PHILADELPHIA - Jonathan Toews was facing the Blackhawks fans who had moved to the front rows of Wachovia Center to be part of the celebration that followed Chicago's 4-3 overtime win that clinched the Stanley Cup. He was smiling, laughing. He was pointing, posing for pictures. The serious 22-year-old Blackhawks captain was letting loose.
Teammate Adam Burish watched the scene for a moment, loving every minute of it.
"This is awesome," he said, watching his captain celebrate. "I can't wait to get him in the locker room and pour beer down his throat. Loosen him up."
One person who doesn't need loosening up is Patrick Kane. Surrounded by his friends and cousins from Buffalo, they hugged and yelled and cracked jokes.
One of them said celebrating a Stanley Cup was way better than winning the Gus Macker, an outdoor basketball tournament that must have been an accomplishment from their past.
"It's pretty crazy," Kane said. "It's fun to be a part of right now."
He smiled his biggest smile yet, revealing nothing but gums. The mix of his overgrown beard and missing teeth was more vagabond than Stanley Cup champion.
But he didn't care. If losing every one of the teeth he lost when a puck smashed him in the face in the Western Conference finals was the price to pay for this moment, it was a deal he'd do again. And again.
"It was worth it," Keith said without hesitation.
"You can't ask for something like this," Toews said. "You just work hard, you try to get better and better every day. We're so blessed to be part of a great organization like the Blackhawks and an awesome city."
Stanley Cups are won as a team. It's Dustin Byfuglien scoring unlikely game-winners. It's Kris Versteeg, Dave Bolland and Andrew Ladd forming a dominant checking line and frustrating the heck out of the Sedin twins and Joe Thornton.
It's a goalie from Finland shaking off the moments he'd like back and making the saves when his team needed him most, like when Antti Niemi stole a goal from Jeff Carter late in Game 6.
But the young core of Toews, Kane and Keith were the constant. Kane scored the Stanley Cup-clincher. Keith logged more than 30 minutes in the win and had a big hand in the huge struggles of Carter and Mike Richards.
And Toews? All he did was win the Conn Smythe.
They led and the others followed.
"Everything has revolved around teamwork and everybody coming together," Versteeg said. "This is what happens."
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'Hawks celebrate on ice with the Cup
June 10, 2010: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman presents captain Jonathan Toews with the Stanley Cup, and Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa and others Chicago players skate around the ice with it.
Video: NHL from NBC Sports
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