CHICAGO – Dear Stanley,
First, is it all right if we address you as Stanley? We remember that last time you said we didn’t have to call you Mr. Cup. You said it made you feel old, and you didn’t need any more reminders that you were born a couple of centuries ago.
Anyway, welcome back. We’re so glad to see you again.
By the looks of things, you seem to have settled right at home with your best friends in the City of Big Shoulders.
Did you sleep well last night?
Have you slept at all?
We haven’t slept much, either.
Have you lost weight? No?
Well, you look great.
It must be a new polish or something. Honestly, you’re glowing.
We’ll be honest. When you last visited in 2010, we really didn’t know what to expect.
Our meeting was packed with excitement and nervous energy. Would we hit it off? Would we measure up to some of your frequent summer destinations such as Montreal (23 visits), Toronto (13) and Detroit (11)?
To us, it was kind of like a first date with someone you already know you like. A lot.
This time around, you seem like more of an old pal than a special guest. We were kind of bummed when you decided to spend the past couple of summers in Boston and Los Angeles, but it’s understandable. Those cities have some terrific hockey teams, as the Hawks learned up close this month, and you’re a guy in high demand.
That’s what makes it so cool to have you come to town again.
Surely, you remember your buddies such as Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Dave Bolland, who partied with you three summers ago.
Those guys really love you.
Do you remember when Sharp filled you with dog treats instead of champagne for his beloved dog, Shooter? You went right along with the joke. You’re the man, Stan.
Hey, we heard that Kane is going to be on CBS’s “Late Show With David Letterman” today. Are you going with him? If it’s a surprise, you don’t have to tell us.
But like we were saying, 2010 was a ton of fun.
Do you remember when Joel Quenneville hoisted you for the first time as a head coach? What a moment.
It’s tough to believe that three years have passed since then.
You’re going to really enjoy your time with some of the new faces on the 2013 team. We know you hung out with them on the flight home from Boston, and it seems like you had a great time at Harry Caray’s in Rosemont and The Scout in the South Loop before making a pit stop at the United Center.
Good luck with Andrew Shaw. He is the human equivalent of a 24-hour sugar high. Get a ton of rest and drink a ton of water before you spend a day with that kid.
Oh, and Brandon Saad, you’ll really like him, too. The Pittsburgh native was born Oct. 27, 1992 – exactly 149 days after the Penguins beat the Hawks to earn your company for a second consecutive season.
It’s hard to believe you’ve never met Michal Handzus (age 36) and Jamal Mayers (age 38).
Between the two of them, they have played 1,865 regular-season games and 160 playoff games for the chance to lift you above their heads.
Corey Crawford is another guy you’ll get to know. He probably should have won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the playoffs, but the truth is that you were the only prize that really mattered to him. Tell him a few Patrick Roy stories. He’ll love those.
Gosh. Here we go again, talking your ears off. Well, maybe not ears, but you know.
We hope you have a blast here. Anything you need, just say the word.
See you Friday at the parade.
• Shaw Media sports columnist Tom Musick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @tcmusick.