuine happiness is welcoming.

Harlmesson has now joined center stage, which is plywood on a tractor lift with hay seats. He is conducting a Q&A session right now.

Small town country this is. Cow utters are used as ketchup and mustard dispensers.

-- Paul Vinciguerra

Show and tell
08.10.10 / 4:05 AM ET

After spending a few moments taking pictures with family, Hjalmarsson headed over to his father's workplace. We actually could haved skipped there it was so close. Niklas said a little something to the factory workers, then headed off to a photo shoot in a barn.

From here, off to the playground.

-- Paul Vinciguerra

Family portrait
08.10.10 / 3:08 AM ET

Day 2 with Hjalmarsson is just get started. He is just taking a few pictures at his mom and dad's before heading off to the playground, where it all began for him.

-- Paul Vinciguerra

Nik has the knack
08.09.10 / 9:33 AM ET

Niklas Hjalmarsson has just arrived at the airport to pick up Lord Stanley and spend the next day with it.

After hoisting and kissing the Cup, Niklas has now left to go visit a childrens hospital. Afterwards, a private party for Hjalmarsson and the Cup has been arranged for the remainder of the night.

--Paul Vinciguerra

Not to be denied
08.09.10 / 6:15 AM ET

In what has to be one of the strangest moments of this trip, Air France was denying access to the Stanley Cup on its flight to Gothenburg, Sweden, because of the company's strict weight restrictions.

Luckily for us smooth talkers Phil Pritchard and Walt Neubrand, along with a few passersby who recognized the Cup, all explained the importance of the Cup's next destination.

After a brief history lesson of the Cup by Phil, Air France agreed to bend the restriction. So off to Goetnburgh for Niklas Hjalmarsson.

--Paul Vinciguerra

French finale
08.09.10 / 3:44 AM ET

As Cristobal makes his way down the Eiffel Tower he is greeted with chants and applause. He is now taking the time to sign autographs and take pictures before giving the Cup back to Phil Pritchard for its trip to Sweden.

--Paul Vinciguerra

An eyeful at the Eiffel
08.09.10 / 3:13 AM ET

The Stanley Cup has now officially reached the top of the tower. Unreal, the tower has been closed to public but open to the Cup. That's what I call pull. Cristobal is just taking it all in with his family and friends who were lucky enough to be invited. Really unbelievable up here.

--Paul Vinciguerra

Trek nearly complete
08.09.10 / 2:33 AM ET

After a few stops along the way, the Cup has finally made its way to the Eiffel Tower. Pretty soon we will make our way to the top. More details to follow ...

--Paul Vinciguerra

Majestic setting
08.09.10 / 1:22 AM ET

Well this is what we have all been waiting for -- the Stanley Cup will visit the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

After some unexpected delays, the sky taxi has taken off and is now en route to Paris. Details to follow ...

--Paul Vinciguerra

That's a wrap
08.08.10 / 3:13 PM ET

The days festivities come to an end, as Huet heads home for a private reception.

Tomorrow morning the real fun begins when a private jet will take Lord Stanley to the Eiffel Tower.

Stay tuned …

--Paul Vinciguerra

Lord Stan's the man in France
08.08.10 / 1:12 PM ET

After autograph signings and an impromptu media gathering, Huet headed down to town square where several hundred fans greeted him, chanting his name upon his arrival.

Hockey may not be the most popular sport in France, but the Cup sure is. People can't seem to get enough of Lord Stanley's Cup.

--Paul Vinciguerra

Hero of France
08.08.10 / 10:26 AM ET

After spreading some cheer at University Hospital, Huet takes the Cup to the Pole Sud Ice Rink. At the rink a banner was raised in honor of Huet winning the Stanley Cup.

A crowd of about a thousand strong were welcomed on the ice to take pictures with Huet and every single person took the chance to meet him. Cristobal truly is a hero to many here in France.

On a side note: the very generous Huet family has donated a large sum of money to the minor sports community of Grenoble.

--Paul Vinciguerra

Pioneer and a champion
08.08.10 / 8:00 AM ET

As the celebration with his former teammates dies down, Huet passes the Cup to fellow countryman, Philippe Bozon.

Bozon and Huet, the first two French born players to make the NHL, will go down in history as: Bozon, the man who paved the way for other French players and Huet, the man who brought the Cup home.

The next stop for the Cup will be a children's hospital.

--Paul Vinciguerra

A special moment
08.08.10 / 7:10 AM ET

After taking pictures with family and friends Huet makes his way over to his old ice rink.

"To me, this is the most special part," said Huet as he is greeted with hugs and kisses from his former teammates.

From the looks of all the smiling faces, it certainly appears very special for Cristobal.

--Paul Vinciguerra

Huet makes history
08.08.10 / 5:27 AM ET

History has been made. Cristobal Huet has become the first French man to receive the Stanley Cup in his homeland.

There are many events planned for today, but for now it’s time to take pictures.

--Paul Vinciguerra

It's the big time for this Brooklyn boy
08.08.10 / 3:41 AM ET

Big Paulie and the Cup have arrived in Geneva!

You know you are successful when you travel arrangements include riding in the same car with the Stanley Cup and Cup Keepers Phil Pritchard and Walt Neubrand. This Brooklyn boy makes it big!

Currently we are en route to Blackhawks' netminder Cristobal Huet. Our arrival in Grenoble will be in approximately two hours.

More details to follow …

--Paul Vinciguerra

What a knight
08.07.10 / 2:57 PM ET

As I finally catch my breath, I notice the Cup has made its way to Trencin Castle. I must say, it is truly amazing seeing Lord Stanley’s Cup inside the Castle.

Just as it has happened many times before, a crowd swarms to take picture of the Cup, Hossa and Kopecky.

After the fanfare dies down, Hossa and Kopecky are brought to center stage where they are both knighted.

Let the real partying begin!

--Paul Vinciguerra

Summit with Stanley
08.07.10 / 1:58 PM ET

We have reached the last stop of the night for the Stanley Cup: Trencin Castle.

After walking up many steep hills – Lord Stanley hitched a ride – we made it to the top of the mountain and the entrance to Trencin Castle.

As I wipe the sweat from my eyes, I admire the breathtaking sights from atop the summit.

More details to follow soon …

--Paul Vinciguerra

Last stop
08.07.10 / 12:39 PM ET

After about two hours of festivities and autograph signings, both Hossa and Kopecky have left to prepare for their last stop of the night, the Trencin Castle.

--Paul Vinciguerra

Let the games begin
08.07.10 / 11:18 AM ET

With the festivities in full swing, both Hossa and Kopecky are standing in the middle of the stage holding two falcons, yes falcons, over the Stanley Cup. This is after Kopecky beat Hossa in a pull-up match.

If you are shaking your head right now in disbelief, then imagine my surprise as I witnessed it. What was even more shocking was watching Kopecky beat Hossa 8-5 in the pull-up competition.

Anyway, it looks like both players are having a good time participating in all the planned events.

--Paul Vinciguerra

Stars of the show
08.07.10 / 10:08 AM ET

The stage, band and atmosphere are in place and the only thing missing is the 'real' entertainment.  The anxious masses roar with excitement as Hossa and Kopecky finally arrive in a minted-out Porsche, hoisting the Cup above their heads.

Singing and dancing breaks out, the crowd grows louder; even as rain begins to trickle on them. Soon, Hossa and Kopecky chants fill the air and the crowd goes nuts.

Slovakia loves their heroes.

--Paul Vinciguerra

Calm before the storm
08.07.10 / 9:35 AM ET

Following a brief reception at the rink and some well deserved lunch, the duo made their way to a children's hospital to spread some cheer and pose for photos.

Up until now, the day has been mostly low key. That is all about to change, as the players head over to town square were they are expected to be greeted by over 5,000 fans.

Looks like the real fun is about to begin, stay tuned…

--Paul Vinciguerra

Back at the rink
08.07.10 / 3:31 AM ET

While North Americans sleep, the Trencin area is wide awake and buzzing with anticipation for the arrival of Tomas Kopecky and you guessed it, Marian Hossa, at the ice rink where it all started for them, the HK Dukla stadium.

As the cars pull up and the Stanley Cup is presented by their local heroes, the 100 people in attendance let out a big roar. Making their way over to the ice, fans congratulate them and cheer.

The Cup stands at center ice now as fans await photo and autograph opportunities.

--Paul Vinciguerra

It's a party
08.06.10 / 2:27 PM ET

After spending some real quality time with his family and taking pictures at home, the Kopecky clan headed over to the Alfa Hotel to host and entertain approximately 100 guests.

To no one's surprise, Cup keeper Phil Pritchard, Marian Hossa and his family have also showed up to spend some more time with the Cup (or maybe just to support Hossa's buddy).

--Paul Vinciguerra

Meeting the mayor
08.06.10 / 9:44 AM ET

Tomas Kopecky, not trying to outstage Hossa, brings the Cup to Nova Dubinka City Hall where he and Hossa (it took 12 years for Hossa to win the Cup, so I don't think he is interested in giving it up just yet) have met the Mayor and are now posing for about 100 or so people.

--Paul Vinciguerra

Hossa hands Cup over
08.06.10 / 7:27 AM ET

Marian Hossa's last stop of the day is the Alfa Hotel, partially owned by teammate and friend Tomas Kopecky.

Hossa, in front of friends and media, has now officially handed over the Stanley Cup to Kopecky to end his 24 hours with hockey's holy grail. That is until the two friends meet up again tomorrow.

Now it's Kopecky's turn ...

--Paul Vinciguerra

Food and photos
08.06.10 / 6:52 AM ET

Next for Hossa is Retro Restaurant in Trencin. Here is enjoying a nice meal with his friends.

Then, off to the Panorama Club for a yet another photo opportunity with the Cup and his pals.

--Paul Vinciguerra

Back to where it all began
08.06.10 / 5:47 AM ET

Day 2 brought something totally different. In the pouring rain, Hossa brought the Cup to where it all began for him, the playground.

After bringing the Cup to several of his friends' houses within the same building, Hossa emerged from the cellar with 2 nets and a bunch of sticks.

This was one event Hossa would not miss out on. Hossa and his friends competed in a 3 on 3 competition in front of about 100 onlookers. At center ice sat Lord Stanley. Lots of laughs accompanied this game with Hossa even netting a few goals himself.

After the game was over everyone met at center ice to take a picture with the Stanley Cup. In true childhood spirit, Mirian Hossa, picked up one of the nets and brought it back where it belonged.

--Paul Vinciguerra

Meet the parents
08.05.10 / 11:44 AM ET

Marian Hossa's final stop with Lord Stanley tonight is his parents house. He arrives in style, hanging out of a Porsche holding the huge silver trophy.

He is greeted by his lovely mother and father. You can see where Hossa gets his build and character from as his father is huge and extremly nice.

Hossa is also welcomed very warmly by numerous friends and family.

The party begins.

A short while later, No. 81 is eating his favorite food, brinza, a white, grainy cheese, out of the Cup.

--Paul Vinciguerra

Hossa's plan
08.05.10 / 8:46 AM ET

Slovakia's native son, Marian Hossa, has decided to share his quality time with Stanley Cup with his new wife and in laws.

More details to come later.

--Paul Vinciguerra

European vacation
08.05.10 / 8:36 AM ET

Phil Pritchard has just handed the Cup to both Hossa and Kopecky at the Hotel Carlton in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Both players have smiles from ear to ear as they pose for multiple photos for the dozens of fans and media that have attended.

Afterwards, Hossa and Kopecky enter the conference room for a question and answer session.

--Paul Vinciguerra

Winding down
07.17.10 /10:36 PM ET

Duncan Keith has reached his final destination of the day -- his home, nestled right beside the biggest, most picturesque lake in Penticton.

As soon as he arrived at his "postcard" home, he jumped onto his pontoon boat with a few of his friends and family and took a quick spin over Lake Okanagan.

We had a chance to interview Duncan later in the afternoon and much of that session will be inserted into a story to run on Sunday.

Keith has obviously been overwhelmed with all the attention, but he’s certainly grateful for everything he's been able to achieve while always maintaining it took a lot of support and encouragement. In addition to his parents, his brother, Cam, and sister, Rebecca, have also played a big role.

Keith told me that he'll "probably" be married to his fiancée, Kelly-Rae Kenyon, next summer! Kenyon is also from Penticton. Right now, he's getting pics down by the water with the big prize!

--Mike G. Morreale

Keith continues to give back
07.17.10 /7:32 PM ET

Duncan Keith's memorable day in his hometown of Penticton has shifted to the Vault, a VIP reception buffet on the concourse of the South Okanagan Event Center. There's a guitarist playing some tunes and some fine food and drink to boot.

Prior to that, Keith signed hundreds of autographs and posed for pictures with all of the youngsters following his ceremony to celebrate his day with the Stanley Cup. Right now, there are well over 100 people at the Vault, getting pictures with the Cup and congratulating Keith. The reception will last until approximately 8:15 p.m. ET before Keith's private bus heads back home to his mom and dad's house.

"It'll be nice to relax and take it back to our house and maybe spend some time on the water with it and we might have to take it out on the boat and relax with it," Keith said. "The curfew is midnight … even Stanley has to sleep sometime too."

By the way, Penticton mayor Dan Ashton told me that in his 10 1/2 years on council, never before has he seen a 'Key to the City' handed out to anyone, making Keith's honor quite a story.

"The thing is, when we get the recognition that Duncan has given us (in Penticton) and when we get the opportunity to present to a young man like Duncan who means so much to us, we're going all out for it and it's an honor for us to give him the key to the city," Ashton told NHL.com.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Keith also conducted a Q&A with master of ceremonies Wally Hild during the celebration.

Here are a few highlights of that session that was held before the 5,100 in attendance. Tickets, by the way, were given away free of charge.

What was the plane ride like back to Chicago after winning the Cup?

"On the plane ride back to Chicago following our victory in Game 6, there was a lot of hooting and hollering. It was great because it was just players and coaches and we were really having a great time with the Cup there and everything. We were drinking out of it (to which the crowd became to roar)."

What kept you going in the early going with Chicago when things weren't going so well?

"I was just inspired to be in the NHL. The team may have been struggling my first couple of years, but we quickly did a total 180 and reached the Cup a lot quicker than maybe some expected."

What is most important in the position you play?

"It's important to get that puck up and get a clean breakout. You youngsters should know that it's something you have to work on and be able to get out as quick as you can."

Who are your hockey heroes?

"Mine are probably no different than anyone else. I know I'm a defenseman, but I loved to watch Cam Neely. When I was 14, I actually enjoyed Pavel Bure too. When it came to defenseman, I tried to emulate Brian Leetch, Paul Coffey and Scott Niedermayer."

--Mike G. Morreale

Keith is the "key" man
07.17.10 /4:22 PM ET

As if having July 17 recognized as “Duncan Keith Day” wasn't great enough, Penticton mayor Dan Ashton also presented Keith with the key to the city.

Keith had presented the mayor a signed Team Canada jersey for the city!

Dave Keith spoke eloquently about his son and the value of hard work and perseverance.

Duncan did a Q-and-A with MC Wally Hild, explaining just what his father stressed to him.

His advice to those youngsters in attendance?

"You have to have fun and as you get older, keep with it," he said. "You have to believe in yourself -- that's all that matters."

Keith has been wearing his Olympic gold medal throughout the day. Following the memorable ceremony, Keith posed for pictures and signed autographs for the hundreds of kids in attendance.

--Mike G. Morreale

"Duncan's Day" under way
07.17.10 /3:35 PM ET

“A day for Duncan” is now under way at the SOEC here in Penticton. Duncan has been announced and a crowd of approximately 5,100 is standing and roaring their approval.

"The most beautiful trophy in the world!" said master of ceremonies Wally Hild.

Miss Penticton 2010, Holly Anthony, offered a stirring rendition of "O Canada" and the ceremony is officially on.

Penticton mayor Dan Ashton read a proclamation announcing that July 17, 2010, as “Duncan Keith Day!” Several influential persons in Duncan’s life will be speaking for the next hour -- should be a special moment for Keith and his family.

Duncan's father, Dave, will also be offering some thoughts.

--Mike G. Morreale


Surprise gift
07.17.10 /2:49 PM ET

Just before boarding the bus and heading out to the South Okanagan Event Center, Duncan Keith presented a $10,000 donation to the Penticton District Regional Hospital.

Aaron Depner, director of business and support finance for the hospital, was taken by surprise.

"We weren't expecting that at all," Depner said. "Having that out of the blue is fantastic. It was just awesome. A lot of that money we'll be able to use to help the less fortunate so it'll be great."

We're at the Center, and there is a huge gathering about ready to erupt when the hometown hero walks out onto the stage. Keith is posing for pics now behind the scenes.

— Mike G. Morreale

Trophies on tour
07.17.2010 / 02:30 p.m. ET

Duncan Keith is continuing his tour of the hospital here in Penticton.

George Mohr, who just so happens to be 100 years old, was elated to see the Cup and the Norris Trophy when Keith wheeled them over on a cart.

"It’s amazing," he said. "I've only seen it in pictures and to see it live from a man like Duncan is great."

Ivan McLeland, who is Mohr's best friend, told me that his buddy continued skating until he was 94 years old! He stopped in order to spend more time square dancing.

Keith also autographed a hat for 12-year-old Bryce Mackay.

"I used to be a Canucks fan, but now I am a Blackhawks fan," Mackay told me. "It was really cool. Duncan is a great player and I'm glad I got a chance to meet him."

Keith also recognized his vice principal when he attended Penticton high school, Len Cox. Cox, now 79 and on dialysis, was VP at the school when Brett Hull, Paul Kariya and Andy Moog attended.

"It’s great to see these boys do so well," he told me. "It shows how compassionate he is and his softer side to remember all of us. Of course, he probably leaves that compassion on the bench when he hops on the ice,” he added with a laugh.

Keith is continuing through several floors of the hospital, speaking to and getting pics with as many patients as possible.

--Mike G. Morreale

Duncan's day with Stanley begins
07.17.2010 / 02:30 p.m. ET

After taking the 50-minute flight from Vancouver to Penticton on Saturday, it's time for Hawks' Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Duncan Keith to have his day with Stanley.

The Hawks have done a splendid job of providing a shuttle that includes Keith, so there shouldn't be any issues.

We arrived at Duncan's house in beautiful Penticton at 9:30 and the cameras began flashing. Duncan received his prize right at the airport as cup keeper mike bolt opened the suitcase containing the trophy.

Duncan’s father, Dave, became emotional when he began talking about his son's determined effort to be the best. He told me he has a speech prepared and it will include the hard work and perseverance he needed to exhibit in order to reach the top.

Keith's bantam coach, Rob McLaughlin, was also there and he recalls instructing Duncan at a time when he was a sponge a tireless competitor.

We're now in the hospital in the extended care wing and the seniors are enjoying the sights! Keith is also traveling with the Norris Trophy, so those fortunate to be on his path today will get a double surprise.

--Mike G. Morreale

A winner again
07.16.2010 / 09:49 p.m. ET

It’s all over here at Delta Arena and Chicago fans can celebrate -- again.

Team Brent Seabrook earned the cup with a 4-games-to-2 victory. The team that reached five goals first won each game.

"I saw the teams this morning and wasn't happy but it's all in fun," said Steve Law of Delta, who was on the losing side.

"We're all so happy for Brent, though," Law continued. "He's always remained the same great guy. He's never changed."

After winning the series finale, Seabrook grabbed the Cup and brought it out to the center rink spot. His roller teammates joined him in a loud celebration and picture.

He then posed for pictures with his buddies and the Cup before finally hitting the showers in anticipation for his final stop of the night -- the Tsawwassen golf club.

--Mike G. Morreale

Someone's missing
07.16.2010 / 07:49 p.m. ET

One important footnote to the roller hockey game taking place at Delta Arena is the fact that Brent Seabrook's younger brother, Keith, is not playing.

Why?

"I invited him to play but he doesn't want to jinx it," Brent said. "He wants to keep an open slate so he can look forward to winning it for real one day. I'm sure, deep down, he's pumped I won the Cup, but he's also gunning for it in another way. I can respect that."

--Mike G. Morreale


High-stakes roller hockey
07.16.2010 / 07:49 p.m. ET

So the roller hockey game is under way here at the Delta Arena -- and Blackhawks fans are sure to be holding their breath as Brent Seabrook is skating like the wind on right wing.

The winning team will win, what else, the Stanley cup. Still, Cup keeper Mike Bolt will ultimately decide what can and cannot be done with the big trophy!

By the way, these boys can skate.

And what will the winning team do with the Cup?

"We'll have to wait and see," Seabrook said with a grin.

There are just a smattering of spectators watching – it’s a private event but there are approximately 10 roller skaters aside.

Seabrook is miked and highlights of the game will be on nhl.com.

--Mike G. Morreale

Hometown hero
07.16.2010 / 05:19 p.m. ET

Following a 45-minute stay at the Delta Hospital, Brent Seabrook continued his Stanley Cup tour to Grauer Park Delta Arena, where hundreds of children, who also happen to be aspiring hockey fans, awaited their opportunity for a group picture with the hometown hero.

Teresa Cooper, executive director of the Delta Hospital Foundation, actually got emotional when I spoke to her about how meaningful it was to have Seabrook visit the senior citizens and patients within the hospital

"I think if you ask anybody, the sense of community here and the passion to serve the community are what bring us so close together," Cooper told NHL.com. "The community even within the hospital is fantastic. Having someone from the community who's accomplished so much, come in and share that sense of community with us is just amazing. There are people who he has seen already ... This will be one of shining moments of their life. It's overwhelming and just amazing."

Seabrook then reached the Delta Arena and was introduced to a large turnout by 11th-year mayor Lois Jackson. Jackson, incidentally, grew up in Sudbury, Ont., before moving to the area in 1968. She admitted to being a Canucks fan but was rooting for the Hawks once her Canucks were eliminated.

"There's something so glistening about the Cup," an energetic Jackson told me. "People have said what they think it should or shouldn’t look like, but I think it's absolutely spectacular. We were very lucky to have the Memorial Cup here a couple of years ago, and we had pictures of that, but this is something else all together. All these children here are thinking one day their dream will come true. To have that accomplishment makes you feel pretty humble."

Seabrook was humble, too. "I want thank everyone for coming out and for all the support. It's been a great day. I hope all the kids here can love out their dream."

"This is a community event," Jackson said. "We have so many young people that we have encouraged for so many years to be involved in hockey and other sports. This has been a dream for so many Canadian children and we have seen that dream realized in our community for Brent in Tsawassen and Delta and Troy (Brouwer) in North Delta. I think it makes all the hard work we do come to life. People can't stop smiling."

--Mike G. Morreale

Firemen's festivities
07.16.2010 / 02:25 p.m. ET

Brent Seabrook donned the fireman's lid and received plenty of hearty handshakes at the Delta fire department.

"It's huge for us to have Brent do this for us," Fire Chief Dan Copeland said. "During the playoffs, the topic of the whole department were the games. Our productivity went down but for a good cause -- to support one of our own.

"It's unbelievable that two Delta kids (Troy Brouwer was the other) won the Cup. My son played with Troy so for me it's really special. It gives me goose bumps. I've never been this close to something like this so its great!"

Seabrook hopped on top of a fire truck with the Cup and was surrounded by officers.

--Mike G. Morreale

Expressions of wonder
07.16.2010 / 01:45 p.m. ET

The expression on the faces of all the children -- and adults for that matter -- when Brent Seabrook entered the Delta Secondary School was priceless. Many autistic children got a chance to sit on the bleachers inside the school gym once Seabrook arrived.

I had a moment with 14-year-old Shea Dahlam of North Delta.

"The Cup is great!" he told me. "Its shinier than I thought."

When I asked him if he knew Seabrook, he said, "I do now!" With a big smile.

The next stop was the police station here in Deilta, where Brent and the Cup were a big hit.

Police chief Jim Cessford made a nice presentation before pictures were taken.

We're now rolling into the local fire department.

--Mike G. Morreale

Back to school
07.16.2010 / 01:15 p.m. ET

Before Seabrook stopped at the secondary school, he hopped into his F-350 4x4 Harley Davidson truck with his dad, Gary, and visited with Vancouver Giants owner Ron Toigo some 10 minutes away.

Some fantastic pictures were taken and Toigo discussed how happy he was that Seabrook offered to bring the Cup to his humble home. Seabrook and Toigo's son played together as youngsters.

We're now en route to the Delta Secondary School.

It's a beautiful day in Delta!

--Mike G. Morreale

Family time
07.16.2010 / 12:15 p.m. ET

Brent Seabrook spent a little over an hour getting pics with family and friends and, while that took place, I had an opportunity to chat with Brent's mom and dad, Suzanne and Gary.

"I'll never forget that parade with the cup in Chicago ... That was something I'll never forget," Suzanne told me.

Gary wanted to set the record straight that while Brent was born at Richmond Hospital in B.C., he was raised in Delta. So, at his request, it is now official.

Brent is now getting prepared for his stop of the day at the Delta Secondary School to speak with and take pics with the autistic children in the area.

--Mike G. Morreale

Seabrook takes the Cup
07.16.2010 / 11:15 a.m. ET

Brent Seabrook is awake, and Cup keeper Mike Bolt has handed him his prize for the day.

Seabrook carried the Cup through his house and entered a beautifully landscaped backyard with a pool, hot tub and rolling waterfall.

He placed the Cup on a rock just above the hot tub, and several family members are getting pics while Seabrook finishes his McDonald's breakfast.

Seabrook is getting congratulatory hugs and handshakes all around!

--Mike G. Morreale

Seabrook ready for day with Cup
07.16.2010 / 10:45 a.m. ET

The Keeper of the Cup, Mike Bolt, has arrived at Brent Seabrook's home in Delta, British Colombia.

We've discovered that Brent has two dogs -- Knox and 3-1/2-month-old Stanley.

Knox is actually named after Johnny Knoxville of "Jackass" movie fame. Stanley was either going to be named Gunner or Stanley.

We all know how that turned out!

--Mike G. Morreale

Blueline Connection to spend time with Stanley
07.14.2010 / 8:45 a.m. ET

So the 'Summer with Stanley' tour continues through beautiful British Columbia this weekend when the KeithBrook Connection has their turn!

That's the undeniable twosome of Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook. And NHL.com will be there. I'll be there to log the event the best I can, along with Ryan Bader and Jason Lowther from the Studios department.

On Wednesday, of course, forward Colin Fraser -- who was traded to Edmonton last month -- brought the Stanley Cup to his hometown of Surrey. On Thursday, it was forward Troy Brouwer's turn as he was assisted by Cup keeper Mike Bolt and Walt Neubrand throughout Delta and Surrey.

On Friday, 6-foot-3, 218-pound defenseman Seabrook gets his shot with the Holy Grail. Seabrook was born in Richmond, B.C., and now resides in Tsawwassen, which is just south of Richmond via either the George Massey Tunnel or the Alex Fraser Bridge.

Tsawwassen, by the way, means "Land Facing the Sea". How appropriate. Seabrook was second behind Keith in ice time during Chicago's Stanley Cup march and finished with 4 goals, 11 points and a plus-8 rating in 22 playoff contests. He was also an Olympic gold medalist.

Keith, the 2009-10 Norris Trophy winner, will spend his day with the Cup on Saturday. Born in Winnipeg, the 6-1, 196-pounder now resides in Penticton, B.C., about a 90-minute plane ride east of Vancouver.

Keith, also an Olympic gold medalist, and Seabrook were stalwarts as a pairing for coach Joel Quenneville. In the playoffs, Keith was tops on the team in ice time (28:11) and had 2 goals, 17 points and a plus-2 rating in 22 postseason contests.

By the way, Keith turns 27 on Friday!

--Mike G. Morreale

Toews at home
07.12.10 / 9:08 p.m. ET

Everyone we spoke to over the last two days talked about the down home family values Toews has. They gave credit to his parents, Bryan and Andree Gilbert.

Now we know why.

Toews and his family were kind enough to let NHL.com into their lovely and warm South St. Vital home. We sat at the kitchen table with Bryan and Andree, talking about family, hockey, business and life. You would never know that their son was a local superstar, the most famous person in Winnipeg right now.

They are just kind, simple, proud people. Bryan is an electrician and Andree works in marketing.

They had Chinese food delivered and along with Jonathan, insisted that we enjoy it with them.

It's easy to see now why Toews is the way he is. His parents have a great influence on him and his brother, David (a New York Islanders prospect who followed Jonathan to the University of North Dakota).

They gave us a tour of the modest house on Sloan Crescent. Upstairs on the right is Jonathan's room, which is exactly how he left it -- save for the newly painted barren walls.

Jonathan didn't want his parents to change a thing, so he remains angry that his parents painted the walls.

However, the 65 medals and 35 trophies and awards remain hanging or sitting on the mantle.

There are eight medals from his minor hockey days and several more from his time at Shattuck-St. Mary's.

Bryan brought two other important pieces of hardware into the room while we were in there: the Stanley Cup and the gold medal.

In the closet are several jerseys, including the one he wore in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. There are even some of his books from UND days.

Outside in the back, beyond the tall wooden fence, is an open grass field where Bryan constructed a 120 x 53 ft. ice rink for his boys and their buddies. He has since given the pieces, including the boards, to a neighbor two houses down who has young children.

We were there at a quiet time -- down time for the Toews family. Jonathan, who was so tired he was falling asleep on the couch, was trying to catch a second wind so he could go out for one last night with the Cup. He arranged for 20 of his buddies to be on an exclusive list for a local bar.

Andree and Bryan stayed home for a quiet, normal night by themselves. They earned it.

-- Dan Rosen

Another dream moment
07.12.10 /2:33 p.m. ET

Cole Magnusson, 11, has a story to tell all of his friends for years to come. He got to wear Jonathan Toews' gold medal around his neck.

Cole also got Toews' autograph and a picture with the Stanley Cup during the captain's afternoon visit to the Children's Rehabilitation Foundation, but the medal was extra special.

"Fantastic," said Cole's ecstatic mother, Marilyn Klassen-Magnusson. "I think I am more excited. It was very thrilling to see Cole have a gold medal around his neck. It makes me well up."

Marilyn said Cole is just getting into hockey, and his interest revved up during the Olympics. He was wearing his Team Canada jersey Monday.

Cole receives occupational and physiotherapy at the rehab center because he has mild cerebral palsy.

"We are going to try sledge hockey with him soon," Marilyn said. "I think he is big enough to fit in the small sled now."

Marilyn was particularly impressed with Toews.

"It goes to show you what kind of person he is to bring it here to the kids. Winnipeg is so proud of him.

"We are going to keep this moment alive. We have all these pictures and we have it on camera. This is special. I think Cole will be talking about this for years to come."

-- Dan Rosen

Teeing off
07.12.10 /11:38 a.m. ET

Day 2 of the captain's day with the Cup started at the Pine Ridge Golf Course for the Boston Pizza Jonathan Toews Fore Kids Golf Classic. Prior to teeing off, Toews answered questions from the 144 participants -- 72 kids and 72 adults. He was joined by Jim Treliving, a Hockey Canada and Boston Pizza exec.

Leave it to a bunch of kids to ask tougher questions than seasoned hockey reporters.

"Did the Stanley Cup change (friendships) because you beat a lot of your Olympic teammates to win it?"

Toews, stunned a bit at the question, proceeded to tell a story.

"Last week the Olympic team got together again in Edmonton to get our rings and Mike Richards, the captain of the Flyers, is from Kenora (Ont.) and he had to drive to Winnipeg to fly to Edmonton. We were on the same flight and since we are hockey players people were looking at us. We sat right next to each other for the entire flight and I think people thought we were going to fight."

After drawing laughs from the crowd, Toews continued to say they are friends off the ice and that's what makes this so special. They can remain friends despite the on-ice competition.

"We are classy guys," he said, speaking for hockey players at large.

How many times were you hit by Chris Pronger?

At this point the MC for the event, Ace Burpee, a local radio DJ, asked, "Legal hits or illegal hits? He's no saint out there."

Toews laughed, knowing full well how Pronger brilliantly toes the line.

"I saw a clip the other day when I went around the net to try to hit him. He put his shoulder down and into me and laid me flat on my back. It wasn't pretty, but I bounced right back up. It's a good thing we had Big Buff (Dustin Byfuglien) on our team to knock him down."

He was asked the obligatory question of which is better, the gold medal or the Stanley Cup?

Toews is a firm believer that it is the Cup because of the grind you have to endure to win it.

Burpee added, "I like the position that you're in that you can answer that question. Which one was better, the gold medal you won or the Stanley Cup you won a few months later? That's not a bad position."

Burpee then mentioned to Treliving that there were thoughts that Hockey Canada wouldn't pick Toews for the Olympic team.

"Who was in that room?" he asked.

Treliving had no idea, but said there were debates about how the team should be constructed.

Clearly Toews was the right choice since he was voted the top forward in the tournament.

Toews also talked about how nervous he was before Game 6 against Philadelphia.

"It was such a long day. I had never been so nervous before a game. I couldn't sleep the night before. I kept thinking if we lose this game I don't know how I am going to do this again. I don't know how I'm going to handle a Game 7."

He said he was just as petrified when he was named captain, too.

"I never wanted to admit it at the time but I was so nervous. I didn't score a goal for the first 13 or 14 games of my first season as captain, so obviously I was putting a lot of pressure on myself."

He was asked if he is sad that players like Byfuglien, Kris Versteeg and Andrew Ladd are no longer teammates.

"I can't tell you how disappointed I am about it, but we all kind of knew it was going to happen. This was going to happen either way, if we won or not, so it's better that we won."

-- Dan Rosen


Vive la France!
07.12.10 /10:00 a.m. ET

As the Stanley Cup summer tour continues through North America, the Fédération Française de Hockey sur Glace sent an email recently stating that Cristobal Huet will present the Cup in and around Paris on Aug. 8 and 9. The goaltender is the first French-born and trained player in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup, and this visit will mark the first time the Cup has ever been in France.

The preliminary itinerary has Huet brining the Cup to the Pôle Sud Skating Rink in Grenoble before a party that evening in the city center on Sunday. This event will be held with Huet's former French club team, Brûleurs de loups de Grenoble.

The following day, Huet and the Cup will be present in Paris at the foot of the Eiffel Tower for a series of photos to meet the press and the fans.

-- Rocky Bonanno

A Hero's Exit
07.11.10 /6:06 PM ET

After signing autographs for what seemed like an eternity, but really was only about two hours, Toews led a procession through a winding fenced off area that included the Cup, Conn Smythe, family and, of course, the NHL.com crew, including myself and Josh Landau and Kyle Liggon from the Studios department.

Bryan Toews, Jonathan's father, took turns carrying the Cup with keeper Mike Bolt. Toews' cousin grabbed the Conn Smythe.

The scene was nuts. Toews continued to sign autographs as he made his way through the crowd. They chanted his name.

Word around here is that Toews drew a bigger crowd today than the Queen of England, who was in town last week.

At the end of the winding fences several police officers had to fend off the fans chasing Toews and escort him to the bus. He made it safely.

We are now parked in front of Andree Gilbert and Bryan Toews' lovely, modest home. I'm told its a quick pit stop en route to the private party Toews is having in a St. Vital restaurant.

By the way, Toews said his hand feels OK despite signing so many autographs today.

— Dan Rosen

Mentor sings Toews' praises
07.11.10 /4:57 PM ET

One of the proudest moments in Thom Gross' life is when Toews told Don Cherry on Hockey Night in Canada that he had the biggest influence on Toews' youth hockey career.

It was prior to the '06 Draft and Gross remembers it vividly remembers it. He also remembers receiving calls from other athletes he trained that didn't make it professionally telling him the same thing.

"My phone was ringing off the hook," Gross told NHL.com.

So, you can imagine how swelled with pride Gross is today watching Toews celebrate with the community.

"I come from the same place he does in thinking there are a lot of people that play important roles in the development in all our kids, whether they are as successful as him or not nearly as successful," Gross said. "But, I gotta be honest, I'm super proud."

Gross coached Toews in the winter and summer and he trained him in between. Starting at age 12 he had Toews running hills and sprints. On the ice he taught him how to be a two-way player.

Gross said he still watches Toews from the perspective of his coach.

"I think of the things we had to develop in his game that all these people have no idea about," Gross said. "Because of his commitment to getting better he was easy in that respect, but I remember we had to develop certain defensive aspects to his game. He is such an offensive player, but you gotta be a two-way player. I still make sure he has his defensive zone coverage and he is winning the faceoffs right. That's not going to go away."

But, Gross also said he is a family friend first and foremost.

"If he is ever on TV, I don't miss a minute," Gross said. "I never missed a minute of any shift he had in the entire playoffs, not one. And that's only because we are that proud of him."

— Dan Rosen

New honor for hometown boy
07.11.10 /4:00 PM ET

Mayor Katz said, "What do you give the guy who seemingly has it all at just 23 years old?" Then, he brought Toews over to an easel with a cover on it.

"Jonathan," Katz said, "this is something you don't already have."

He unveiled the cloth and officially the Dakota Community Centre was renamed the Jonathan Toews Community Centre.

Toews was stunned.

"I don't know what to say. You put me on the spot here."

— Dan Rosen

Get that man some hand sanitizer
07.11.10 /3:32 PM ET

They were snapping pictures and running to the car to slap a high five with the man of the day and to touch the trophy closest to their hearts.

And, there were thousands of them. Thousands!

Toews just paraded the Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy from Ecole-Christian Lesperance to the Dakota Community Centre, and now he needs some jhand sanitizer because he tried his best to shake hands or slap five with as many excited fans as possible.

They would approach his yellow corvette and walk away screaming.

"I just touched the Cup."

"I just got a high-five."

"I can't believe how close I am to it."

"Holy ?+*@."

It was a scene, man. Oh, it was a scene.

A rough estimate had to be 10,000 people, but there may have been more. They camped out for hours along John Forsyth Road, Warde Avenue and Dakota Street to be a part of the celebration.

They enveloped Toews, tagging along behind the car after he slowly cruised by. Finally a cop car was able to get in between them, but even it struggled to control the crowd.

They took up half the road, leaving just enough room for the corvette to squeeze through.

Darren Brown, a native of St. James, an area here in Winnipeg, held up a sign, "Jonathan, will you marry my wife?"

"She is common law," Brown told NHL.com. "It's OK."

Throughout the hour-plus parade, Toews couldn't contain his smile. It almost looked like he was going to cry as the sun beat on his sunglass-less face. But, he said later it was just the sun.

Toews kept a tight right arm grip on the Cup, making sure it wouldn't fall. Occasionally he let go to fix his bulbos Olympic ring, which was wrapped on his right ring finger.

He soaked in the atmosphere as the car turned right on Warde, left on Dakota and eventually made its way into the packed Community Centre parking lot. Toews said he saw so many familiar faces, plenty he never thought he would see again. In the crowd also was Andre Brin, the media relations guru for Hockey Canada.

Once inside the Centre, David Toews, Jonathan's brother and an Isles prospect, finally joined the celebration. He was in New York for prospect camp, which ended Saturday night.

A celebration here at the place where Toews learned the game is about to begin.

— Dan Rosen

The classic shot

07.11.10 /1:50 PM ET

No matter who gets the Cup, if there is a baby or small enough toddler around they will get placed in the bowl for a picture.

Toews took pictures with two of his cousins, Madison and Ryker Enns, sitting in the bowl.

Madison is 3 and she was loving her time in the bowl. She started dancing when big cousin Jonathan pulled her out.

Ryker is almost 6 months and, well, he didn't love it so much. He cried his whole time in the Cup. Oh well, at least one day he will be able to tell his friends he sat in the Stanley Cup.

We are on the bus now with the trophies, Toews and his family. We are heading to his old school for the parade to the Dakota Community Club.

— Dan Rosen

Winnipeg has Toews, Cup fever

07.11.10 /1:01 PM ET

As I write this Toews is sitting at a table in front of the Council Building at City Hall, below the banner hanging off Queen's Balcony that is welcoming him home, signing autographs. He has 10 Sharpies at his disposal.

The line is, shall we say, ridiculously long, but he only has 20 minutes before the tour takes us to his old school near his house. That's where the parade route begins.

The parade, which will be a seven-car parade complete with pipe bands, will be a short route to the Dakota Community Club. It was there that Toews learned to play the game. He will be honored in a celebration at the Club.

The celebration here with the mayor was incredibly received. The crowd of roughly 1,000 chanted his name throughout the ceremony.

Mayor Katz gave Toews a gold medallion for his accomplishments at the Olympics and a key to the city for captaining the Hawks to the championship.

Toews spoke briefly, but he had encouraging words for the hundreds of youngsters here to celebrate him.

"I know there are a lot of young players in Manitoba, and for all you young kids out there, keep working hard and having fun," Toews told the crowd. "There is no reason to think you can't make this dream come true, too."

Bryan Toews, Jonathan's dad, told NHL.com that he has been near tears several times already today. Upon hearing that Mayor Katz called Toews "Winnipeg's favorite son," Bryan said, "It's just so cool."

Off to the next stop.

— Dan Rosen

The hardware is here

07.11.10 /12:22 PM ET

Cup keepers Mike Bolt and Howie Borrow just arrived with the Stabley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy. They are sitting on Mayor Katz's desk right now.

It's quite a sight.

— Dan Rosen

As we wait for the Cup

07.11.10 /12:16 PM ET


Mayor Sam Katz wants everyone to know that Toews is Winnipeg's favorite son, and living proof that with strong family values, strong parenting, and a good head on your shoulders "you can actually accomplish the dream."

"He is not even 23 yet," Mayor Katz told NHL.com. "It makes me feel like I haven't accomplished much in my life based on what this guy has done at the age of 23."

The mayor is all smiles as he greets Toews and the family. He has had Toews in this office before. He honored in him '07 after winning the World Juniors, but this is different and much bigger.

The crowd outside in the courtyard has grown to well over 1,000 people waiting to see their conquering hero and his hardware.

"People have to understand what Jonathan Toews means to our community," Katz said. "If you want to talk about a true hometown hero, if you want to talk about a role model I will send you a picture of Jonathan Toews."

By the way, Mayor Katz may ask Toews if he can fish at his lake. He won a fishing trip from the mayor of Kenora, Ont., Mike Richards' hometown, when the Hawks won the Cup. It was a little mayor to mayor wager as their captains were going at it.

"I owe Jonathan for that," Katz said.

— Dan Rosen

Toews Lake

07.11.10 /11:40 AM ET

The Stanley Cup hasn't arrived yet, but there is a Toews Lake.

The newly named Toews Lake is located just north of Flin Flon, Man. It is 2 miles long and roughly the same width. It's one of roughly 100,000 lakes in the province, and this one is a pristine, fly-in only lake. There is no road that leads to it.

Toews just finished a ceremony in the Cabinet Room of the Legislature Building where Premier Greg Selinger officially unveiled the location of the lake that is named after Toews, who is a big fisherman and said he can't wait to fly in and fish out some of the wall-eye in his own lake. The Premier talked about Toews' accomplishments this year, but mainly lauded his humble, down to earth ways.

"He puts his pants on one leg at a time like the rest of us in here," the Premier said. "Keeping his skates on the ice, his feet on the ground will help him for a long time."

Toews, clearly moved by the ceremony, thanked the Premier and mentioned what an honor it is to be feted by him. He praised his family and all the children and fans in the warm room. The temperature was steaming because the room was small and it was packed. They were saying it's the most people they have ever had in the Cabinet Room, which is where all the governmental decisions are made.

Premier Selinger told me that they decided to name a lake after Toews because it was something they could do to honor him while also making it appropriate to his interests. Manitoba is known for its lakes, so it makes sense in that way, too.

"We knew he likes fishing with his dad, so it just seemed like the right thing to do," Premier Selinger said.  "It has never been named before, so we are not displacing anybody. We think it is something that will keep his name in front of Manitobans for many, many generations to come."

The ceremony did not last long, and we are now off to City Hall, where Toews will be be greeted by the Cup, brought here by Cup keepers Mike Bolt and Walt Neubrand, and honored by Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz.

— Dan Rosen

On way to Legislature Building

07.11.10 /10:28 AM ET

While waiting in the hotel lobby to get the day started I started chatting to one of the hotel workers, Colin Richardson, who told me he grew up with Toews.

Richardson said the last time he saw Toews was in Chicago just after the Hawks won. He went there with his step brothers to visit Toews and wound up hanging out with Vince Vaughn and Kevin James.

Richardson said Toews hasn't changed one bit from his childhood days. He said he has seen him get rowdy, but not surprisingly, Richardson said Toews was always the guy to get serious when the chips were down. He would get quiet and focused, just as he does now.

We are on our way to meet Toews now. He will have a lake named in his honor.

— Dan Rosen

What a day for Sharp
07.10.10 / 8:57 PM ET

En route to his parents' house for a party, Sharp stopped and took pictures with more than 100 fans who were aching to have their moment with Lord Stanley. Accommodating throughout the day, Sharp made sure each and every person who requested a photo was provided with that opportunity.

How phenomenal was Sharp today? Check this out … during his visit to the George Jeffrey Children's Center, there was actually one child who arrived late and missed his opportunity to meet the Blackhawks' forward and see the Stanley Cup. Sharp got out of his limousine and rectified the situation, which certainly provided the child with an unforgettable moment.

In closing, it was evident throughout the day that Sharp was one of the nicest pro athletes I've ever been in contact with. While one would think he'd make such a day about himself, instead he made it about everyone in the Thunder Bay community.

Next stop for the Stanley Cup? Winnipeg, Manitoba, where Chicago captain Jonathan Toews will have two days with the Holy Grail.

WATCH: Patrick Sharp on Toews' Day with the Cup |

— Paul Vinciguerra

Halfway to Winnipeg

07.10.10 /8:42 PM ET


Chicago, for me, is halfway to Jonathan Toews and the Stanley Cup, and there is no better place than O'Hare International Airport to open my portion of the Summer with Stanley blog.

This city is still aglow a month after Toews captained the Blackhawks to their first Cup championship since '61, and No. 19 gets his reward Sunday and Monday as the Cup comes to him for a two day celebration in the place where it all began.

Toews is scheduled to receive the Cup early tomorrow morning at his house and he'll be non stop for roughly 48 hours.

He will be feted by the Mayor Sam Katz, paraded through town and celebrated at the Dakota Community Club, where he played as a minor. He will visit hospitals and rehab centers and will be honored at a golf outing.

Toews, though, is mainly scheduled to do one thing:

Party!

The Cup is his. Heck, the world, at least our slice of it in the hockey community, belongs to Captain Serious.

We will be there to see him lighten up and soak it all in. Follow along here and on my Twitter page @drosennhl.

The next entry will be from Winnipeg, and maybe with Stanley right nearby.

— Dan Rosen

Take me out to the ballgame

07.10.10 /4:55 PM ET


After spending an hour at his house with the Cup, Sharp paid a visit to the field where he used to play baseball and raised the Cup at the pitchers mound while players gathered around him. Sharp also met his old coach, who gave him a ride on his cart back to his limousine.

WATCH: Patrick Sharp on reaching rockstar status |

— Paul Vinciguerra

It's all about the kids

07.10.10 / 3:35 PM ET

Our next stop with Patrick Sharp was at the Boys & Girls Club of Thunder Bay, where a group of anxious kids had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the Stanley Cup up close.

I had the chance to speak with Albert Aiello, who is the Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Thunder Bay. Naturally, Aiello had nothing but praise for Sharp, who once again saw to it that every kid in attendance received a picture and/or autograph.

"He's living proof that every kid has potential," Aiello told NHL.com.

From there, Sharp brought the Stanley Cup to a neighbor's house, where he had a few laughs with friends and family.

WATCH: Patrick Sharp talks about his day with the Cup |

— Paul Vinciguerra

Autographs and pictures for everybody!

07.10.10 / 2:10 PM ET


Patrick Sharp just left the Fort William Gardens, where he greeted and took pictures with roughly 1,000 visitors.

This arena, which seats close to 5,000 fans, was where Sharp played his junior hockey with the Thunder Bay Flyers from 1998-2000. Sharp was able to sit at his old locker and spoke with old teammates, as well as friends and family members. The session was only supposed to last until 1 p.m., but Sharp stayed late and made sure everyone received an autograph and/or picture. Many of the hockey-crazed folks here had tears in their eyes, and Sharp fought tears himself when he was announced and came out with the Stanley Cup.

From there, Sharp took the Cup to the George Jeffrey Children's Center in Thunder Bay, where roughly 50 people were able to meet the Hawks' winger. Once again, Sharp signed plenty of autographs and took pictures, only this time with special-needs children. Everyone is all smiles.

WATCH: Patrick Sharp on the most memorable part of the day |

— Paul Vinciguerra

A memorable day begins

07.10.10 / 10:05 AM ET

Greetings from Thunder Bay, Ontario, where Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp is enjoying his moment in the sun.

Just a few moments ago, Sharp was handed the Stanley Cup by keeper Mike Bolt at the airport here and will now spend the day with the trophy he helped Chicago win for the first time since 1961 last month.

As expected, the crowd here went crazy when Sharp raised the Stanley Cup above his head. He'll spend the next couple of hours at autograph sessions as fans across the region flock to see their local boy with the most prestigious trophy in all of sports.

Check back later to learn more about Sharp's special day.

WATCH: Patrick Sharp on bringing the Cup back to Thunderbay |

— Paul Vinciguerra

It means a lot to us, we're very excited. We're looking to continue to build on [our] top core talent of young players. It's just a great opportunity for us to really build high.

— Panthers vice president of hockey operations Travis Viola after Florida won the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft Lottery