There was a tiny, perceptible change in the introduction of the Stanley Cup to the 2021-22 hero Colorado Avalanche. As commander Gabriel Landeskog skated to get the prize, he was met by NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly as Commissioner Gary Bettman was missing after testing positive for COVID-19.
Bettman's entry and pre-Cup freebee comments are met yearly with raucous booing from fans in the field where the Cup is won. Daly didn't get any of the "affection" Bettman typically receives this year.
It was the initial time since Bettman took over as NHL Commissioner that he didn't grant the Cup to the triumphant skipper.
Daly is no more abnormal to prize introductions. He usually must introduce the Prince of Wales Trophy to the group that wins the Eastern Conference Final and the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl to the Western Conference Final victors.
After Landeskog got the Cup festivities going, he gave the prize to Erik Johnson, who was exchanged to Colorado from St. Louis in 2010. At that point, Johnson gave it to Andrew Cogliano, who has played 1,140 standard seasons of NHL games.
Both Johnson and Cogliano still couldn't seem to win the Cup in their long NHL professions.
"It's superior to what I envisioned. This is astonishing. I'm so glad for our folks," Johnson said. "I got to Denver quite a while back; we were way behind everyone in the League. We came furthest behind four years after that. Quite a while back, way behind everyone. It's only about having confidence in yourself and encircling yourself with individuals who trust you, and unique things can occur."