Imrem: A worthy celebration for the Stanley Cup champs
Blackhawks' fans were ready for confetti Monday night in the United Center.
After all, they waited 77 years for the Hawks to clinch a Stanley Cup on home ice.
Then the crowd had to wait a final 5:14 of game time after Patrick Kane's goal gave the Hawks what amounted to an insurmountable 2-0 lead in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final.
The Tampa Bay Lightning was done. The Hawks were champions. Celebrate, celebrate, dance to the music.
The final horn blared and if you never have seen a building on fire without any flames, this was it.
Hawks' players are reveling in their third championship in six years.
They gathered for a group hug behind their net, goalie Corey Crawford in the middle along with playoff MVP Duncan Keith.
Head coach Joel Quenneville slid out to join in. "Sweet Home Chicago" blared. The crowd stood in front of their seats and roared.
After the traditional handshakes with Lightning players, Johnny Oduya did a little ice dance, Patrick Kane urged the crowd to cheer louder. The entire Hawks' organization came onto the ice.
All that was left was for the Stanley Cup to be brought out for Hawks' captain Jonathan Toews to hoist over his head.
Who would he hand it to first? The 40-year-old veteran Kimmo Timonen, who began the process of passing it among teammates.
You'd think this third championship since 2010 would be ho-hum by now.
Not a chance.
Each Hawks' title has been fresh, a new experience as if it were the first, another notch in what passes for a dynasty in the salary-cap era of this league.
During the NHL's previous 122 seasons, 1,134 players earned the privilege of having their names etched into the Stanley Cup.
Of that total, 55.2 percent won once and 23.8 percent won twice for a combined 79 percent.
Only 7.7 percent are on the trophy three times, and now seven Hawks have joined that exclusive club.
Let's name them: Toews, Keith, Kane, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp.
Maybe one will reach Henri Richard's record of 11 titles.
Seriously, this is surreal considering how difficult it was for the longest time for any Hawks' player to have his name engraved on the trophy.
If a Blackhawk played his entire career during the 49 years between 1961 and 2010, his career ended without winning a Stanley Cup.
Denis Savard didn't win one here, went to Montreal to win one and returned here to not win another.
Chris Chelios won one in Montreal, didn't win one here and proceeded to win two more in Detroit.
Eddie Olczyk, Chicago born and raised both as a person and player, didn't win one with the Hawks but did with the Rangers.
On and on it goes.
Ah, but look at the Blackhawks now: Seven of them will be immortalized on the Cup for a third time since 2010, others from this current team are on it twice, and still others young and old are on it for the first time.
No wonder the scene on the ice was like New Year's Eve leaking into Mardi Gras leaking into spring break.
Hawks' fans relished the rare opportunity after 77-years to share in the success and salute their team.
This was it. The time had come. They kept standing and cheering as the party on the ice went on and on into the night.
"Q! Q! Q!" 22,424 fans roared as Quenneville hoisted the Cup.
Nobody seemed to mind having had to wait nearly eight decades to witness it all even if there wasn't any confetti.