In case you’ve been living under a rock, the Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils will meet in the Stanley Cup Final, beginning on Wednesday night. Both teams won the Western and Eastern Conference titles respectively in overtime.
The Los Angeles Kings won the Clarence Campbell Bowl for their efforts. The New Jersey Devils captured the Prince Of Wales trophy for their accomplishment. Both teams carried the tradition of NOT touching the trophy afterwards. The reason given is that they are not playing for those trophies. The only one that matters is the Stanley Cup and that touching the other trophies is considered bad luck. What a bunch of horse manure!
For the record, here’s where this “tradition” started. Back in 1996, the Florida Panthers shocked the hockey world, by upsetting Mario Lemieux and the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Final. The Panthers celebrated by hoisting the Prince of Wales trophy and carrying it around the ice, like it was the Stanley Cup. The Panthers then proceeded to get swept in the Stanley Cup Finals by Joe Sakic and the Colorado Avalanche. Many observers felt the Panthers were much too happy just to get to the Finals, and acted like the Prince of Wales trophy was the Stanley Cup. The Avalanche, after winning the Clarence Campbell Bowl, did touch the trophy but skated off with it immediately, and went to their dressing room.
The next season, the Philadelphia Flyers won the Eastern Conference, after disposing the New York Rangers in 5 games. Captain Eric Lindros was presented with the Prince of Wales trophy, but he did not touch the trophy, looking at it with disdain and disgust. He said afterwards that the only trophy that matters is the Stanley Cup, and he remembers how the Panthers celebrated last season with the Prince of Wales trophy. So what happened to the Flyers? They were destroyed by Steve Yzerman and the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals. Yet since then, every team that has won their respective conferences, have carried on this dumb tradition Lindros started. (Putting Eric Lindros and dumb in the same sentence isn’t too difficult actually.) In case you were wondering, when the Red Wings won the Western Conference, Steve Yzerman did hoist the Clarence Campbell Bowl over his head.
I hope teams realize that this little superstition is absurd. Only one of you can win the Stanley Cup, which means this superstition only works half of the time at best. I did like what the Devils did, and took a team picture around the Prince of Wales trophy after the series. That was a nice touch. But this little “tradition” can go away as far as I’m concerned. If Eric Lindros thought it was a good idea, it wasn’t a good idea.
One last note. The last team to put their hands on either trophy was the 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins. They went on to win the Stanley Cup two weeks later. Hmmm.
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