Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 05/29/14 at 02:05 PM ET
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
This spring marks my 18th playoff spring (17, actually, given the one that went down the tubes during the 2004-05 lockout)....
It's amazing, not just the passage of time, but the ties that bind the people in the game and the memories every playoff year creates.
With the start of the 2014 Stanley Cup finals just days away, here are a few of the memories that do not fade even as the months and years tick away:
The one Stanley Cup memory I keep coming back to is from 1998, after the Detroit Red Wings had completed the second of back-to-back Cup wins by sweeping the Washington Capitals. Captain Steve Yzerman took the Cup from commissioner Gary Bettman, turned and set the trophy on the edge of the wheelchair occupied by teammate Vladimir Konstantinov, who had been badly injured in a limousine crash shortly after the Wings' 1997 Cup win. Konstantinov was an integral part of the "Russian Five," and that team set the Red Wings on a long, glorious journey through most of the past two decades -- a journey that included four Stanley Cups and a playoff appearance every single season. Konstantinov was part of the Winter Classic festivities in Detroit this past January. I never fail to wonder what might have been for Konstantinov had circumstances turned out differently. Likewise, I never fail to be impressed by the bond that continues to exist between the great, rugged defenseman and that franchise.
read on for much more...
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