BIll Daly, Henrik Sedin

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


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 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.

Kings grab goalie insurance by signing Budaj

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Jhonas Enroth #1 and Peter Budaj #31 of the Los Angeles Kings stretch before a game against the Arizona Coyotes at STAPLES Center on September 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)
via Los Angeles Kings
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In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.

The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.

At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.

As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.

The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.

All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.

Kings, NHLPA announce settlement in Richards grievance

Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers

The Los Angeles Kings announced today that they have “reached an agreement with Mike Richards to resolve the grievance filed in relation to the termination of his NHL Standard Players Contract. The terms are agreeable to all parties.”

The club said that it will not be commenting further “on the terms” of the settlement.

The NHLPA released a similar statement.

It was reported earlier in the week that a settlement was close to being reached; however, it wasn’t clear what salary-cap penalties the Kings would incur.

We’re starting to find out some details now:

How the final numbers differ from what the Kings would have incurred if they’d bought Richards out will be interesting to see. And if there are differences, how will they be justified?

Stay tuned.