To touch or not touch: that's the hockey question

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To touch or not touch: that's the hockey question

By Justin Aucoin
WickedGoodSports.com

Professional athletes are a peculiar bunch when it comes to well, everything. From how they put their gear on to what they eat before every game to how many times they wipe their butts after dropping the kids off at the pool theyre probably the biggest superstition believers since the Salem Witch Trials.

And when it comes down to conference trophies the big question is should the players touch the trophy or no?

Ask any fan and were sure 90 of them would scream at you for even suggesting the idea that their favorite team should touch a conference trophy. Youd think the act of touching would spread harmful disease.

Really the fans are just as paranoid and superstitious as players (if not more so) afraid that touching a minor achievement like earning the Prince of Wales trophy might tempt the gods into screwing their favorite team in the finals.

But is there any truth to the myth?

According to NHL.com, not really.

Since 2001 NHL teams that have touched their respective trophy have gone 4-5 in the finals.

A virtual 50-50 shot? So much for getting the hockey gods on your side.

And yet some players will touch the trophy, acknowledging the fruits of their labor.

While others barely want to be seen within the vicinity of it.

Were all for athletes staying focused at the task at hand but stopping off at major landmarks and milestones is a nice way to take a quick breather, realize how far youve come and how close you are to the ultimate goal.

But should fans and players be too paranoid about touch trophies, they should at least hire out Hayden Panettiere to do the trophy fondling for them.

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

BOSTON -- With three crushing losses in a row at a time when results are really all that matters, the Boston Bruins are reeling at the wrong time during the regular season. The B’s tried their best to win a game 0-0 with strong defense against a sleepy Chicago Blackhawks bunch on Friday night, but ultimately coughed up a Marian Hossa goal in the final minutes for a 1-0 regulation loss at TD Garden.

The defeat continued a swirl downward for the Black and Gold over the last week, and was a second straight shutout loss on home ice for the first time in almost 15 years. The losing stretch has also kicked up the chatter that Claude Julien is in trouble as head coach of the Bruins, and the hockey club’s underperformance up and down the lineup is ultimately going to cost the NHL’s longest tenured bench boss his job.

The Ottawa Senators have passed the Bruins in the Atlantic Division, and it’s only a matter of time before the Toronto Maple Leafs move by them as well with both Toronto and Ottawa holding six games in hand on Boston. Combine all of this with the B’s having missed the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons leading into this one, and it shouldn’t be at all surprising that Julien is squarely on the coaching hot seat.

The B’s bench boss was asked about his job security after the Chicago loss, and clearly didn’t appreciate the tough, but appropriate question.

“Well, I’m not into shock-journalism,” said Julien in a prideful tone. “So I’ll stay away from that question if you don’t mind.”

The Bruins posted their Saturday schedule shortly after Julien and the B’s players had addressed the media following the loss, and sure enough the embattled coach is scheduled to address the media post-practice as part of the regular practice day routine. So it doesn’t seem that a move with Julien is imminent this weekend despite another loss, but both the coach and the players know something is going to happen to shake things up with this team if they continue to struggle.

“Right now it’s a results based situation, so if you’re going to keep losing games then probably something’s going to happen,” said Torey Krug. “But right now we’re just pretty down emotionally after this game, so I don’t want to look at the big picture. I just [want to] focus on what’s going on in this room, and hopefully we can come back with a good effort the next game.”

A good effort might help Julien’s standing with the Bruins in the short term, but it’s impossible to imagine the B’s bench boss making it through the rest of the Bruins regular season given all of things working against him right now.