May 28, 2008

1998: Konstantinov's Cup

The year is 1998. The entire playoffs can be summed up with the picture above.

Following a sombre summer of 1997, the Red Wings were fully motivated to recaptured the Stanley Cup for fallen teammate Vladimir Konstantinov and team masseuse Sergei Mnatasakanov. Everyone around the league was pulling for them, too.

Konstantinov and Mnatsakanov, along with Viacheslav Fetisov, were involved in a limousine accident just days after the Cup victory in 1996. Though Fetisov fully recovered from his injuries, the other two did not. Konstantinov, one of the top defensemen in the league, lost most of his motor skills and his career.

Upon sweeping the Washington Capitals in the finals, captain Steve Yzerman placed the Cup in the lap of the wheelchair bound Konstantinov. Instead of the traditional skate around the rink with the Cup above their heads, the Wings teammates took turns parading Konstantinov around the rink.

It was one of the most heart-touching moments in the history of the Stanley Cup.

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