RALEIGH, N.C. -- Doug Weight could hardly even lift the trophy over his head, even with a shoulder that was frozen especially for the occasion.
"I got a shot between the second and third period," said the former Edmonton captain, who put his gear over his separated shoulder in anticipation of the celebration. "Then Edmonton scored a minute in. I thought, way to go Doug, way to jinx us."
It would be the only goal they got. And, after 19 long, anxious minutes, Weight finally realized his lifelong dream, even if he couldn't quite lift it all the way up.
"It was hard, but it was easy," he said. "It felt heavier than I thought it would, and I never did get it all the way up, but it felt good just the same.
"It was everything I heard about and saw and have been envious about all these years. I'm proud of it."
Proud to win it, proud of the way they won it, proud of who they had to beat to get it.
"We were playing a great team in Edmonton, a team that was going to fight," he said, adding a big part of him feels genuinely bad for his ex-team.
"I want success for them. It was awful tough for me going back there, playing against the guys I know and love.
"They gave me my start, showed confidence in me.
"For them to be at such a low point ... they should be proud. That's all I can tell them.
"I felt bad shaking their hands because a lot of them are really good friends of mine. They should keep their heads up. You know how great they played. They deserve to be here."
But they're not, he is, after 14 long seasons.
"It's one of the highest highs of my life, along with getting married and having kids. It's behind that, but it's there."
To go from struggling St. Louis to Stanley Cup champ has been an electrifying elevator ride.
"If I was going to get traded from a place I love - even though it was a tough year - I was proud of the way we handled ourselves. (But) it was going to be to a team that had a chance to play some playoff hockey. I just wanted that feeling back."
Enter the Canes, who made him an offer he couldn't refuse.
"It's a wonderful thing to be told on the phone: 'Waive your no-trade clause because you're a big piece of the puzzle that's going to get us the Cup.' That was exciting to have that faith put in me.
"They were an honest organization up front about what my role was going to be and everything they said was true, including we're going to win the Stanley Cup.
"I feel very fortunate to be part of this organization. It's an amazing group of guys, an organization that has a tremendous amount of belief."
Weight, knocked from the series by a Raffi Torres-Chris Pronger sandwich in Game 5, took the morning skate yesterday to see if there might be a way he could play, but there just wasn't, and he resigned himself to the fact he'd have to sit this one out.
'100% COULDN'T PLAY'
"I couldn't have played a Game 7 in a month," he said. "I did everything I could. I'd be remiss if I didn't try, get a shot and go out there and try it in practice. But I absolutely 100% couldn't play hockey. It was an easy decision. I'm not going to hurt my team."
They respected him for that, knowing how much it would kill them not to play.
"I give Dougie a lot of credit," said Kevyn Adams.
"He wanted to be out there as much as anyone in the world. When I talked to him this morning ... he said, 'I'll meet you over the boards when we win this thing.'
"And he did."