Zdeno Chara

Is it wrong to touch the Stanley Cup if you didn’t ‘earn’ it?

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Forgive me for stating the obvious, but fans embrace their given sports in a wide variety of ways.

Some associate themselves so much with their jersey-wearing heroes that they refer to the team’s highs and lows by using the pronoun “We.” Others enjoy nothing less than nitpicking every transaction or coaching decision to the point of exhaustion. There are even a shameful few who will punch a fan of an opposing team to show some of misplaced loyalty.

If there’s one thing that can unite the eclectic group of people that is hockey fans, it’s the glorious shiny splendor that is the Stanley Cup, though. Fans pay tribute to the silver chalice with replicas (and many other number of things) just to mimic the act of raising that great trophy.

But even with the Cup, there are disagreements. For some fans, it’s just not right to touch the Stanley Cup if you weren’t (literally) part of the team that won it. Biz Jacobs of Stanley Cup of Chowder considered herself one of those people, until she found herself right next to its awe-inspiring sheen.

Nonetheless I found a place in line and told myself a picture with the Stanley Cup would be plenty. The line grew thinner and thinner as fans departed after their moment of glory. It finally got to be my turn and I stood right next to it, not daring to touch it, but tempted to for the first time in my life. I didn’t have much time with it, but I took a quick scan of as many names as I could. And in that moment, I looked to the camera, and it was as if the cameraman had read my mind.

“Put your arm around it,” he said.

I brought myself back into lucidity and said that I had not done anything to deserve touching it, but was quickly scoffed at and told, “And you will probably never have that opportunity to win it on the ice.”

And that’s when it hit me. I reached over, leaned into it and touched my hand to the front of the cup as he snapped the photo.

Personally, I’m not the superstitious type* so I don’t really have a problem with fans touching the Cup. Honestly, it wouldn’t bother me if Alex Ovechkin (or some other active player who hasn’t won the Cup yet) touched it, either. If you ask me, the only curse that comes with touching the Cup is simply not being good enough to win it.

But what do you think, PHT readers? Is it bad form to touch the Stanley Cup or not? Let us know how you feel in the comments.

* – Well, not when it comes to touching trophies, anyway. (Throws salt over shoulder.)

Kassian has ‘no hard feelings’ towards Canadiens

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Zack Kassian never played a regular season game for the Montreal Canadiens. But unless he is held out of Edmonton’s lineup on Saturday, he’ll face his old team as a member of the Oilers.

The Habs acquired Kassian from the Canucks in the summer, after the 25-year-old forward essentially wore out his welcome in Vancouver under the team’s new management. However, an October car accident that Kassian was involved in set forward a number of events that appears to have ultimately changed Kassian’s life for the better.

He told reporters that car accident might’ve been the best thing to happen to his career.

After the accident, he was placed in Stage 2 of the Substance Abuse program and suspended without pay. He was reinstated in December and immediately waived by the Canadiens. A couple of weeks later, he was traded to Edmonton.

And, after opening up about his struggles with alcoholism, he’s since been recalled to the NHL, appearing in eight games for the Oilers, scoring twice and adding four points.

“I’m not looking for any redemption,” said Kassian, as per Sportsnet.

“Me, I got an opportunity to play for the Edmonton Oilers and I’m very thankful for that. I’m not mad at Montreal by any means. If anything I’m mad at myself for screwing up that opportunity. I’m just looking to move forward. Obviously it will feel nice if I get a goal [Saturday] or even better if we get a win but there’s definitely no hard feelings.”

Video: It took only 4:33 of the first period for Hurricanes to build 3-0 lead on Jets

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The Carolina Hurricanes got off to a spectacular start on Friday. Conversely, their opponent, the Winnipeg Jets, got off to a horrendous start.

Before Friday’s game was even five minutes old, the Hurricanes had built a three-goal lead. Phillip Di Giuseppe opened the scoring at 1:43 of the first period. By the 4:33 mark, when Jordan Staal scored, Carolina was up three, forcing a goalie change for the Jets.

Connor Hellebuyck was pulled after allowing three goals on six shots.

Update: It’s 4-0 Hurricanes . . . 10:04 into the game. Yup. Could be a long one tonight in Winnipeg.

Scrivens and slumping Habs face daunting task against McDavid and suddenly high-flying Oilers

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Connor McDavid is kind of good.

In the two games since his return to the Edmonton Oilers, he’s kind of — just kind of — had an impact. Five points in two games — that counts as an impact, right? Oh, and did you see this goal in his return earlier this week?

Since McDavid’s highly anticipated return Tuesday against Columbus, the Oilers have outscored the opposition 12-3 in two games. Small sample size? Yes. Against teams currently not in playoff positions? Yes.

But that’s still very impressive and with him in the lineup, there appears to be a sense of optimism in Edmonton.

Enter the free-falling Montreal Canadiens. Enter goalie Ben Scrivens, who only made his debut for the Habs at the end of December and will face his old team, the Oilers, on Saturday.

In four games with the Habs, Scrivens has been scored on 15 times.

The Habs, without Carey Price, have been in a tumble down the Eastern Conference standings for a long time now. And, really, there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight.

Now, the Habs and Scrivens are tasked with facing McDavid and the suddenly high-flying Oilers.

And Canadiens fans probably aren’t the cheeriest right now, as their team has gone from on the verge of NHL history in October to becoming an afterthought in the playoff picture in February.

In each of their last seven games, the Habs have failed to score more than two goals in regulation. So it would seem that if Montreal is to get a win, Scrivens will need to be as close to perfect as possible.

No pressure.

“Unfortunately, it seems like my whole career has been playing behind teams that don’t have that confidence, except for my time in L.A.,” Scrivens told reporters.

“It’s a challenge as a goalie but all you can do is worry about your job. I can’t go out there and start trying to break pucks out and do anything I’m not supposed to be doing. My job is to try and stop pucks and try and stop as many as I can.”

With the way McDavid and the Oilers have been scoring since the break and his return, it appears that will be a monumental task for Scrivens.

And with the Habs in a 1-8-1 slide in the past 10 games, the timing probably couldn’t get any worse.

 

Stars put Spezza on injured reserve, recall Faksa from AHL Texas

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Sitting three points out of top spot in the Central Division and on the eve of an important divisional clash on home ice with the Chicago Blackhawks, the Dallas Stars have placed center Jason Spezza on injured reserve retroactive to Thursday, the club announced on Friday.

Spezza, 32, was injured during Thursday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche. The Stars can move back to within a point of Chicago for the division lead with a regulation win on Saturday.

In 52 games this season, Spezza has 18 goals and 40 points, which ties him with Patrick Sharp for fourth on the team in total points.

With Spezza out, the Stars recalled 22-year-old forward Radek Faksa from the Texas Stars in the AHL.

Faksa has 15 goals and 26 points in 28 games this season with Texas. In 18 games with the NHL Stars, he has one goal and three points.