Everyone knows you’re not supposed to touch the conference or league trophy ahead of your campaign to win the Stanley Cup. But the Nashville Predators laugh in the face of superstition.
There he was, Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi. The Preds were standing with their well-deserved Presidents’ Trophy prior to their final regular season game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday evening.
Keeping with accepted NHL superstition, many teams would have kept a respectful distance from the trophy and all its playoff-affecting power. But Josi gripped it with something like defiance in his eyes as the cameras flashed:
Sorry, Predators fans. It was a good run while it lasted.
The Predators earned the Presidents’ Trophy after posting 115 points in 81 games. No other team can finish the year with more than 114.
Clearly, Nashville is a powerhouse this season, and its path to the Cup is virtually wide-open, with perhaps only Winnipeg in its own conference and then Tampa Bay and Boston in the East as the biggest obstacles to potentially overcome.
So, sure, if you want to look at things like ~records~ and ~statistics~, Nashville has a solid chance of hoisting the Cup.
But if you believe in the power of superstition — and who doesn’t, really? — the Predators just cursed themselves with an early exit.
To be sure, touching the conference or league trophy has worked wonders for some teams in the past. In 2009, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby asked the hockey gods to smile upon him as he touched Prince of Wales Trophy, and the Penguins went on to defeat the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Final. The year before, he didn’t touch the trophy and, lo and behold, Pittsburgh lost to Detroit in the Final.
But more often than not, keeping one’s hands to oneself is the way to go. In 2011, the Boston Bruins’ Zdeno Chara opted not to touch the conference trophy, and we all know what happened then. In 2010, the Blackhawks didn’t touch the trophy, and won.
The next few weeks will tell whether or not the Predators can survive the curse of touching the Presidents’ Trophy…or, simply winning it in general.