PHILADELPHIA -- Heading back to Philadelphia for the first time since winning the Stanley Cup in 2010 is bound to bring back some emotional memories for Chicago Blackhawks’ players who are still with the team.
Nine players and two coaches remain from that championship squad and when they take the ice at the Wells Fargo Center it’ll be for the first time since June 9, 2010 when they hoisted the cup by night’s end.
Before leaving for Pennsylvania on Wednesday, three players were asked their initial thoughts in returning to a place undoubtedly etched in their memories forever.
He scored the most famous Blackhawks’ goal in 49 years, winning Game 6 in overtime and ending the series. Such an iconic moment in Chicago isn’t as easy to recall for Kane as you might think.
“The obvious answer would be the goal but to be honest with you that whole thing is blacked out from my memory,” Kane said. “The only thing I really remember about that when I watch the replays is the celebration on the ice and in the locker room after. That was something very special. I had four buddies down with my family, all your teammates, all the people that are close to you in the organization. It was a fun moment. And a great couple weeks after, too.”
Kane was pressed on why he can’t remember details of his most famous moment as a professional hockey player.
“I guess you can’t believe it’s something that happened to you,” he said. “Surreal is a good word. I don’t remember making the move or shooting the puck, maybe running down the ice a little bit to [goalie] Antti Niemi. After, I remember looking for my family and my buddies on the ice. It all seemed like it happened so quick.”
The Hawks’ center is part of a small fraternity of hockey players who get to touch the Stanley Cup first when the commissioner of the league hands it to them moments after the game ends.
“I had a solid five seconds before I handed it off to [Marian Hossa] but it was a good five seconds, and I made sure I had a little skate with it later on,” he said. “But to be the first to hoist it was awesome.”
Toews thinks memories will start flowing back as soon as the Hawks reach their hotel.
“Just being back in that locker room, we’ll have some old stories we can tell,” Toews said. “I’m sure the new guys are sick enough about hearing all that stuff. They’ll have a couple more days of it I guess.”
He was finishing his first full year in the NHL and it came to a close with a career highlight moment -- hoisting the Cup. Hjalmarsson was asked his initial thoughts of being back in Philadelphia for the first time since that night.
“Happiness,” he said. “It’s pretty much the only word. Explosion. Just a bunch of feelings coming up at the same time. It was a pretty cool feeling that you definitely want to experience at least one more time.”
Hjalmarsson thinks he’ll feel it most when the Hawks gather Thursday morning for practice at the Wells Fargo Center.
“It’s probably when you’re entering the arena,” he said. “We had good feeling last time we were there. We won. Hopefully we can bring back those feelings and memories and have a good game in there.”