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Pascal Dupuis gets Stanley Cup ending to NHL career

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Within the giant mass of celebrating Pittsburgh Penguins stood Pascal Dupuis. It didn’t matter that he hadn’t played an NHL game since Dec. 6. It didn’t matter that his hockey career was over. In his mind, he still thought of himself as a player.

So it was no surprise to see Dupuis hugging his teammates following another Penguins’ Stanley Cup title while dressed in full uniform, skates and all.

It was in December Dupuis left a game against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center in the second period after not feeling right. He would play two more games before ending his career due to issues related to blood clots.

Six months later, after acting as the Penguins’ biggest cheerleader this postseason, Dupuis was the third player to lift the Cup, following captain Sidney Crosby and injured defenseman Trevor Daley.

“Obviously a great feeling just to be out here and the fact that the Stanley Cup’s here, I raised the Stanley Cup and [it’s] the last time I wear this jersey. It’s definitely a big moment,” he said afterward.

It would have been impossible to keep Dupuis from his teammates after he was forced to step away. Still owning the mind of player, he’d show up to the rink, get his gear on and skate before the Penguins would hold practices. He wanted to be around because these were his friends, his teammates, guys he’s won with before, even if the pain of him being unable to leave the game on his own terms still remained.

“What he's been through the last couple years, the type of teammate he's been, just the way he's approached everything,” said Crosby. “I think he would have loved to have been playing. This is as good as we could have done without him playing. That was special.”

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Back in the building where the curtain on his career began to close, Dupuis will walk out a champion again.

“You couldn’t [ask] for a better ending,” he told Sportsnet. “The fact that I’m here on the ice in full equipment, the guys won it. Can’t go out on a better note.”

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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