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To touch or not to touch: Should captains handle the conference title trophies?

May 26, 2011, 10:02 PM EDT

BIll Daly, Henrik Sedin AP

One of the more bizarre things you’ll see after each conference title is decided is how team captains handle the presentation of the conference championship trophy. Superstitions are things that many hockey players take very seriously. Like we saw during 24/7, Sidney Crosby goes through the same routine each game day before even getting his equipment on. Even his equipment isn’t absolved from superstition.

When it comes to touching either the Clarence Campbell Bowl or the Price of Wales Trophy though, some take it as serious business and even think there’s a correlation between touching it and going on to win the Stanley Cup. As we saw the other night, Canucks captain Henrik Sedin wanted nothing to do with touching the Campbell Bowl after the Canucks took care of the Sharks in five games. It’s a lonely life being a conference championship trophy sometimes.

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Whether your team’s captain touches it or not is up to them or the rest of the team whether or not they want to invite their idea of a jinx into the rest of their playoff lives but as Emily Kaplan from NHL.com discussed today, there’s really not a lot to the whole thing.

Since 2001, teams who have touched their conference trophy are 4-5 in the resulting Stanley Cup Final.

Basically, it’s a coin toss and ultimately up to the team’s to figure out if they want to leave their fate up to the bogeyman. Last year, Flyers captain Mike Richards put his hands all over it in front of the home fans in Philly and they went on to lose in six games to the no-touch Chicago Blackhawks with Jonathan Toews.

You don’t have to go far back to find previous trophy grabbers whose teams did go on to win the Stanley Cup as Sidney Crosby did so in 2009 when the Penguins disposed of Detroit in seven games. Of course, he didn’t touch it in 2008 and the Red Wings took out Pittsburgh in six games. In both of those years, Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom opted not to touch the Campbell Bowl.

It’d be far more fascinating if there were a correlation between touching the conference title and whether or not that helped you figure out who won the Cup, but unless Vincent Lecavalier or Zdeno Chara touch the Price of Wales Trophy tomorrow night in Boston, we won’t know if there’ll be a faceoff of the mystical kind against Vancouver in the Stanley Cup finals.

What makes this debate over whether or not to touch the trophy even sillier is the fact that teams will slap on the conference championship hat and celebrate on the ice together but they won’t touch the trophy. Fans don’t even want to buy the conference championship gear because if your team ends up losing in the finals you’re left with a $30 reminder of what ultimately was a failed season. I guess we just want a little consistency here is all.

Our hope for tomorrow night is that we’ll see the Eastern Conference champion grab the Prince of Wales Trophy and skate it around in spite of superstition. Not so much as a means of going over the top to celebrate the wrong title but just to spite people’s thoughts of jinxes.

  1. sharksfan754 - May 27, 2011 at 2:06 AM

    Funny how no one wants to touch the conference champion trophies but they throw on those conference champions hats immediately

  2. cup0pizza - May 27, 2011 at 3:50 AM

    I like the tradition of not touching the conference championship trophies. I hope the Stars get to win the west next season and Morrow not touch it.

  3. demons87 - May 27, 2011 at 8:50 AM

    I think they should touch it and skate around with it so they can visualize what it will be like with the Cup. Make them hunger than much more for it.

    As far as conference championship t-shirts go, I want to save my money for a league championship shirt. If they lose, I would buy a conference champs t-shirt then.

    The only superstition I have is my wife is not allowed to watch the game because she is a jinx. Patriots perfect season, 18-0 going into the Superbowl, I went to a party and my wife turned on the TV to watch the halftime show. The rest is history. To prove me wrong, she watched the first game of the following season. Brady tore his ACL. Thank goodness she doesn’t like hockey.

    • sunking1 - May 27, 2011 at 9:52 AM

      I think your wife needs to watch tonights game!
      GO BOLTS!!!!
      Ha ha ha ha ha

  4. polegojim - May 27, 2011 at 9:37 AM

    They should do what they want…. but I’m not superstitious in the least.

    Should goalies ‘skate over’ or ‘jump over’ the lines? Does either give you any real advantage?

    4-5 record proves it makes no difference. The superstitious fear is unfounded.

    Rather than fearing to touch the trophy, why not enjoy and prepare to win another one.

    Nothing other than the players ‘skill and will’ is in control of winning or losing.

    That said, I suppose traditions are traditions, and people are people, even if a little silly.

  5. abrienza428 - May 27, 2011 at 10:24 AM

    I’m not superstitious, but I am a little stitious.

    • polegojim - May 27, 2011 at 5:53 PM

      Great definition, but your stitiousness is showing.

      After opening an umbrella inside and breaking my vestibule mirror, I walked under a ladder as a black cat mysteriously passed in front of me. Then I picked a penny up off the street when the tails side was showing, right after lunch where I spilled TONS of salt all over the table.

      Finally, I sneezed and NOBODY blessed me.

      To quote Morphious – all this and… “We are STILL HERE!”

      • polegojim - May 27, 2011 at 5:56 PM

        PS – That’s the 13th time this subject has come up, AND it’s Friday.

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