Commissioner Gary Bettman misses Cup presentation after COVID-19 diagnosis

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There was a small, but noticeable change in the presentation of the Stanley Cup to the 2021-22 champion Colorado Avalanche. As captain Gabriel Landeskog skated to receive the trophy, he was met by NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly as Commissioner Gary Bettman was absent after testing positive for COVID-19.

Bettman’s entrance and pre-Cup handout remarks is met annually with boisterous booing from fans in the arena where the Cup is won. But this year it was Daly, who did not receive any of the “love” Bettman usually receives.

It was the first time since Bettman took over as NHL Commissioner that he did not award the Cup to the winning captain.

Daly is no stranger to trophy presentations. It is typically hisl duty to present the Prince of Wales Trophy to the team that wins the Eastern Conference Final and the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl to the Western Conference Final winners.

After Landeskog started off the Cup celebrations, he handed the trophy off to Erik Johnson, who was traded to Colorado from St. Louis in 2010. Johnson then passed it off to Andrew Cogliano, who has played 1,140 regular-season NHL games.

Both Johnson and Cogliano had yet to win the Cup in their long NHL careers.

“It’s better than I imagined. This is amazing. I’m so proud of our guys,” Johnson said. “I got to Denver 12 years ago, we were dead last in the League. We came dead last four years after that. Five years ago, dead last. It’s just all about believing in yourself and surrounding yourself with people that believe in you and special things can happen.”

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.