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Oops. Got so busy watching the Pens last night that I forgot to post. So I'll get back on track this way: Day Three this morning before I head to work, Day Four at some point tonight.

I really went back and forth on this one. I love that there are unofficial 'rules' for an activity that is not a legal play on the ice -- hell, I love that fighting exists in hockey and hasn't been pushed out as it has in other sports.

I also love the handshake line at the end of a playoff series. In fact, it's the moment I particularly want to watch on TV between any two teams.

But the tradition that stands out for me revolves around this:

When a team wins that historic Cup, the league's commissioner hands it over to them that night. Not that season's replica. The actual over-a-century-old Cup itself.

(Okay, we all have to pretend that the original original silver bowl is on there, even if it's been placed in protective custody in the Hockey Hall of Fame. And that there are now two Cups, since the Hall decided that people who visit them shouldn't be cheated out of seeing it.)

The tradition I love most is that the winners get to take that baby home with them for at least a day. They drink out of it, eat out of it, pose with their families and friends next to it, take it places and raise funds for charity with it. No other sport has such a personal connection to its championship trophy. On that day, that Cup simultaneously belongs to both the player who possesses it, and to each player whose name is engraved upon it.

Must be an awesome feeling.
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April 2012

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