As the seconds were ticking off the clock in Game 6, New York was ready to party. The Rangers just needed to hold off the desperate Canadiens a little longer to clinch their first Stanley Cup final appearance in 20 years. When the countdown concluded and the streamers started to fly, we were left with one question…
Would they touch it, or not?
In one of hockey’s best, silliest, totally meaningless traditions, whether or not the conference champion will touch the Prince of Wales Trophy or Clarence Campbell Bowl is always a talking point. Is it good luck to avoid it? Is it bad luck to touch it? What would the Rangers do?
Unlike Mark Messier in 1994, these Rangers did not touch the trophy. Messier not only handled it, he brought it into the dressing room.
So what does it all mean?
It means nothing, of course.
The definition of superstition is: “a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge, in or of the ominous significance of a particular thing, circumstance, occurrence, proceeding, or the like.”
Avoiding the conference championship trophy – or not – is a unique tradition to the NHL that isn’t based on anything. So why try and bring reason to it?
Who cares if the Rangers wore the championship hats? Who cares if Messier touched the Prince of Wales in ’94? Who cares if the tradition makes no sense at all and has no influence whatsoever on the result of the Stanley Cup final. It’s not supposed to – and no one is seriously suggesting it does.
It’s just a silly tradition – and I love it. It cracks me up when the team decides to keep their hands off such a good looking conference championship trophy.
It’s just a little fun and, since these are just sports, there’s nothing wrong with that. Just let go.
Does it mean anything? No. But now I can’t wait to see how the Kings (or Blackhawks) handle the situation.