"I've had to wipe away a few tears," he said. "This is why I play in Detroit."
Two days after Detroit once again raised the hallowed trophy, spectators jammed downtown to join the party.
Dallas Drake, who waited 14 seasons to win the Stanley Cup, said now he was ready to enjoy more of the spoils.
"It's a special feeling," Drake said as fans chanted his name. "I couldn't be prouder right now. I'm a little bit taken aback by it."
The team followed a familiar path -- the 2002 Red Wings and the 2004 Pistons traveled the same parade route after winning titles.
These Red Wings clinched the Cup on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh, beating the Penguins 3-2 in Game 6.
Forward Dan Cleary, the first man from Newfoundland to win the Cup, called the accomplishment a high honor.
"I think everybody back in Newfoundland is proud," he said. "I'm proud. I can't wait to bring the Cup home."
|Fans gather in a downtown plaza for some good times with Red Wings players. (AP)|
"Time of my life right now," Zetterberg said. "This is unbelievable."
The last vehicle in the parade carried captain Nicklas Lidstrom, who held the Cup aloft to the delight of the crowd.
Under sunny skies and with temperatures in the 80s, the crowd was filled with Red Wings fans bedecked in jerseys and other red-and-white gear. Some wore plush octopi on their heads, a nod to the team's mascot.
One woman brought a real, albeit dead, octopus with her and swung it over her head.
These are good times for the Red Wings. The team set a record with 30 wins in the first half of the season, matching Montreal's record with 100 points for the eighth straight year. The Red Wings also extended the longest active streak in sports with its 17th straight postseason appearance.
Detroit's key players are under contract for at least next season, leaving only a handful of decisions during the offseason.
For spectator Corinne Gordon, the parade was bridge building. The Red Wings' win gave fans the chance to temporarily put aside the economic doldrums and the mayoral saga that have dominated the news for months.
Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his former top aide, Christine Beatty, face criminal charges, including perjury, stemming from testimony during a whistle-blowers' trial in which the pair denied having a romantic relationship.
"There's been so much doom and gloom and separation between the city and suburbs because of what the mayor has done," Gordon said. "This brings people together."
Kilpatrick refused to discuss the text-messaging scandal on Friday, but did say the success of the Red Wings has helped to pull together not just Detroit, but the region. together. He said sports fans who came downtown for the parade and rally can see what's been done to help revitalize Detroit.
"This is so much different from 2002," Kilpatrick said. "Detroiters should be absolutely proud of what we've been able to pull together and to do together."