No one will ever forget Ray Bourque getting the first Stanley Cup pass from Joe Sakic. Who is the ideal “first pass” candidate on each current playoff team?
Who can forget Ray Bourque’s big moment June 9, 2001?
His Colorado Avalanche had just won their second Stanley Cup. He’d won his first at age 40 after 22 stellar, Hall-of-Fame-worthy seasons. It seemed the entire sport was cheering for him. When Avs captain Joe Sakic finally hoisted the chalice, everyone watching around the world knew who was getting it. It’s impossible not to get chills watching this, which ended up being Bourque’s final moment on the ice as a player:
Assessing all 16 playoff teams for 2014-15, we pondered who each team’s Bourque is. What non-captain will get the first Cup pass on each squad? It could b a sentimental favorite like Bourque or someone with whom the captain has a personal connection. You know who Henrik Sedin would pass it to.
ANAHEIM DUCKS: Ryan Getzlaf will surely pass it to partner in crime Corey Perry, even though they both won it in 2007. Next up: Francois Beauchemin and Ryan Kesler.
CALGARY FLAMES: Co-captains Jim Peplinski and Tim Hunter, in workout gear, joined Lanny McDonald to lift the Cup 26 years ago. Would injured Mark Giordano accept the Cup? Then again, recent optimistic reports suggest Giordano would be in full gear. In that case, how about he passes the mug to Matt Stajan, who has dealt with personal tragedy over the past year-and-a-half?
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS: Kimmo Timonen is 40 and in his 16th season, waiting for his first Cup. He’s also lucky to be on the ice after blood clots almost ended his career this season.
DETROIT RED WINGS: Stephen Weiss, who was a very good player for a long time on some pretty bad Florida teams, has the most tenure of any Red Wing without winning a Cup.
MINNESOTA WILD: It’s been a tough winter for Zach Parise, who lost his father, former NHLer J-P, to lung cancer. That makes Zach a heartfelt choice to receive the Holy Grail first.
MONTREAL CANADIENS: The Canadiens don’t have a designated ‘C’ and even though Carey Price cannot wear a letter, he’ll get the Cup first, provided he has enough energy to lift it.
NASHVILLE PREDATORS: Mike Fisher, 34, is a 15-year vet with 97 playoff games. He’s a relative greybeard and a fan favorite in Music City since he married Carrie Underwood.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS: Lubomir Visnovsky is one of the oldest, most experienced Isles. He somehow missed Cup wins in L.A. and Anaheim, playing for one while the other was on top.
NEW YORK RANGERS: The Cup definitely goes to Henrik Lundqvist. He’s the heartbeat of the team and a man who inspires reverence inside and outside the organization.
OTTAWA SENATORS: Biggest no-brainer in NHL history. GM Bryan Murray, who is battling cancer, has devoted his life to hockey and is one of the most amiable men in the game.
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS: David Perron and Paul Martin are worthy candidates yet to hoist the chalice, but Kris Letang is a nice choice after he overcame a terrifying stroke last year and was knocked out of the playoffs with a concussion this year. Maybe he would take the ice for the celebration.
ST. LOUIS BLUES: Only Bernie Federko has more games as a Blue than Barret Jackman, who has remained through Cup contention, a full rebuild and back to the top again.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING: Assuming he’s not in street clothes, veteran Brenden Morrow is the obvious choice. He joined Dallas as a rookie the season after it won its only Stanley Cup.
VANCOUVER CANUCKS: Imagine the shocking scene if captain Henrik didn’t pass the Cup to his twin, Daniel Sedin. It would be like two brothers refusing to share a toy in the sandbox.
WASHINGTON CAPITALS: Along with Alex Ovechkin, the longest-tenured Capital is Mike Green. He’s a pending UFA, so these playoffs could be his final ride with the franchise.
WINNIPEG JETS: The Jets lack an easy choice for the chalice, but Toby Enstrom ranks among their career leaders in most categories. He’s given them years of quality service.