Filip Forsberg won the Stanley Cup so many times in his backyard while growing up, he lost track. Same with Colton Sissons. Austin Watson dreamed about it over and over again.
It's a simple fact of life - every child who has ever held a hockey stick on an ice rink, driveway, tennis court or any other spot conducive to shooting a puck into a net in North America and other parts of the world, has scored the goal to win the Stanley Cup. Now, for a select few, those dreams are incredibly close to reality.
As members of the Nashville Predators entertained throngs of reporters from all over globe during the Stanley Cup Final Media Day on Sunday in Pittsburgh, they couldn't help but recall those moments as children when they were the heroes of the neighborhood.
"I can't even count," Sissons said of the number of occasions he won the Cup as a youngster growing up in British Columbia. "That's being said for all of us standing here today. This is why we played hockey, from kids watching other guys hoist the Stanley Cup, and you get those chills down your back that you want to feel one day. Now here we are, we have our opportunity."
It was almost one week ago when the Preds became Western Conference Champions, but they've had to play the waiting game while everything else fell into place. Now that they're here, the magnitude of the situation is finally starting to sink in.
"As soon as you land and you kind of get those jitters, that excitement," defenseman Matt Irwin said. Then when you bus through that tunnel and the city [of Pittsburgh] opens up, I think that's pretty cool. That's kind of like walking through the door of the Stanley Cup Final."
Video: Josi and Subban address media prior to Game 1
For defenseman Yannick Weber, the Stanley Cup wasn't always the dream, however. Growing up in Switzerland in the 1990s, young players like Weber didn't necessarily think the NHL was even a possibility. But once he advanced in his young career and began to play in international tournaments, realizing he was not only playing against peers from North America, but on the same skill level, he started to think of a certain piece of silver a bit more often.
"When you've played in the League for a while, you know how much it takes, how much you have to be in the right spot and with the right team," Weber said. "I've been on some good teams that maybe had a chance to make it far and I've been on some teams where you know this probably isn't going to be the year you win. So being on that team this year, knowing we have the right pieces to make it far and then actually having a great playoff series, it's definitely, every player at the start of year that's their goal, so it's nice to be one of the teams that actually made it."
And while the Predators enjoyed the nostalgia that comes with the situation, they also know it's time to refocus and visualize what's to come against a Pittsburgh club that completed this journey just last year.
"Being here today and just taking this all in as best as I can, this whole past week kind of puts everything into perspective," Sissons said. "Now it's just time to focus back in, get back to business as usual. The reason we got ourselves here, we have to continue that."
If they do just that, perhaps someone on the Nashville roster will indeed have everything come full circle.
"I'm just going to try and enjoy this," goaltender Pekka Rinne said of the Final. "It's amazing and I can't wait for it to start tomorrow."