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“…They were all united by a common dream — to one day stand on the ice with the greatest trophy in all of the world, the Stanley Cup.”

Eddie Olczyk, hockey announcer, former Blackhawk, and native Chicagoan, said those words as eight hockey youth dressed in their own gear with Hawks sweaters brought the 2013 Stanley Cup Championship Banner to the ice for the winning players to unfurl.

It would be hard to watch the banner ceremony as a hockey fan, let alone a Blackhawks fan, without getting a little weepy. Set aside any hostility that they’re and opposing team this year. Think of how hard these men work for this.

The quest for Lord Stanley is an emotional one. Every game is a wild, exciting ride.  By the Stanley Cup finals, the talent on the ice is incredible. It’s a brutal fight–literally tooth and nail, limb for limb. To walk away with that trophy is an indescribable honor, hence the summer of celebration.

Once the names are etched onto the Cup and the banner is raised into the rafters, however, it’s time to look forward.

“So many teams are losing their home opener because they get caught in the moment,” right wing Marian Hossa told NHL.com. “You always try to say that after that you have to focus on the game, but those first couple of minutes you’re still caught. But it’s the first game and it’s time to close the book, focus on the new year.”

The Blackhawks had a fairly strong start against the Capitals, but the teams fought back and forth all night. Operation Raindrop stars Brandon Bollig and Patrick Kane scored for the Blackhawks. Brent Seabrook scored their lone Power Play goal.

It was give and take with Bollig scoring, then Alex Ovechkin; Kane then Mikhail Grabovski.

Grabovski then scored two more for the Capitals’ first-ever opening night hat trick, giving Washington the first lead of the night.

Brandon Saad came back to tie the game. And then, birthday boy Johnny Oduya continued their glory with this goal.

“I got lucky,” Oduya told the team Web site. “It went off his glove, but when it’s your birthday…”

Marian Hossa sealed the deal when he was tripped going for an empty net goal, making the final score 6-4.

They’ll continue fighting for that common dream, with a whole fresh season ahead of them.

 

 

 

Carly Mullady grew up needing to know more about icing than its deliciousness on cupcakes. She's the lone daughter of four children, with a father who was among the last cut from the Midwest tryouts for the 1980 Miracle on Ice Olympic team. And she knows very little matches the thrill that happens from puck-drop to handshakes. A rink didn’t return to her hometown until she was gone, but she’s been able to see two younger brothers on the ice. She's their feistiest fan. Her other hockey loyalty lies with the Blackhawks--whether it's meant seeing games for $8 with student IDs when the Madhouse didn’t have much of a temper at all, or dancing to Chelsea Dagger at standing room only--there’s something magical about a roaring anthem, the Indianhead sweater, and the Original Six. A former journalist and current editor, she carries a penchant for excitement (and maybe even fighting) with a resume that includes working for Chicago-area newspapers, and television, including The Jerry Springer Show, as well as NBCUniversal in New York. After East Coast living and a return to the Chicago area, the new Mrs. is giving Graceland a go with her Southern Gent, who now shares her adoration of the game, and their rescue dog, Doc Holliday. Other interests include Cubs, Bears, Illini, Crimson Tide, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, baking a mean pineapple upside-down cake, Kate Spade accessories, and a properly coordinated cardigan for every ensemble.

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