Thursday, May 28, 2009

It’s Ordained…

DETROIT - MAY 27: Henrik Zetterberg #40 (R) of the Detroit Red Wings receives the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl from NHL Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Jim Gregory after the Red Wings won 2-1 in overtime (ed: we should add Darren Helm scored the winner 3:58 into the OT, his first-ever OT playoff goal ) against the Chicago Blackhawks during Game Five of the Western Conference Championship Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 27, 2009 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan.
We’ll get to what we’re on about in the post title in just a moment. But first… there was a hockey game in Detroit Wednesday night. See the image above for the basics; the oh-so-brief photo caption provides some detail. More and better detail may be found here. (photo from the Bleacher Report).
Now… about this “It’s Ordained” thing. The Wings WILL win The Stanley Cup. Why? Because of this:
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Forget tradition. Sidney Crosby is ready to create his own legacy for these Pittsburgh Penguins.

Bucking years of superstitious belief, Crosby happily pulled the Prince of Wales Trophy out of the hands of NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and posed for pictures holding the trophy -- even calling alternate captains Sergei Gonchar and Evgeni Malkin to join in.

For years, such behavior around the trophy awarded to the Eastern Conference playoff champion was considered taboo. The thinking went something like this: Why celebrate with the conference championship trophy when there is a bigger trophy still up for grabs. The superstitious lot actually believed it was bad luck -- and poor form -- to be caught touching said trophy, and more than one captain in the past decade has gone to great lengths to limit exposure.
The Hockey Gods do not look kindly upon apostates; heresy is NOT allowed in this church**. The Faithful will note Henrik Zetterberg did NOT touch the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl during the presentation of same for winning the West this year. Ergo, The Cup will follow in due course. It's ordained.
Sorry, Sidney. You never should have done that.
**OTOH, maybe Sid the Kid is only trying to emulate a worthy example. I'll quote The Wiki (all links left intact and the bold emphasis is mine):
Another tradition (or rather superstition) which is prevalent among today's NHL players is that no player should touch the Cup itself until his team has rightfully won the Cup.[5] Adding to this superstition is some players' choice to neither touch nor hoist the conference trophies (Clarence S. Campbell Bowl and Prince of Wales Trophy) when these series have been won; the players feel that the Stanley Cup is the true championship trophy, and only it should be hoisted.[6] However, in 1994, Stephane Matteau, then of the New York Rangers, admitted that he tapped the Wales Trophy with his stick's blade before the overtime period in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.[7] Matteau subsequently scored the game-winning goal in double overtime against the New Jersey Devils, and the Rangers won the Stanley Cup. Scott Stevens hoisted the trophy as well in 2000, after the New Jersey Devils came back from a 3-1 series deficit to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers in seven games. In 2002 the Carolina Hurricanes hoisted the Prince of Wales Trophy after they won their conference title;[8] the Hurricanes lost their Finals series with the Detroit Red Wings four games to one. The superstition held true in 2004, as Jarome Iginla of the Calgary Flames grabbed the Campbell Bowl, but Dave Andreychuk of the Tampa Bay Lightning refused to touch the Prince of Wales Trophy; the Lightning won the Stanley Cup in seven games. In 2007, Daniel Alfredsson and Wade Redden of the Ottawa Senators touched and picked up the Prince of Wales Trophy, respectively, but Anaheim Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer never came close to the Campbell Bowl; the Ducks won the Stanley Cup in five games. Steve Yzerman, captain of the Detroit Red Wings during their 1997, 1998, and 2002 Stanley Cup victories, picked up the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl each time, though his successor Nicklas Lidstrom did not touch it en route to a 2008 Stanley Cup victory.
So... in spite of mixed evidence, I still think the Gods were offended. As far as '97, '98, and '02 go...there's no doubt in my mind Stevie Y got some sort of dispensation. Sidney hasn't yet achieved that sort of status.


  1. Sports superstitions are pretty entertaining. I knew a basketball player who had a great game while wearing a band-aid on his head. From then on, he always wore a band-aid on his head for luck.

  2. Hey there,
    Just clicking over to you from Sam's blog. Wanted to see what he was up to and that made me think of you. Seems like life is good,huh? My brother named his youngest son after Sidney fans will do almost anything! Geesh! Take care!

  3. A little more on this...The players would get no argument from coach Dan Bylsma.

    "If you look at history, Mario [Lemieux] touched it two years and they won the Cup."

    When the Penguins won those Stanley Cups, in 1991 and '92, Lemieux -- the center and captain and now a Hall of Famer, co-owner of the club and Crosby's landlord -- took an even longer skate with the same Prince of Whales Trophy.

  4. Oh, and not that you need me to tell you, but INSANELY good game last night. Holy Goalies! That last second Huet save on Franzen - What?!?! How?!?!

    And Ozzie was stellar, too.

  5. Lou: Superstitions? Hunh? We're talking religion! :D

    Lori: Thanks for dropping by again. Life is good, indeed!

    Andy: Thanks for the link. I watched that game and both the Versus announcers and YrsTrly were surprised he touched the trophy. Which, of course, means not a danged thing when it comes to the games, all joking aside. But then again... why tempt fate? :D

    You're right about last night's game, of course. SN1 thought Huet's last second save on Franzen was spectacular, too... I think it was mostly luck, as in his right foot was in the "right place, right time." That's taking NOTHING away from his performance though. Any goalie who can stop 44 of 46 shots... most of 'em high-quality... is having a stellar day. And Ozzie... maybe he'll get some respect now. Hopefully.

  6. Hockey goaltending is probably at least 50% positioning and luck. Of course, you have to be damned skilled to get into the right position, no question. Having said that, his save wasn't really about positioning, because this was rebound/sprawl/react kind of stuff, but Huet definitely kicked his leg up there at the last moment, trying to take away as much net as possible. Luck, yes, but he was looking over at the puck on the Mule's stick, as I recall, and knew what he was doing, too.

    Ozzie ain't flashy, that's probably his biggest hurdle on the way to more respect.

  7. What an incredible final goal!

    The Spousal Unit is happy with her Red Wings.

  8. "...but he was looking over at the puck on the Mule's stick, as I recall, and knew what he was doing, too."

    Situational Awareness. It's not just for the military. :D

  9. Darryl: re: happy. Me, too!

  10. I'll venture to say Wings in 7. Good luck to you (and to Michelle for her Pens.)

  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Just be polite... that's all I ask.