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MUSICK: Blackhawks' championship moment unbelievable

Published: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 12:25 a.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 12:57 p.m. CST
Caption
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews celebrates with the Stanley Cup on Monday night after his team beat the Boston Bruins, 3-2, in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals in Boston. (AP Photo/Dave Sandford, NHL Images )

BOSTON – Some things, you have to see to believe.

Some things, you see, and you still don’t believe.

Well, do you see that shining, spectacular, silver Stanley Cup?

Believe it.

The Blackhawks are the 2013 Stanley Cup champions.

Let that sink in for a moment.

The Blackhawks are the 2013 Stanley Cup champions.

Unbelievable.

The most wonderful 17 seconds in franchise history ensured that Lord Stanley’s Cup is headed to the streets and homes and bars of Chicago for the second time in the past four seasons. The Hawks trailed, 2-1, against the Boston Bruins with less than 90 seconds to go and had pulled goaltender Corey Crawford for an extra skater when Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland delivered a one-two punch that sent shockwaves through TD Garden and fireworks soaring into the skies of Chicago.

Bickell stuffed in the game-tying goal with 1:16 remaining to tie the score at two. Seventeen seconds later, Bolland punched in the go-ahead goal to give the Hawks a 3-2 lead.

The Hawks held on for dear life for the next 59 seconds to win the Stanley Cup Final in six games.

Can you believe it?

On the ice, Marian Hossa shook his head in amazement. Hossa wore the body of a 34-year-old man, but inside of him beat the heart of a dazzled little boy.

“This is like a fairy tale,” Hossa said. “We were down, almost end of the game.

“All of a sudden, two goals in 17 seconds. And we’ve got a Cup.”

This is better than a fairy tale. This is real life.

The Hawks got a Cup, and it was beautiful.

Jonathan Toews was the first to hoist the 34-½ pound trophy that seemed weightless above his head. Toews handed the Cup to Michal Handzus, who handed it to Jamal Mayers, who handed it to Michal Rozsival, who handed it to Bolland, who handed it to Hossa, who handed it to Johnny Oduya, who handed it to Corey Crawford, and on and on and on.

Players’ families crowded the entrance to the ice, waiting in sneakers and dress shoes and flats for the gates to open so they could shuffle into the arms of their sweaty loved ones. A little girl in a No. 10 Patrick Sharp jersey looked toward the rafters, amazed at where her feet had delivered her.

It’s the same feeling Hawks fans will wake up with Tuesday. If they even went to bed.

During a season filled with amazing moments, Bolland’s go-ahead goal fit right in. Upon scoring, he shed his stick, he shed his gloves, and he shed every worry he ever had in the world.

How big were his eyes when he saw the puck cross the goal line?

“They were huge,” Bolland said. “They almost popped out of my head.”

How appropriate given the Hawks’ eye-popping season.

The Hawks shattered the NHL’s record by earning a point in their first 24 consecutive games – half of the shortened season. Their home sellout streak increased to 223 and counting. They won the Presidents’ Trophy with a 36-7-5 record and entered the playoffs as the favorites to win the Cup.

And then they won it.

Unbelievable.

In 2010, the Hawks beat the Philadelphia Flyers to snap a 49-year championship drought. That Cup was about decades of missed opportunities and a long, painstaking return to relevance.

This Cup is about one joyous season, one joyous moment.

It’s a moment that almost never happened.

Remember the dark days of September, October, November, December and January? A nasty labor dispute wiped out hundreds of games and threatened to end the season before it started.

As the calendar flipped to 2013 and rinks remained dark, Bolland pondered a lost season.

“You do get worried,” Bolland said. “But everything went well. Look where we are now.”

Yes, look.

It’s beautiful.

Look at Jonathan Toews’ goal-scoring footrace past Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, who lumbered like an overweight cop chasing after a desperate suspect. Beautiful.

Or look at Toews’ pinpoint pass to set up Bickell’s goal. Beautiful.

“This group of guys right here, they make you look good every day,” Toews said. “It’s a special group. A special team.”

Look at Andrew Shaw’s puck-marked face and the blood-stained ice that needed to be scooped up by shovel. Beautiful.

Look at Joel Quenneville’s two-time champion mustache. Beautiful.

Look at Patrick Kane’s Camaro-loving mullet and new Conn Smythe Trophy. Beautiful.

Look at Bickell’s row of missing teeth. Beautiful.

Look at Crawford’s two-sentence summary of achieving his greatest dream. Beautiful.

“My whole life,” Crawford said. “My whole life to get to this point.”

Go ahead, Hawks. Hoist the Cup.

Pop the champagne.

Start the parade.

Raise the championship banner.

It’s all going to be beautiful.

Before he left the ice to celebrate privately with his teammates, Rozsival stared toward the rafters. He looked both nothing and everything like that little girl in the No. 10 Sharp jersey.

“It was just, I don’t know,” Rozsival said, searching for words.

He found them.

“Happiness everywhere.”

• Northwest Herald sports columnist Tom Musick can be reached at tmusick@shawmedia.com and on Twitter @tcmusick.

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