The Vancouver Canucks accomplished a lot with their victory over the Carolina Hurricanes Monday night. They pushed their win streak to five. They gave Eddie Lack his first shutout in his first home start. And they put themselves back on an 100-point pace, which bodes well for their playoffs hopes, as does their move into first place in the Western Conference wild card race.
They also won The Championship Belt.
What is the belt? Imagine, for a moment, that the Stanley Cup is a challenge Cup, like it was originally envisioned, and that it’s up for grabs during regular-season meetings. In that situation, it would change hands fairly often. Last season, as I illustrated in a little what-if scenario over at Puck Daddy back in March, the Kings lost it in their first game of the year to the Chicago Blackhawks, who held it for nearly the entire month of January before losing it to the Minnesota Wild. The Wild subsequently handed it to the Anaheim Ducks in their very next game, who lost it to the Dallas Stars, who surrendered it to the Calgary Flames.
Suffice it to say, if last year’s Calgary Flames can win the Stanley Cup, the trophy’s not worth much. Thus, my conclusion at the end of that little lark was that it’s probably best that it’s a little harder to win.
But this season, a group of hockey fans on Reddit have decided to continue tracking this alternate award, not with the Stanley Cup, but with a secondary title: The Championship Belt. In their own words:
The Belt is given to the Team A that has defeated the cup holder (Blackhawks). It is then passed to the next team (Team B) that defeats Team A. Which is given to Team C once it defeats Team B. So on and so forth till the end of the season.
Like the traveling pants upon which a sisterhood was formed, The Belt has been all over the world this year.
Chicago started with it. Then Tampa won it. Then Pittsburgh won it. (They actually had it on Saturday, October 19th when they beat the Canucks 4-3 in a shootout.) Pittsburgh lost it to Colorado, who lost it to Nashville, who lost it to Winnipeg, who lost it to Minnesota. From there, it went to Montreal, then it was snatched by Washington, and finally, it fell to Carolina on December 3rd. And, after successfully defending it against Nashville and San Jose, the Carolina Hurricanes brought The Belt to Vancouver, and left without it.
The keepers of The Belt announced the feat to the Canucks’ subreddit yesterday with this graphic:
WE DID IT!!!!
Now, I know what you may be thinking: Great. Another regular season award. But this seems like too much fun to pass up. We at PITB have decided to formally embrace The Belt. We encourage other NHL team blogs to do the same.
By doing so, it sure makes this weekend interesting. The Boston Bruins are in town on Saturday night. As if there wasn’t already enough at stake, what with all that bad blood, there’s a good chance that it could be for The Belt. All the Canucks need to do is beat the Edmonton Oilers on Friday to retain it, and Saturday’s grudge match is also a title match.
All that said, I’m pretty sure that I can’t handle watching the Canucks lose another championship to the Bruins on home ice — even a meaningless, made-up one I just discovered — so a win on Saturday night would be most appreciated.
- – - – - – -The Belt