2011 NHL Playoffs: The Myth of the Cursed Stanley Cup Conference Final Trophies

Kevin Goff@@BrgBrigadeKevinContributor IMay 18, 2011

DALLAS - MAY 19:  The Clarence S. Campbell Bowl is brought out to be presented to the Detroit Red Wings after eliminating the Dallas Stars in game six of the Western Conference Finals of the 2008 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 19, 2008 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

You all know the picture.  There's a hockey team celebrating and a small trophy presentation after they have just won the conference finals.

There's a simple question that is going through the head of everybody in the building. 

"Is he going to touch the trophy?"

Then whether the team captain does or doesn't touch the trophy is the subject of needless conversation over the next couple of days as we wait for the Stanley Cup Finals to come around.

For a long time now, we've heard about the supposed curse that exists for the team that touches the conference championship trophies.

According to Doc Emrick, the Penguins managed to break this curse with their Stanley Cup Championship a couple of years ago after Sidney Crosby accepted the Prince of Wales Trophy which goes to the Eastern Conference Champion.

Yet this habit of not touching the trophy remains.

Well, I did a bit of digging and am now ready to play the part of Adam Savage as we bust this myth.

Let's take a trip back in time as we see the 1995 Eastern Conference Champion, New Jersey Devils.  Feel free to jump to 7:03 of that clip to see Steven hoist the Prince of Wales Trophy and take it back to the locker room.

The Devils did pretty well with that series, sweeping the Detroit Red Wings in four straight games.

The following year, after the Colorado Avalanche defeated the Detroit Red Wings in six games, Joe Sakic took the Clarence Campbell Bowl and showed it proudly to the Colorado fans.

They too were cursed to sweep the Florida Panthers in the finals and win the franchise's first ever Stanley Cup Championship.

In both 1997 and 1998, Steve Yzerman lifted the Clarence Campbell Bowl much to the delight of the crowds in Detroit. 

The Red Wings swept both the Flyers and Capitals in their run for back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships.

Yzerman did this again in 2002.

1999 is actually the first time I had ever seen a team not lift one of these trophies when Stars captain Derian Hatcher left the Campbell Bowl on the table.

He did, however, touch the trophy, which is more than a lot of the players do anymore.

In the year 2000, Scott Stevens and the Devils were Stanley Cup Champions, once again.

At the end of those Eastern Conference Finals, Scott Stevens once again lifted the Prince of Wales Trophy before gaining their second Stanley Cup.

He also did this in 2003 before their third Stanley Cup.

Now we all know that hockey players are superstitious by nature, especially the goalies, but it seems that this particular superstition is one that just appeared out of nothingness with really nothing to back it up.

I understand players not wanting to touch the Stanley Cup unless they have actually won it in their career, but when did the conference trophies become part of that as well?

In reality, not only did lifting the conference championship trophy not cause the team to lose the Stanley Cup, in all but two of the scenarios presented the teams didn't just win the Stanley Cup, they swept the series.

Looking at things from that side, perhaps it should be considered better luck for teams to lay hands on their conference championship trophy.

So let's review our evidence.

First off, teams have been touching the conference trophies for years with no ill effects.

Second, Pittsburgh did not break this curse, because the curse did not in fact ever exist.

Third, not only did the teams touching the trophies win the Stanley Cup, they did so in very convincing fashion.

All this can bring us to one conclusion.  The myth of the Cursed Stanley Cup Conference Final Trophies is just that, a myth.

Myth: Busted.


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