Penguins

Kovacevic: ‘Go ahead. Touch it.’

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Kris Letang raises the Cup in San Jose. -- DKPS

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Kris Letang has a hole in his heart. That's what the medical records show. It's barely the size of a pencil's point, as doctors diagnosed a couple years ago after a stroke had threatened so much more than his hockey career.

It's a small hole. But my goodness, it's a huge heart.

This husband and father knelt on one knee in the left faceoff circle at SAP Center. He did so in front of the clicking camera of his wife Catherine as he and their 3-year-old son, Alexander, gazed toward the greatest trophy in sports...

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"That," dad spoke slowly into the right ear, "is the Stanley Cup."

"Stanley," the toddler echoed, "Cup."

"Go ahead. Touch it."

Yeah. Do that, kid. Do it for dad. Because even if this moment will be remembered only through the record books or highlights, appreciate right in this very moment that it was his virtuoso performance that clinched a fourth franchise championship for Pittsburgh's beloved Penguins, this by that 3-1 throttling of the Sharks that just took place on this surface.

And let that record show, too, that dad has no peers in his line of work, at least not in the estimation of the smartest hockey man in the building.

"What you just saw Kris do ... there's no defenseman anywhere who can do that," Jim Rutherford, the architect, would say later. "I wouldn't trade him for anyone. Not anyone. And that's because I know what's inside. I know what he's made of."

The heart, he meant. The heart beating like it never had before.