Standing on the ice, in the middle of the commotion and celebration following their Game 7 victory Wednesday against the Vancouver Canucks, fans in the Rogers Arena and watching on television heard NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman say the words all hockey players dream of hearing -- "Zdeno Chara, it's my honor to present you with the Stanley Cup."
"To be honest, I didn't hear him on the ice," Chara told NHL.com prior to his appearance on NBC's "Today" show Friday morning. "It was quite a celebration. When I watched the replay at home … it was just a huge honor. I was so thrilled and excited to be in that position. It doesn't happen very often in your career that as a captain you're able to go in as the first guy and lift the Cup."
He -- along with teammates Patrice Bergeron and Tim Thomas -- carried the Cup to the "Today" show on Friday and into the NHL Store powered by Reebok afterward for a question-and-answer session with fans.
It's all part of a whirlwind last 48 hours that has carried the players and the Cup from Vancouver to Boston and then to New York.
"I think it's going to take a while for us to realize everything that's been going on," Bergeron told NHL.com. "That being said, it's an amazing feeling. I'm very proud that I can say I'm part of the team that brought the Cup back to Boston. That's something special."
It was a special moment for Bergeron on the in Vancouver on Wednesday when teammate Mark Recchi passed him the Cup.
"Getting it from Rex as well, that was something special in itself," said Bergeron. "And then getting the Cup was an amazing moment. Lots of relief, lots of stress, lots of memories, lots of emotions going through my mind. It was amazing."
Chara also said it getting the Cup was an amazing emotional release for him after two hard months of playoff hockey.
"There's so much adrenaline going through your body and the rush and the excitement, the emotions," he said. "The passion you have for the game, it all comes together. You don't really focus on how it feels to be touching it. When I raise it and scream and show your emotions, that's what I did. It's something that you worked so hard for and once you are able to reach that destination and win it, then that's the time when you go and show it."
Chara showed maybe a bit too much emotion, losing his championship hat and appearing nearly to lose his balance. However, Chara said there never was a problem.
"I was pumping the Cup so hard that I lost a little bit of balance," he said, "but I had everything in control. I was just very, very happy and excited."
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK