May 25, 2010, 12:40 AM EDT
By now, we’re used to the routine when it comes time to award the winner of the Eastern or Western Conference their trophy. Jonathan Toews of the Blackhawks opted to treat the Clarence Campbell trophy like it had a mix of the plague, ebola and something from the jungle that hasn’t been discovered yet and didn’t even bother touching it. Philadelphia’s Mike Richards, on the other hand, didn’t seem to care what was going on and embraced the Prince of Wales trophy.
“There was actually a little bit of a debate on the ice,” Richards said. “I thought about it a bit [Sunday] night. My first instinct was to grab it. Obviously, it took us a lot to get here and obviously [that's] not the trophy that we want. But we haven’t done anything conventional all year, especially in these playoffs, so I might as well go against the grain one more time.”
For those of you who believe that walking under ladders or having black cats cross your path are bad luck, you’re probably cringing at Richards’ ability to effectively thumb his nose at superstition. For what it’s worth, Sidney Crosby last year picked up the Prince of Wales trophy but cited his reasoning being that he didn’t pick it up the year before and they lost, so why not change things up just to be sure. Makes sense to me… If I believed in voodoo or the moon landing being faked. If you honestly believe the fate of your team hinges upon whether or not the captain of the team touches the trophy, I’d like to tell you that if you give me the deed to your house, you’ll be safe from alien abduction and that I’ll even throw in the Brooklyn Bridge to prove it.
Then again, hockey fans aren’t the sanest of fans around. We’re the type to grow out a playoff beard with our teams, or dye our hair to match the team (although I may be speaking a bit too personally there) and try to conform to all sorts of strange phenomenon in a way to appease the fantastically mythical “hockey gods” who smite all those who don’t believe.
Just keep this in mind, if hockey gods existed, would they have allowed the Chicago Blackhawks to go since 1961 without winning the Stanley Cup or kept the Toronto Maple Leafs Cup-free since 1967 while teams from Anaheim, California and Raleigh, North Carolina found ways to win? I think not.
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