There is one thing that really hits you when you see the Stanley Cup in person, and it is even more evident at the end of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Notice to Internet Explorer Users
The silver chalice has quite a presence.
The uninformed could walk into a room with the Stanley Cup, have no idea what hockey is, and recognize the trophy is something special.
Wednesday night in Anaheim, more than 17,000 people experienced that feeling. For a small handful, it was even more significant.
The image of Scott Niedermayer handing the Stanley Cup to his brother, Rob, has been played across North America. When Scott's New Jersey Devils defeated Rob's Ducks in the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals, he described the feeling as bittersweet.
Even his own mother was not happy, as she wanted Rob to win, reasoning Scott had already won two Stanley Cups.
There was no confliction this time, as nhl.com's Frozen Moment for Thursday proves. The two brothers and their mother, Carol, pose with the Stanley Cup.
One big, happy family.
In the post-game celebration, the Stanley Cup then went to one big, happy blueliner. Chris Pronger, who has been a lightning rod in virtually every NHL city over the past few seasons, lifted the cup over his head -- which meant it was about a foot higher off the ice than when most players do so.
What makes Pronger's standard feat of lifting the cup more impressive is the revelation he played the final two periods with a separated shoulder. As the Versus commercial said, his shoulder was separated, but he lifted it with his heart.
From there, it was well-liked Teemu Selanne who got his moment with the cup. There is much speculation Selanne will hang up the skates and go out a winner, and if he does, the enduring image of the Finnish Flash will be with hockey's holy grail raised above his head.
Few athletes have been more popular in the region than the outgoing Selanne, and the "Win it for Teemu" rally cry had become very popular among locals in recent weeks.
Sean O'Donnell, Brad May, Todd Marchant, Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Andy McDonald, and the rest of the Ducks all took their turns with the Stanley Cup in the following minutes. Once the skate was over, the Ducks took dozens of pictures with their families in a celebration that extended more than 90 minutes.
When the cup finally left the Pond through the southwest club seat entrance minutes before midnight, it made an appearance in a VIP tent in the Honda Center parking lot. The bittersweet moment was watching dozens of non-VIP fans -- you know, the ones who actually pay for their tickets -- look wistfully as the Stanley Cup was wisked by them and into the heavily guarded tent.
For the average fan, unfortunately, there was not a lot of option for celebration. While the VIP tent was going strong at midnight, virtually all area bars had closed and traffic was no heavier than a typical Wednesday evening.
As far as those who were in the arena, the Anaheim crowd was great in the series, taking their volume to a level never previously reached in a Southern California rink. And some people in the city certainly caught Ducks fever.
Still, it was disheartening to look around at midnight and see the streets quiet. Even 90 minutes after the game, there were only a small handful -- less than ten -- cars cruising Katella Boulevard. Those fans made up for lack of numbers with great enthusiasm, but it did not feel like a city that had just won a top-level championship.
Thursday morning, hockey fans woke to the Ducks being the lead story in the Los Angeles Times and the Orange County Register. There will be no parade, but a rally in the Honda Center parking lot -- ironically, in virtually the same place as the VIP tent -- will be held Saturday night. There will not be 1 million-plus as Detroit drew, or the 400,000 who attended the parade in a much-smaller Denver metro area.
And there certainly will not be the millions who would attend a Toronto Maple Leafs Stanley Cup parade.
For the tens of thousands who will be there, however, they will not mind. For at least a few days, the center of the hockey world is in Southern California.
Like, dude, how awesome is that?
There is an issue with the form blow that will make it appear that nothing happens when you click the post message button below. To see your message, after you click the post message button, refresh this page. Sorry for the troubles, we hope to have it fixed soon.