Reporting from Vancouver, Canada — Their celebration had barely begun when someone handed members of the triumphant Canadian Olympic hockey team a huge flag as they stood on the ice at Canada Hockey Place.
What to do?
Make the kid carry it.
"Yeah, he needed to do something," team captain Scott Niedermayer said, smiling.
So there was Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, in his second NHL season but an Olympic first-timer, taking an enforced but happy lap around the ice after Canada's 3-2 overtime victory over the U.S. on Sunday.
"They were razzing me as the rookie, the youngest guy, and no one really wanted to skate around with it so they made me," said Doughty, who's 20. "It was all in fun. It was great."
After his turn he handed the flag to Niedermayer, a rival as a member of the Ducks but his brother in sweaty arms on Sunday.
"Yeah, not too bad," Doughty said. "He's our leader."
Doughty became the first active Kings player to win an Olympic gold medal. U.S. defenseman Jack Johnson, winger Dustin Brown and reserve goaltender Jonathan Quick each won silver medals.
The Ducks had three gold medalists -- Niedermayer, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf -- two silver medalists -- Bobby Ryan and Ryan Whitney -- and two bronze medalists -- Finns Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu. The seven medals matched the most won by players from one NHL team: the 1998 Pittsburgh Penguins and 2002 Detroit Red Wings previously had seven Olympic medalists.
Perry had four goals and five points in seven games. Getzlaf had three goals and seven points and Niedermayer had a goal and three points.
"It's awesome. It's a tremendous feeling to be part of this team. Winning on home ice is pretty special," said Perry, who scored Canada's second goal on an assist from Getzlaf.
"This is a tremendous group. Everybody came to battle, came to win. Everybody put their body through a lot of sacrifices and a lot of pain. In a short tournament like this, that's what you need."
He said he wasn't sure what he would do with his medal -- but he won't gloat when he sees Ryan and Whitney. "They played a very good game. We give a lot of credit to them," Perry said. "It's just we got that last shot and made it go in."
For Niedermayer, the prospect of playing in the Olympics in his home province was incentive to put off retirement for at least one season. Whether this will be his last season remains unclear -- "I've been wrong on that before," he joked, referring to his brief retirement at the start of the 2007-08 season -- but he was grateful that these Games were "all I thought they would be" and glad he stuck around long enough to participate.
"It's an experience I'm going to remember forever and cherish forever," he said. "People love hockey here. They're very supportive of us, and to give them something back like that is rewarding for us and feels good. They love hockey and it was a great thing we were able to do."
Johnson, who chartered a plane here at his own expense to participate in the Opening Ceremony on Feb. 12 and returned to the Kings' lineup the next day, called the Americans' loss "devastating" even though they will take home silver medals.
"You just let probably the biggest reward there is in all of sports slip through your fingers right at the end," he said. "We're a group of young guys that were written off, but we were one shot shy of winning the whole thing.
We're all very proud of each other. I wish I could be with this group of guys the whole year round. It's the most fun I've ever had playing hockey."
Johnson played an average of 19 minutes 57 seconds per game here and was a physical force in most of those games especially on Sunday.
Being trusted so much by Coach Ron Wilson, he said, "means the world to me."
He added, "These are the games you want to play and you find out what kind of an athlete you are, what kind of hockey player you are, what kind of person you are. These are the games you live for. This is why you play sports."
The silver medal was no consolation -- at least not yet.
"The way hockey is, in time I'm going to be very proud of this and what we did, but just the way hockey is, you lose the silver medal. You don't win it. You win a gold or you win a bronze," he said.
Some Kings-related Olympic trivia:
While Doughty is the first player to win an Olympic gold medal while playing for the Kings, the club has had two other gold medalists join the club afterward. NealBroten of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team played 19 games for the Kings in the 1996-97 season, and current winger Ryan Smyth won a gold medal while playing with the Colorado Avalanche and Canada in 2002.
The Kings previously had two silver medalists -- Adam Deadmarsh and Aaron Miller of the 2002 U.S. team -- and one bronze medalist, defenseman Aki Berg of Finland at the 1998 Games.
Some additional Duck-related Olympic trivia, courtesy of their crack media relations department: