Long wait over for Blackhawks vets Michal Rozsival, Jamal Mayers
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org June 24, 2013 10:26PM
HAWKS’ PARADE IN WORKS
Fans will be able to celebrate the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup victory in a rally that will most likely take place Thursday or Friday. City Hall still is working out the details with the team and hopes to announce them as soon as possible. “Nothing has been solidified,” said a city spokesman. “Nothing is locked down yet.”
Updated: August 24, 2013 2:26AM
BOSTON — Blackhawks veteran defenseman Michal Rozsival pressed the delete button in his head as he struggled through his usual pregame nap routine.
He didn’t want to dream of hoisting the Stanley Cup over his head.
“After the pregame meal, I usually go take a nap, but I just couldn’t fall asleep today for some reason,” Rozsival said. “It was just one of those days where there were lots of things running through my mind. When I was imagining this, I would try to erase it from my mind.”
Of course, “this” happened. Rozsival, a 34-year-old who started his career in 1999, is a Stanley Cup champion for the first time. So is center Michal Handzus, 36, and tough guy Jamal Mayers, 38.
The Hawks’ stunning 3-2 victory in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins made them champions. In a fitting gesture, they were some of the first players to be handed the Cup on the ice.
“It felt unbelievable,” said Mayers, who made his NHL debut in the 1996-97 season. “What a great gesture by Jonny Toews and the captains. It was amazing.”
Rozsival, a free-agent addition before the season, and Handzus, a trade-deadline acquisition, played huge roles in the Hawks’ Cup run. They each played in every game this postseason.
Rozsival was a steady defensive presence who assisted on huge goals. Handzus, who made his debut in 1998, found a niche centering the second line, recording three goals and 11 points.
“It worked out in the end,” Rozsival said. “I knew this was a good team, a great group of guys. I knew we had a chance to go far in the playoffs.”
This time, there isn’t any credit to give to former general manager Dale Tallon, who played a key role in the Hawks’ 2010 Stanley Cup. This Cup is all Stan Bowman, who put together the right championship mix in his third attempt.
“It’s hard to win, and you’ve got to make some changes and re-tool a little bit,” Bowman said. “I’m proud of everybody. It’s been a long road to get here, and this is the culmination of a lot of hard work for a lot of people.”
Rocky Wirtz said after the 2010 Cup victory in Philadelphia that it might have been special to win it on home ice, and he believed this series might be headed back to Chicago after the Bruins took a late 2-1 lead.
“I figured, here it is — Wednesday night — and it is what it is,” Wirtz said. “But I always believed in the team, and they never gave up.”
Bruins center Patrice Bergeron toughed out numerous injuries to play in Game 6. Bergeron, who played 17:45, said afterward that he had a broken rib and torn cartilage entering the game. He also said he played with a separated shoulder that he sustained during Game 6.