BOSTON -- The lore of the Stanley Cup added another chapter Wednesday, the historic trophy arriving at TD Garden not in the hands of Hockey Hall of Fame caretakers Phil Pritchard and Craig Campbell, but smuggled in by two NHL security officers.
"Both teams were very sensitive about it," said Pritchard, the "Keeper of the Cup," the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues wanting no part of the Stanley Cup or the Conn Smythe Trophy being in the arena any earlier than they had to be.
Indeed, the teams would have been happy had the sterling trophies been left in the parking lot.
For the first time since 1990, when Pritchard began the custom, he wasn't the one who brought the Cup and Conn Smythe into the arena. The Bruins and Blues didn't even want to see Pritchard, in fact, so he and Campbell arrived literally as the national anthem was being sung, each trophy having been in the building since 1:30 p.m. and housed in a makeshift room guarded by Boston police sergeants Michael Charbonnier and Mike Harrington.
With neither team wanting the trophies in TD Garden, presumably for reasons of superstition, and the NHL needing them there, the compromise was made to have security get the Cup and Conn Smythe into the arena in different hands.
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"I guess that makes it special and unique," Pritchard said, sitting near the ice-resurfacing machines during the first period. "Real or imagined, both teams want every edge they can get."
Pritchard spent Tuesday and Wednesday morning in New York doing a media tour with the Stanley Cup, NBC promoting Game 7 on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" and "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen," then "Squawk Box" and "Today," the Cup a glittering prop at every stop.
Campbell was in Boston since Monday, having arrived from Toronto with the Conn Smythe, and was waiting for Pritchard to arrive from New York in a limousine, the four-hour trip "uneventful," as Pritchard said happily.
As the two familiar Hall of Fame figures cooled their heels at their hotel two miles from TD Garden, two NHL security officers took the trophies to the arena, met by a Bruins security agent to roll the cases into a small temporary room maybe 50 yards from the ice-resurfacing machines.
Charbonnier and Harrington were happy to spend time with the Cup from 4 p.m. until it left the room for the on-ice presentation by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman to the first-time champion Blues.
A Stanley Cup tower that housed cupcakes in the media room was wheeled past the temporary room where the real Cup was stored. The cupcake cup was stopped at the door behind where the real Cup stood not knowing its cousin was behind the door.
Charbonnier admitted to having been a Montreal Canadiens fan, his heart scarred perhaps forever by the departure of Bruins icon Bobby Orr to the Chicago Blackhawks in 1976. Time has only somewhat healed that wound; his loyalty is divided today between the Canadiens and Bruins.
"When Bobby left the Bruins, I vowed never to root for them again," Charbonnier said. "Getting rid of Bobby Orr broke my heart. Hell hath no fury like a hockey fan scorned. Montreal was winning Cups year after year and they were easy to follow. I liked their uniforms and I have multiple scars to prove it."
With that, Charbonnier took off his hat and showed a scar at his right eyebrow, the reminder of a schoolyard scrap after the Canadiens eliminated the Bruins in the 1979 semifinals in the legendary too-many-men game.
"The next day I went to school and had to deal with all the Bruins fans," he said, posing with the Cup for a few photos.
Referee Wes McCauley, sidelined with a hamstring injury, spent some time with the trophy, taking photos with his family and that of fellow referee Chris Rooney, who was working the game.
Pritchard was mildly amused by the cloak-and-dagger of the day. Everyone knew the Stanley Cup would be presented by night's end, and it was no secret it had to be in the arena.
"It felt different," Pritchard admitted of arriving at TD Garden without even having seen the Cup and Conn Smythe before they were escorted to the room. "I mean, it's Game 7, someone's going to win. I understand it, I appreciate all the superstitions. You want every advantage you can, whether mental, physical or superstition. Anything you can get to help your team, I guess you have to admire them for that."