Tag Archives: Stanley Cup

Why the Stanley Cup is the Greatest Trophy in Sports

10 Jun

Ok, so I’m biased. I’m a huge puckhead. I love hockey more than football, basketball and baseball. Especially baseball. I mean seriously, 162 games in a season? Of course I’m going to think the Stanley Cup is the greatest trophy in all of sports. Because it is.

I can’t help it, no matter what teams are in the Finals, I always get excited about seeing someone lift the cup (even if it does end up being Dustin Brown). It’s a really special moment for all hockey fans, and even with the Sharks out of the playoffs, I still cant wait. It’s the culmination of a season (or half season) of passionate fandom.

But in the interest of journalistic integrity (which is why you’re here after all), I will attempt to prove to the nay-sayers out there why Lord Stanley’s Chalice is truly the greatest trophy in all of sports, as objectively as I can.

It’s impossible to keep your entire roster healthy throughout the playoffs.

Hockey in general is a physically-demanding sport, but playoff hockey takes physical play to another level. It’s simply way more intense. Just look at some of the highlights from this year’s postseason alone.

And then there’s this one:

 

It wasn’t until after the game that you found out that he broke his leg on the play, and kept going.

If a team is able to finish the postseason with the same roster as it started the postseason with, it’s a pretty miraculous thing. This doesn’t even take into account the injuries players fight through in order to keep playing. You only really find out how healthy a team is once they’re eliminated. That’s when the truth about injuries start to leak to the general public.

The team favored to win the Cup rarely does.

The team winning the Presidents Trophy (given to the team with the best regular season record) has gone on to win the Stanley Cup just 39 times since the Cup was first awarded in 1893. That’s 39 times out of a 118, or just over 33 percent.

Well one out of three doesn’t sound that bad. In fact, it sounds like the top team wins the Cup pretty regularly. However, the first 21 times the Presidents Trophy winners went on to win the Cup happened only six teams in the league, the next four did it with only 12 teams, and the next nine with 18 teams in the league. Since the league began its modern era in 1992, only five Presidents Trophy-winning teams have lifted the Stanley Cup in the summer. If the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Boston Bruins, we’ll see it again – the first time since the Detroit Red Wings did it in 2008.

It’s one of the oldest trophies in all of sports.

The Stanley Cup was first awarded in 1892, the oldest of any major North American major sport. The only trophies older than the Stanley Cup are the Gentlemen’s Single Trophy, given to Wimbledon’s Men’s Single Champion (1887), the Claret Jug, given to the winner of the PGA’s British Open Tournament (1872), and America’s Cup, given to the champion of the yearly yachting competition (1848).

There is only one Stanley Cup.

One of the greatest things about the Stanley Cup is the fact that there is only one, which means that every player, coach and staff member that is a part of the winning team gets their name engraved onto the chalice. Kids who grow up idolizing their favorite hockey players can actually touch the same cup as their heroes, and have their names engraved alongside them. That is a pretty cool thing.

With only one Stanley Cup, it will forever remain elusive. Even after winning it, teams must return the Cup to the Hockey Hall of Fame after the summer. There’s no “motivation” you gain from seeing your Cup hanging out in your building. In fact, there is no “Your Cup,” just “The Cup.”

Also with only one Cup, it’s able to keep its integrity, steering clear of the potential for rampant commercialism. The Stanley Cup is not made by Tiffany’s, unlike the Lombardi Trophy (NFL), the World Series Trophy (MLB), the Larry O’Brien Trophy (NBA), the Wheeler-Schebeler Trophy (Indy 500), the Women’s National Basketball Association Championship Trophy (WNBA), the Samuel Rudin Trophy (New York Marathon), the Alan I. Rothenberg Championship Trophy (MLS), as well as a series of Super Bowl rings and Olympic medals.

If you win it, you get a spend a day with it – doing anything you want.

This is one of the coolest traditions in sports. Every person who wins the Stanley Cup gets to spend a day with it, doing with it as they please. And really, I mean you can do whatever you want with it.

Usually, players will take it to their hometown and share it with their friends, family and former coaches. It’s a pretty special moment to be able to share your accomplishments with those who helped make it happen.

And sometimes we get some really candid photos.

And my personal favorite…

There is actually someone employed to be the “keeper of the cup.”

That’s right. This guy, Philip Pritchard, has the job of keeping the Stanley Cup in tip top shape year-round. While it might seem like a simple job, it’s full-time. He is the curator of the Hockey Hall of Fame (which is where the Cup lives most of the year), he travels with the Cup as people get to spend their day with it, and he keeps it fresh, clean and shiny for presentation, which he also gets to be a part of.

Seriously, how do you land that gig?

In conclusion, hockey’s Stanley Cup is obviously the best trophy to win in all of sports. Why? It’s super fucking hard to win, you get your name forever engraved onto its ever-growing body, and you get to spend a day with it just like your heroes before you did. The Stanley Cup means more to hockey fans than the Olympic flame mean to the world. I’m serious, it’s just science.

Get excited, people. We’re going to see the Stanley Cup get awarded here soon, and no matter who you root for, it’s a really special and exciting time for the hockey world.

Sharks Canucks Series Preview

30 Apr

Joe Thornton against some guy for Vancouver

The Sharks lost their final game of the season, slotting them into the 6th seed and blah blah blah, you get it already. The Sharks play the Canucks.

As I said in an earlier post, I don’t like the Canucks. They freak me out. I mean, does everyone have to look like a Sedin? Plus they knocked the Sharks out of the playoffs a couple years ago, and that’s not cool.

But that was 2011. Things are different now. And seeing how one of the biggest buttholes from that team now plays for the Sharks, I figured I’d give them a fair shake and do a real preview post.

Offense

Brent Burns being awesome.

Brent Burns being awesome.

Both teams have capable centers throughout their lines: Henrik Sedin, Ryan Kesler, and Derek Roy for Vancouver; Joe Thornton, Logan Couture, and Joe Pavelski for San Jose.

Both teams have tough top lines, and an offense that tends to live and die by the power play.

Advantage: Draw

Defense

Dan Boyle taking out some loser goaltender.

Dan Boyle doesn’t care how many pads you have.

This comes down to a couple of questions: Will Jason Demers come back this series? If not, who will replace him? Rookie Matt Tennyson is a capable puck-moving defensemen and natural complement to likely partner, Brad Stuart. Scott Hannan is slow and terrible with the puck, but he’s got “experience” which the coaches love, so it’ll probably be Hannan.

Meanwhile, Dan Boyle is still awesome, Matt Irwin is solid, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic is tenancious by the net.

Kevin Bieksa has been rock steady all season for Vancouver (which makes Dan Hamhuis Bebop). Unfortunately for him, he’ll most likely be facing the Couture-Marleau-Havlat line. The rest of the defense for Vancouver is somewhat suspect, so I got to give it to the Sharks on this one.

Advantage: Sharks

Goaltending

Antti Niemi is the man.

Antti Niemi does it all in style.

Antti Niemi has been putting up Vezina numbers all season, while the goalie soap opera continues in Vancouver, which in my opinion is the dumbest thing ever. Roberto Luongo is hands down a better goaltender than Cory Sedin Schneider. If Schneider plays, I give the advantage to Nemo. If Luongo plays, I still give the advantage to San Jose, but the Canucks will be harder to score against.

Advantage: Sharks

Douchebags

Burrows being a loser.

Mmm…hockey glove.

The Canucks have a few guys on the roster known for their epic levels of douchebaggery. Kesler and Burrows instantly come to mind, but ever since the acquisition of the king of all a-holes, Raffi Torres, this is actually closer than ever. Since Torres has yet to rip anyone’s head off in teal, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Once he does though, the Sharks will be the third douchiest team in the West, behind only the Kings and Ducks.

The big takeaway however, is that Vancouver’s jerks can actually draw penalties, so at least there is a method behind the madness.

Advantage: Canucks

Series Prediction: I give it to the Sharks in 6 if they win Game 1. If they lose on Thursday, they’ll take it in 7.

Huge win can put Sharks back in Cup talk

22 Feb
Sad shark swimming in ocean.

A loss to Chicago would put San Jose 0-3 against the Hawks this season.

I am so ready for this game. The Sharks have a chance tonight fully show the world that this team is indeed a heavyweight in the NHL. And there’s one way they can do it.

BEAT THE MOTHER LOVING CRAP OUT OF THE CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS TONIGHT. I’m talking about a beat down that sends Kane home sulking, Toews in angry cat mode, and Hossa feeling like he was back in his first Cup final.

Tall order? Yes. Possible? Absolutely. Likely? Meh…probably not so much.

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