Washington Capitals players celebrated their Stanley Cup victory hard in June. There were shirtless fountain celebrations, sloppy parties, drunk tattoos, and Cup stands. Lots and lots of Cup stands. But the Stanley Cup managed to survive without a ding or a scratch.
“The guys were really, really careful that they weren’t going to damage it,” Philip Pritchard, the Keeper of the Cup, said to USA Today’s Michelle R. Martinelli in mid June.
“All Alex’s weight was on [Braden] Holtby and [Brooks] Orpik, they were holding it all. There was no pressure on the Cup or anything,” Pritchard said of the team’s ritual. “And that’s what I think is great about a Stanley Cup champion: they know how hard it is to win, and they’re not going to do anything disrespectful or that can damage the trophy in any way.”
However, in late July, something seemed different about the Cup.
During the Cup’s jaunt through the midwest, new head coach Todd Reirden picked up the championship trophy from its case. Something was noticeably off.
The Stanley Cup’s bowl was bent and misshapen.