The Detroit Free Press commemorates the 20th anniversary of the Red Wings’ 1998 Stanley Cup win with a re-printing of Mitch Albom’s narrative regarding the Wings’ Cup win:
The first one they won for the city. This one they won for their hearts. A hockey saga that began last summer in yelps of joy, and was interrupted six days later by tears of sadness, has worked itself back around to joy once more, with Red Wings players in a happy mob around the net, another Stanley Cup in tow. But this one was different. It was hard-fought, it was tiring, it was long and sometimes painful. But it was always meant to be. We can see that now. What happened here Tuesday night was less about victory than it was about belief.
And so, when the hockey ended, even as the pundits were banging out notes about a Detroit dynasty, even as fans back home were screaming themselves hoarse, the Wings were doing what they had dreamed of doing all year long.
Finally, with tears in their eyes, they handed the Stanley Cup to their fallen colleague, Vladimir Konstantinov, and that tells you all you need to know about this team. They weren’t playing for themselves. They were playing for a higher cause — and it took them to the highest heights.
“TWO! TWO! TWO!” yelled the Wings, as they posed for their first photo as 1998 champions gathered around Konstantinov in his wheelchair, the cup in his lap, a victory cigar in his fingers, an unbelievable smile on his face.
“Everything we did all year, we did for this guy,” Igor Larionov said. “We never stopped believing.”