As Sean McIndoe wrote about last week, the roughly 21-year tradition of the captain of the Stanley Cup champions handing off the trophy to a special someone is one hockey fans have come to anticipate almost as much as the Conn Smythe winner.
So, if the Cup was expected to go to Pascal Dupuis, who checked many of the boxes required to receive this honour — aged veteran who’d faced steep adversity and become a sentimental, fan favourite — some would have been surprised to see Trevor Daley accept the Cup from captain Sidney Crosby.
Daley has only been with the Pittsburgh Penguins since December, is 32 years old, and while he did fracture his ankle late in the postseason — missing the entirety of the Cup Final — that adversity does not compare to Dupuis’ dangerous blood clot that forced him to retire.
Why Daley, then?
“He had been through some different playoffs, but getting hurt at the time he did, knowing how important it was, he had told me that he went [to see] his mom in between series and stuff, she wasn’t doing well, she wanted to see him with the Cup,” Crosby told reporters after Sunday night’s Cup-clinching victory. “That was important to her. I think that kind of stuck with me after he told me that. We were motivated to get it for him, even though he had to watch.”
Daley’s mother, Trudy, is battling cancer, according to the Associated Press.
Daley then handed the Cup to Dupuis.
The Toronto-born defenceman has played 12 seasons in the NHL since being drafted by the Dallas Stars in 2002. He briefly played for the Chicago Blackhawks this season before being acquired by the Penguins. He has 239 points in 838 career games.