Your Call: Would you touch the conference trophy as captain?

TSN.ca Staff
5/28/2011 12:36:54 PM
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Almost instantly after the Canucks clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Final on Tuesday, the first question that invariably came up – even before 'who are they going to play?' – is 'do you think Henrik (Sedin) is going to touch the conference trophy?'

If you were on Twitter or Facebook after Game 6 between the Canucks and Sharks, you may have noticed that thread as one of the hottest topics of discussion.

Of course, Vancouverites will remember 1994, when Trevor Linden picked up the Campbell Bowl and dropped the top on the ice in celebration. The Canucks would soon drop a Game 7 heartbreaker to the New York Rangers in the final.

There was likely a collective sigh of relief as Henrik Sedin kept clear of touching the Campbell Bowl, opting to stand beside it for the presentation.

On Friday, the Boston Bruins provided a unique twist when accepting their prize after beating the Lightning in Game 7. Captain Zdeno Chara accepted but did not touch the trophy, and instead waved his teammates over for a group photo. 25 Bruins players surrounded the trophy - and not one touched it.

The tradition and superstition begs the question: if you were an NHL captain, would you pick up the Campbell Bowl or Prince of Wales Trophy?

Teams have always based the decision not to touch the trophy as a way of saying "we have our eyes on the bigger trophy, not this one". On the other hand, it is not a proud moment for a team and franchise to make a final and represent their conference in the championship series?

If you look back at the past decade, the decision to touch, or not to touch has been a mixed bag of results.

Over that span, five teams that didn't touch the trophy (2010 Blackhawks, 2008 Wings, 2007 Ducks, 2006 Hurricanes and 2003 Ducks) went on the win the Stanley Cup. But in two of those instances – 2008 and 2006 – both teams passed on touching the trophy.

Conversely, twice in that span the team that didn't touch the trophy lost the Stanley Cup to a team that did touch the trophy. In 2009, Sidney Crosby fearlessly grabbed the Prince of Wales Trophy, and the Penguins went on to beat the Red Wings.

Scott Stevens did the same thing in 2003, and the Devils beat the Ducks. It wasn't his first time, either. In 2000, after dispatching the Flyers, Stevens picked up the Prince of Wales Trophy and the Devils went on to win the Stanley Cup over the Stars.

And how did the "curse" apply in 2001 (Avalanche-Devils) and 2002 (Hurricanes-Red Wings) as both teams grabbed hold of their respective conference trophies but only one team could win the Stanley Cup? Colorado and Detroit were victorious and lived to tell the tale.

So maybe there's nothing to it and captains should hoist the trophy and allow their teammates to enjoy the accomplishment of winning the conference championship. After all, is it not somewhat awkward when players refuse the gesture made by NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly when he presents the trophy?

So we want to hear from you: If you were an NHL captain, would you pick up the Campbell Bowl or Prince of Wales Trophy?

It's Your! Call.

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