Surfing through Twitter and Facebook this afternoon, I noticed how so many fans want to see their team walk away with the President's Trophy. These would include fans of the Blues, Canucks, New York Rangers, Penguins and Flyers.
For all of you who don't follow hockey too closely, the trophy was introduced in the National Hockey League in the 1985-1986 season to award the team in the league that has the best overall regular season record. Nice gesture? Yeah, but history will show you that it doesn't mean anything.
25 times, 15 different teams have received it. Only seven have walked away with the real deal, the Stanley Cup. Lately, teams like the Vancouver Canucks and the Washington Capitals were a perfect example of how the President's trophy can distract a team. Top seeded Vancouver lost in the seventh game of the Stanley Cup Final last year against the Boston Bruins. In 2010, the Capitals walked away with the leagues best record. They also walked out of the playoffs early, after losing to the eighth seed Montreal Canadiens in seven games.
The last team to win the trophy and the Cup in the same season was the 2007-2008 Detroit Red Wings, who beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.
The Penguins are a victim of the trophy's misfortune. During the 1992-93 season, the back-to-back Stanley Cup champions were riding high. A 14 game winning streak and the best record in the game brought the trophy to Pittsburgh. The club was in the fast lane to win their third in a row. That was until the New York Islanders shocked them in seven games, a memory that still lives in the minds of fans today.
It obvious that people like myself and others might make a big deal about a trophy that most don't even know existed. If anything, it's a distraction in the eyes of loyal fans and the traditionalists of the game.
The St. Louis Blues are on track to win the President's trophy this year. A surprise team, under the direction of veteran coach Ken Hitchcock, the Blues are a young team playing inspired hockey in a market that may have forgotten about its hockey club. But beware.
The Blues remind me of the 2010 Capitals. A young, inexperienced team in the postseason who won the President's trophy, which the Blues may eventually do. It's a distraction for those young guys. Of course their goal since they were kids was to win the Stanley Cup, but that hardware is a distraction, and for some a curse.
Traditional hockey fans might agree that the league was better before the President's trophy was introduced. Perhaps the 1985-86 Edmonton Oilers, the first recipients of the award, might have won six Stanley Cups in the 1980's.