Monday, June 05, 2006


Eyes on the Prize - An Ode to the Stanley Cup

This is a re-post of a post I did two years ago when the Flames and Lightning were set to face off for the cup.

I'm bringing it back because it's just as relevant now as it was then, and most of you didn't travel around these parts two years ago.

As for my prediction for this year's finals, I decided to flip a coin. My predictions have been less than 50% this entire playoffs, so a coin flip isn't going to provide any less of an 'expert' pick than the ones I've given.

Coin says: Oilers. (Yes, my currency talks to me)
This series is going 7 games no matter who wins. I can feel it.


Without a doubt, the Stanley Cup is, by far, the coolest trophy in all of professional sports. It's not even close!

Not to diminish the championships of other sports (The World Cup of Soccer is a fine event), but none of their trophies even come close to the sweetness and awesomeness factor that the Stanley Cup does.

Do you ever hear Shaquille O'Neal rap about bringing the (whatever the hell it's called) NBA Championship trophy back to the 'hood to show his homies? Do you ever hear Brett Favre declare his worship for the Vince Lombardi Trophy? Of course not!

For them, "The Ring's the thing!". Athletes dream of winning it all, but none of their trophies can hold a candle to Lord Stanley's Mug.

Ask any Canadian kid, who likes hockey, what their ultimate dream would be. Chances are, they would say "I want to win the Stanley Cup!"

The Stanley Cup is a symbol of pride, identification, superiority, and unity among Canadians. People are drawn to it like flies to a lantern. What other trophy has a full-time bodyguard, takes cross continent tours, and attracts more fawning visitors than The Beatles?

So, what makes the Stanley Cup the king of trophies?

1. Immortality - Look at the other major championship trophies, and all you see on them is the name of the team that won that year. Unless you are a fan of that team, or have a great knowledge of that sport's history, chances are, you won't know many of the players who were a part of that winning team.

In hockey, however, each and every contributing member of a winning team will forever have their name immortalized one on the rings. Their names will prominently be displayed beside legendary names like Maurice Richard, Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky, and Jiri Slegr.

Looking at the Stanley Cup, you can see who played a part in each winning team, which is quite the ego boost for the players, as well as a great display of the history behind the battles fought to win the cup.

For the winning players, their names will stay on the cup, or in the Hall of Fame (the older rings are removed and put on display), for all time... or at least until radiation from Nuclear Armageddon disintegrates the silver.

2. The Price Paid - I'm not talking about Mike Ilitch's Pizza $$$$s, here, but rather the physical and mental price paid to win the cup.
Hockey is, by far, the most physically gruelling of the major team sports.

Sure, the NFL is physically brutal, but they only play 16 regular season games and 3 playoff games, and never more than once a week!! The NBA has a similar schedule to the NHL, but basketball isn't even close to the NHL on the physicality scale. Major League Baseball? Well, unless you consider scratching your crotch to be physically demanding, baseball is quite easy compared to hockey.

Take a 10 game preseason and add 82 regular season games (with games on back-to-back nights, plus practices), and that's just to make the playoffs. Once in the playoffs, you�ll play no less than 20 games, generally. It really is a "Second Season", as it takes about 2 months to complete.

We often hear stories of how NHL players play through excruciating pain (with the exception of Alexander Mogilny, who wouldn't play with a cold) in the quest for the cup: Broken ribs (Joe Thornton), broken hands (Robert Lang), torn knees (Brett Hull), missing brains (Tie Domi) and severe concussions (Jeremy Roenick) haven't stopped players from chasing the dream. Those who win the cup have literally given a piece of themselves away in the process.

3. Durability - Like the players that pine for it, the Stanley Cup is just as durable and resilient as they are. The cup has been thrown and left overnight in the Rideau Canal, tossed from a rock star's balcony into a swimming pool, and even survived a torrid lap dance. The cup can withstand a beating and, like a good hockey player, look just as good as new with a bit of bodywork.

4. Practicality - The other sport's trophies are certainly nice looking, but, really, they are nothing more than overrated Christmas ornaments. What can you do with a World Series trophy besides look at it, or use it as a paperweight?

Lord Stanley's Cup is just so much more useful. It can be used to serve popcorn, pretzels, Jello-shots, beer, wine, and even eggnog. It can even be used as a bread-roller if you want to bake really big cookies.

When it's not being used as a piece of kitchenware, the Stanley Cup can be used for alternative uses: A piece of exercise equipment (great for shoulder presses), a toboggan, or as an instrument to club baby seals.

5. Your Day with the Cup - In what other sport do you get to take the championship trophy home for a whole day? The Stanley Cup is just so totally sweet, that the players can bring it wherever they want and do (almost) whatever they desire with the big mug: Take it in the shower, sleep with it, make love to it, hold a parade with it, take it on Jay Leno, etc. It's a just reward for the price paid to get it.

The Stanley Cup is truly the ultimate sports prize...Forget the rings, the banners, or the playoff bonuses, for they mean nothing in comparison to the shining beacon that is the Stanley Cup.

There's Jes and the cup.

Tie Domi was/is missing more than just his brain...
Jiri Slegr? How'd you slip that name in with the list of 'immortals'?

That picture alone is worth at least a five-goal third period.

Jes 5, Sweden 1

I bow down to you. ;)

(Feeling a bit guilty over the Mullet-calling).
I'm brazilian (land of soccer!), but you're right, no cup even come close the STANLEY CUP!!
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