- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 30, 2013

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

One of the many things that make the Stanley Cup playoffs so much fun is the sport has some cool traditions. The playoff beards. The handshake line when it is over, no matter how grueling or physical the series.

Best of all? Members of the winning organization get to spend a whole day with the Stanley Cup during the offseason.


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“Somebody brings it right to your front door,” said winger Troy Brouwer, the only Capitals player who has been on a Cup-winning team. He was a member of the 2010 champion Chicago Blackhawks and on July 15, 2010, the Cup was in North Delta, British Columbia, for a day with Brouwer. “They’ll come as early as you want. You get a full day to do what you want.”

How cool is that? This absolutely has to happen.

The Caps begin their Stanley Cup quest Thursday night against the New York Rangers. If they can survive four series, somehow win 16 games, it’s go time. Hoisting the Cup — another excellent tradition — is only the beginning.

Perhaps the Caps would be kind enough to let the rest of the town share. The Cup could throw out the first pitch at a Nats game. It could call “heads” during the coin flip at a Redskins game. It could sink a 3-pointer for the Wizards.

To hear hockey players talk about it, the Cup can do pretty much anything. They don’t talk about it as if it is an inanimate object. It isn’t. It lives.

“That’s how guys see it,” Brouwer said. “It’s not just a trophy that you win. I don’t know, it’s like a figurehead. It’s like an ultimate goal that you want to be with and not just hold it once. You want to be with it as many times as you can.”

Mike Ribeiro could take the Cup for a spin in his fancy Bentley. Karl Alzner would have to be careful. He famously posted a picture on Twitter of some damage his dogs did to his apartment while he was at a game. Alex Ovechkin might need a whole day to get it through his big, new house, but he could pose with it next to the Hart Trophy he ought to win.

“Everybody has dreamed about it, I think, that’s no secret. You mess around with your buddies, ask them what they’d do if they had it for a day,” winger Joel Ward said. “I think you’d keep it close to your family, have a good day with it, maybe a little barbecue action.”

Said Eric Fehr, “I got an opportunity to spend the day with the Calder Cup [the American Hockey League championship trophy]. Obviously, it is a smaller scale, but it is a good time to kind of reflect on the year and celebrate it with your friends and family. I can only imagine what that would be like with the Stanley Cup.”

To hear Brouwer tell it, it would be amazing, awesome and totally cool all rolled into one and then taken to the 100th power.

The tradition is fairly new. The New Jersey Devils started it in 1995. Now, the organization gets a 100-day window to make sure the Cup gets around to everyone. A crew of Cup handlers (talk about a way cool job) is responsible for its transport and one must be within sight of the Cup at all times.

Brouwer got the absolute maximum out of his day in 2010.

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