Mark Stone leads Vegas to the Stanley Cup despite having had his second back surgery in 13 months.

Mark Stone leads Vegas to the Stanley Cup despite having had his second back surgery in 13 months.

As the leader of the Vegas Golden Knights, Mark Stone had the opportunity to approach Commissioner Gary Bettman and receive the Stanley Cup.

The veteran winger then raised the 34 1/2-pound trophy above his head, a remarkable accomplishment for him given that he had just had two back operations in the previous nine months.

The expression on my colleagues’ faces when I received it was among the wildest sensations I’ve ever had, according to Stone. “It makes it that much more special just knowing that I did it with my 25, 30, or more best friends.”

Tuesday night’s Game 5 win by Vegas, which ended the series, gave Stone a hat trick, giving him nine points for the Cup Final matchup with the Florida Panthers.

General Manager Kelly McCrimmon praised him as a “great leader” and a “passionate player.” “You grow to love him the more you watch him. He improves those that are around him.

Since he was appointed the team’s first captain in 2021, Stone has served as the Golden Knights’ captain. He was also their largest trade acquisition after their first-ever season-ending trip to the Cup final in 2018, which resulted in a home-ice defeat to Washington.

With the first hat trick in a Cup-clinching victory since Babe Dye in 1922, he ensured that this final would be decided in five.

Chandler Stephenson, a linemate and golf buddy, remarked, “The way he plays, he’s just outstanding.” He is setting a good example tonight, which is not surprising.

Stephenson said that Stone’s back ailment, which flared up in January, had prevented him from playing golf recently. The club first believed Stone would be able to recover and return, but a setback resulted in surgery and doubts about his ability to continue playing.

The rest of the regular season was missed, but he made a comeback for Game 1 of the first round.

There were worries that McCrimmon’s career would be in danger. He deserves a lot of credit for the effort he has made.

In the playoffs, Stone averaged a point per game. He was a significant contributor to Vegas’ edge and aggressiveness and is perhaps the finest defensive winger in all of hockey.

Alex Pietrangelo, a teammate, said: “I don’t believe he gets enough credit at the defensive side of the game for what he’s capable of accomplishing. If you see him and you stand next him, there’s a reason why he’s as strong as he is. He does a lot of undetected actions away from the puck.

He made a big impression throughout the playoffs and will live on in the images and footage of Stone hoisting the Cup.

Stone stated, “I can’t even begin to explain the sensations in my gut right now. “It is everything you could hope for. You grind and grind and grind until you’re the final club remaining after an 82-game regular season and four playoff rounds. It’s astounding.

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