Ron Hainsey, a defenseman who played 907 NHL games before reaching the Stanley Cup Playoffs, was given the Stanley Cup first by captain Sidney Crosby after the Pittsburgh Penguins won the championship with a 2-0 victory against the Nashville Predators in Game 6 at Bridgestone Arena on Sunday.
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"It was a great honor," Hainsey, 36, said. "I was kind of lobbying for [Matt Cullen], if this is it for him, or [Chris] Kunitz getting his fourth is pretty high company. But [Sidney] wouldn't hear it, so great honor, obviously."
After Crosby received the trophy from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, he skated briefly with it before handing it to Hainsey, who was traded to the Penguins by the Carolina Hurricanes on Feb. 23.
"A guy who has played as long as he has to not even get a playoff game tells you what it's like to win," Crosby said. "I think it was just special to be able to pass it to him, somebody who has probably been through so much, played a long time and can appreciate it as much as he can. I'm sure he was pretty happy to lift it and I was certainly happy to pass it along to him."
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Hainsey then passed it off to Cullen, a 40-year-old veteran forward who may have played his final NHL game. After that, it went to Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin, Mark Streit and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who then gave it to his replacement, Matt Murray,
"The fact that he handed me the Cup there says a lot about who [Fleury] is," Murray said. "That meant so much to me, for him to do that. I don't know what made him do that, but I'm very thankful for having him around and to call him a friend and a mentor. He's a special human being."
Murray handed it to Trevor Daley; the trophy then went to Phil Kessel, Patric Hornqvist, Carl Hagelin, Kris Letang (who was injured and did not play in the playoffs), Nick Bonino, Ian Cole, Justin Schultz, Olli Maatta, Brian Dumoulin, Conor Sheary, Bryan Rust, Scott Wilson, Tom Kuhnhackl, Chad Ruhwedel, Carter Rowney, Jake Guentzel, Josh Archibald and coach Mike Sullivan.
Video: PIT@NSH, Gm6: Hainsey discusses his first Cup victory