NHL Conference Trophies: Debating the 'no touch' policy
One player, smiling and jubilant, skates the trophy into the dressing room.
The other, stands uncomfortably near it, as if it was an omen of doom.
You'd figure earning the 'best team' moniker in your respective conference would inspire some sort of celebration with the accompanying hardware, but there was a notable difference in the actions of the Philadelphia Flyers and Chicago Blackhawks.
Jonathan Toews didn't bat an eye toward the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl. Television cameras rolled as "Captain Serious" edged away from the gleaming prize during the official picture with NHL VP Bill Daly as if the chalice was composed of broken mirrors built by a team of black cats working under a ladder.
"[Patrick Sharp] is the one who came up to me and said, 'Do you have any plans for after the game?' I thought he meant for dinner, but he said, 'Are you picking it up? Are you touching it?' I was like, 'Oh,'" Toews told the Blackhawks' website. "I had thought about it a long time ago and I just think maybe to some people it looks like it's a lack of confidence to not touch it or it's a superstitious thing, but I think it shows more confidence.
"To us, it's a made-up trophy for winning the Western Conference. You know, big deal, it's not what we're after. We're here to win the Stanley Cup. That celebration with the fans and us getting these hats, that's enough for us. We're going to keep going. We're not satisfied yet."
In defence of Toews, if it were truly superstitious reasoning, you would figure he and Sharp would've had more of a problem with perpetual Stanley Cup bridesmaid Marian Hossa (who bears the distinction of being on the ice for the last two Cup presentations, but on the losing side) joining the Blackhawks.
Flyers show the Prince of Wales some love
Philadelphia's Mike Richards embraced the Prince of Wales Trophy with the exuberance of a…well, a hockey player that just won a chance to play for the Stanley Cup.
"It was actually a little bit of a debate on the ice," Richards said. "I don't know if you'd seen, but I thought a little about it last night, and my first instinct was to grab it. Obviously, it took us a lot to get here, and [it's] not the trophy that we want, but we haven't done anything conventional all year, especially in these playoffs. So might as well go against the grain one more time."
And doesn't the Prince of Wales (trophy) deserve some love, too? It's not like the last team brave enough to touch it spontaneously combusted (figuratively or otherwise). Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar were all seen grasping it after booking their ticket to the finals and ended up winning the Stanley Cup.
That same year, the Red Wings' Henrik Zetterberg — filling in for injured captain Nicklas Lidstrom — relented from touching the Campbell, and we know how much of a factor that ended up being.
In purely factual terms — superstitions, luck and (apparently) Slovakian right wings don't make a Stanley Cup winner or loser. If they did, we'd also be watching to see what colour tie Bill Daly wears when presenting the conference trophies. For the record, he wore a yellow tie during the Flyers' Game 5 clincher, a blue tie during the Blackhawks' Game 4 sweep. Last year, Daly wore a yellow tie for the Penguins' presentation and a blue tie for the Red Wings'.
But that's just silly. Right?
with files from the Associated Press