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Emma: Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks Are A Modern Dynasty

By Chris Emma--

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Capturing a magical season with the traditional team picture, hockey's modern dynasty once again gathered around the Stanley Cup. For the third time in six years, the Chicago Blackhawks had become champions.

Then, the Blackhawks broke in different directions. Patrick Kane hugged his father, never once losing his smile. Daniel Carcillo skated around the open ice with his five-month-old son, Austin, and the two took it all in. And 40-year-old Kimmo Timonen's second hoist of the Cup on Monday was more special than his first, because it was with his son and two daughters.

"That's the coolest moment of my life," the emotional Timonen said. "It can't get better than that."

Such words were echoed by each Blackhawk, like the raucous roar of the United Center crowd before, during and after Chicago's 2-0 win against Tampa Bay in Game 6 on Monday night. Lord Stanley's Cup was finally won in Chicago and will spend the summer in the Second City, home of hockey's No. 1.

"We wanted it," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "We wanted it for each other, for the city."

This remarkable Blackhawks group came together in humble beginnings, when Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Patrick Sharp played before sparse crowds. The Madhouse on Madison was seemingly vacant, and hockey had little presence in Chicago.

Greatness came in the form of Toews and Kane, the faces of the franchise, the forces of the revival and future members of hockey's Hall of Fame. They were baby-faced teenagers at the start of their NHL careers and now have delivered the Stanley Cup to Chicago three times. Keith went from a promising young player to the Conn Smythe winner in his third championship on Monday night.

The Blackhawks became the first team since the the Red Wings (of 1997, 1998 and 2002) to win three titles in six seasons. Making the feat more remarkable is that Chicago has accomplished the feat in the salary cap era that began in 2005 and has made it more difficult to keep teams together. After the Blackhawks' title in 2010, many key contributors were let go. The Los Angeles Kings (2012 and 2014) are the only other team to win multiple titles since the salary cap was implemented.

The Blackhawks' success was forged by coach Joel Quenneville, a man fired twice before arriving in Chicago. He carried the repuation of a regular-season coach who couldn't win in the postseason. Now, he's a three-time champion.

"It's the greatest feeling in the world," Quenneville said.

In Tampa Bay, Chicago met its toughest Cup Final foe yet. The Lightning could counter the Blackhawks' speed, frustrated them with defense and goaltender Ben Bishop gave them a fighting chance while playing with a groin tear.

Yet the Blackhawks showed their resilience once again. They improved to 43-14 under Quenneville in Game 4-7 of the postseason and clinched the Cup in six games for the third time in six seasons.

This team overcame plenty of adversity in its most trying title run, but once again, these Blackhawks are champions. If the Stanley Cup is truly the most difficult prize to win in sports, this Chicago team has a way of making it seem so simple.

"It's an unbelievable feeling, an unbelievable feeling," said Corey Crawford, now a two-time champion as the Blackhawks' starting goaltender. "It's hard to describe."

Words are difficult in a moment like this. The Cup has a way of leaving one seemingly speechless. Hockey players strive for this reward, constantly dreaming of what it feels like, then are left stunned when it happens.

Even for those Blackhawks celebrating a third championship, that weightless lift of 34 and a half pounds feels new again.

"Once you do it once, you can't wait to do it again," Quenneville said.

This championship means something different, something unique, for each individual Blackhawk, but it's a goal each strives for as a team.

Once again, the Blackhawks celebrated with the Stanley Cup. Give it up for hockey's modern dynasty.

Follow Chris on Twitter @CEmma670.

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