Touching the trophy: you don't change a winning formula

Captain Steven Stamkos and his Tampa Bay Lightning teammates grabbed and touched the Prince of Wales Trophy on Saturday night after knocking out the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Touching the trophy: you don't change a winning formula

Captain Steven Stamkos and his Tampa Bay Lightning teammates grabbed and touched the Prince of Wales Trophy on Saturday night after knocking out the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals.

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The “Bolts” had done the same in 2020 and 2021, before getting their hands on the Stanley Cup.

“Listen to me, we deserve this trophy and it took us a lot of sacrifices to win it. It's important to celebrate that, Stamkos said after the match. It is so rare to do this and I am privileged to have had this experience three years in a row. We will enjoy, be proud of ourselves and we will get back to work tomorrow.

"It's something we can be proud of and we need to share this moment with everyone who helped us get there. It's kind of been our motto for the past few years."

In 2015, when the Lightning reached the Stanley Cup Final, Stamkos refused to touch the Prince of Wales Trophy. The Tampa Bay team was then defeated by the Chicago Blackhawks.

Not touching the trophy awarded to Eastern Conference champions or the one in the West – the Clarence S. Campbell Trophy – is a superstition that has endured for many years in the NHL, but which seems to be about to disappear.

In the last six Stanley Cup conquests, five teams from the East have won the top honors. Their captains, Sidney Crosby (2016-2017), Alex Ovechkin (2018) and Stamkos (2020-2021) had all won the Prince of Wales trophy.

Zdeno Chara decided to stay away in 2019 and the Boston Bruins lost the Grand Final in seven games to the St. Louis Blues. The 2010-2011 edition of the "Oursons" is the last team to win the Stanley Cup after refusing to touch the distinction awarded in the East.

Going back to the 2022 playoffs, the Colorado Avalanche – who won the Western Finals – also made superstition. After having discussed it at length among themselves and with general manager Joe Sakic, the players of the “Avs” chose to celebrate with the Clarence-S.-Campbell trophy.

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