BOSTON -- For the veterans who have spent their lives waiting for this moment, the chance to hold high the Stanley Cup on Monday night in Boston was almost too much to bear.
"I don't know how to put it into words,'' said Michal Rozsival. "You grow up in Czechoslovakia and you dream about playing in this league, with the greatest players in the world.
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"You dream about one day getting to play in the Final and getting to win the Cup. To get to hold it up, it's just … "
Rozsival broke down trying to talk about it, something Jamal Mayers could understand completely.
"You wait your whole life for this," Mayers said. "You work hard every day for decades and your goal is to get to this moment. It's the greatest feeling in the world. I hope it lasts forever. I don't want it to go away."
Ray Emery probably danced with more youthful enthusiasm than many of his young teammates as he carried the Cup around the rink, but he knows what it feels like to lose.
"When we lost to Anaheim (with Ottawa), it was probably the worst feeling in the world," Emery said. "This is the best. You get so close and you think you'll have another chance, and then you find out it's hard to get back and you might not get another chance.
"Just look at how close this series was. Every game could have gone any way and who knows why it ends up the way it does. You just don't get this chance very often and it takes one heck of a team to do what we did. Everyone was involved."
Just a year after leaving Los Angeles, Michal Handzus watched the Kings celebrate with the Cup.
"That was very hard to see," Handzus said, tears in his eyes. "You really wonder if you're ever going to get the chance. Then, this trade (from San Jose) happens late and all of sudden you're in this position.
"I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to be here and to play with this group of players. This is a special group."
Handzus said he felt a jump in his step the last few weeks, just knowing what was on the line for him personally.
"You can see the calendar and you know you don't have forever in this league," Handzus said. "I played every shift like it might be my last because you just don't know. This was such a great opportunity to win and I knew it could be my last great chance.
"I'm a Stanley Cup champion. I always wanted to say that. Now, I get to say it for the rest of my life."