Last night, the Bruins completed a four-game sweep of one of the teams in professional sports I despise the most, the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Bruins won the Eastern Conference championship and will await the Sharks or Blues in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Sharks were gifted a victory in game three Wednesday when Timo Meier committed a blatant hand pass to Erik Karlsson, who scored the winning goal in overtime.
By winning the Eastern Conference, the Bruins were awarded the Prince of Wales Trophy. The Trophy was originally unveiled in the 1920s and given to the team with the best regular season record in the NHL, and it stayed that way until the first expansion in 1967. Then, it went to the team from the Eastern Conference with the best regular season record from 1968-74 before it changed to the team with the best record from the Wales Conference from 1975-81.
In 1982, the Prince of Wales Trophy and its younger cousin, the Clarence Campbell Bowl, were changed to postseason trophies. The winner of the conferences by those names from 1982-83 were awarded the trophies, then when the NHL went back to Eastern and Western for the conference names in 1993-94, the East champion received the Prince of Wales and the West champion received the Campbell Bowl.
Zdeno Charra, the captain of the Bruins, did not touch the Prince of Wales Trophy when it was presented to the team on the ice in Raleigh. The team posed for a photo around the trophy but nobody dared lay a finger on it.
Charra pulled same stupid S**T in 2011 and 2013 when Boston won the Eastern Conference. There’s some asinine superstition that you shouldn’t touch the conference championship trophy, and only the Stanley Cup should be touched.
I have no earthly idea when the conference championship trophies were treated like they had malaria, herpes and AIDS all at once. I find it to be so F***ING STUPID that I want to throw something at my TV every time I see players like Charra, Steven Stamkos, Dustin Brown, Jonathan Toews, Logan Couture and many others treat the conference championship trophies like they should be flushed down the toilet.
When the Islanders won the Wales Conference championship in 1982, ’83 and ’84, captain Denis Potvin picked up the Prince of Wales Conference trophy. In 1983 and ’84, the Islanders clinched the conference championship at Nassau Coliseum, and the Islanders had the unmitigated gall to skate the Prince of Wales Trophy around the ice, even though they won the Stanley Cup previously.
The Islanders swept the Canucks in the ’82 finals and the Oilers the next year. Yes, the Islanders lost to the Oilers in the ’84 finals, but Edmonton had the better team, and the Islanders were hard hit by injuries. FYI, Wayne Gretzky picked up the Clarence Campbell Bowl in 1984 in Minnesota after the Oilers swept the North Stars.
The last three teams prior to the Bruins who won the Eastern Conference–the Penguins in 2016 and ’17, and the Capitals last year–all went on to win the Stanley Cup after their respective captains picked up the Prince of Wales Trophy. And these were two of the biggest names to ever play in the NHL, Sidney Crosby for the Penguins and Alex Ovechkin for the Capitals.
In 2016 and ’17, the Sharks and Predators refused to touch the Clarence Campbell Bowl. Last year, the Golden Knights decided the Campbell Bowl was a fine reward, and picked it up, the first time since Jarome Iginla of the Flames did so in 2004. It was the first time both conference championship trophies were picked up since 2002, when the Red Wings (Campbell) and Hurricanes (Prince of Wales) did so.
Crosby did not pick up the Prince of Wales Trophy in 2008, and the Penguins lost in the finals to the Red Wings. The next year, Crosby DID pick up the Prince of Wales, and the Penguins beat the Red Wings. Crosby should have followed the lead of his owner, Mario Lemieux, who picked up the trophy in 1991 and ’92 and then led Pittsburgh to the Stanley Cup.
It would be karma if the Western Conference champion picked up the Campbell Bowl and beat the Bruins. If the Blues win the West, I’m betting they do, because it will be their first trip to the final since 1970. If it’s the Sharks, I bet they treat the Campbell Bowl like herpes.
NHL teams should embrace the conference trophies. It means they have won TWELVE playoff games. That’s something special, I don’t care what sport it is. It should be celebrated.
Robert Kraft has yet to avoid hoisting the Lamar Hunt Trophy after his Patriots win the AFC championship. New England has won a lot more Super Bowls (6) than lost (2) since 2001. So why does Charra not follow the lead of the local football team?