Nicklas Lidstrom didn't touch the Clarence Campbell Bowl after beating Dallas in the Western Conference final. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Are hockey players really that superstitious? Are they really that out of touch with reality?
It appears so, given how most players treat the Prince of Wales Trophy and the Clarence Campbell Bowl after winning it in recent years. Somehow, these guys think if they treat the conference championship trophy as though it has a case of cooties, that will significantly enhance their chances of winning the trophy they really want – the Stanley Cup.
Do these guys really believe what ultimately transpires in the Stanley Cup final will have anything to do with whether or not they actually celebrated the accomplishment of winning the conference playoff championship?
Well, Scott Stevens and Steve Yzerman didn’t think so and things seemed to turn out all right for them. Stevens was captain of the New Jersey Devils and they won four Prince of Wales Trophies and three Stanley Cups. Stevens never hesitated to lift the trophy and at least show the accomplishment and the hardware some respect.
When asked once why he bothered to lift the Prince of Wales Trophy, Stevens said quite simply, “It’s a nice trophy.”
As captain of the Detroit Red Wings, Yzerman also won four conference championships, three of which resulted in Stanley Cup victories and he had no problem lifting the Clarence Campbell Bowl.
Neither of these players hoisted the trophy over his head and did a victory lap around the ice, they simply acknowledged the award and the accomplishment in a fitting way.
And they both went on to have a 75 percent success rate in the Stanley Cup final.
To blow off a trophy that signifies a significant achievement goes beyond superstition.
It’s simply a lack of respect.
THE BOMBASTIC ONE STRIKES AGAIN
Don Cherry misinformed on something? Shocker.
Cherry did nothing to hide his disdain for the NHL’s delay of game penalty that results from a player shooting the puck over the glass in the defensive zone after it cost Canada a gold medal at the World Championship. He went as far as to say, “Some fool, some idiot in the National Hockey League came up with that rule.”
(Disclaimer: I generally think Cherry is a clown and the media only serves to legitimize him by providing him a forum, but this one is so ridiculous I simply couldn’t let it go by without comment.)
Cherry claims the rule was instituted because players who were getting tired were deliberately putting the puck out of play to get a whistle.
The rule was actually instituted when the league was looking to open the game up after the lockout. The rationale behind the rule was that by penalizing players for even inadvertently shooting the puck over the glass, it would cause defensemen who are under pressure from forecheckers to have to make a skill-based play in order to get the puck out of danger rather than just rattling it off the glass.
The thinking was – and it was sound – it would either result in a more precise first pass out of the defensive zone or a turnover that would likely culminate in an excellent scoring chance.
Of course skill is not one of Cherry’s areas of strength. Neither is the rationale behind penalties. After all, if the league wouldn’t have been such sticklers about having only five skaters on the ice at one time, Cherry might have won his only Stanley Cup as a coach in 1979.
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