The NHL has plenty of great traditions. The Stanley Cup. The post-playoff series handshake. The bench-clearing brawl.
But how about each spring when the league hauls out those two guys in tuxedos and white gloves for the presentation of Lord Stanley's Cup?
With gentle movements and proper etiquette, the two well-groomed men place a polished, gleaming and spotless Cup on an ornate stand. Then Gary Bettman presents it to a sweaty, bearded hockey player who will soon slap a grimy kiss on it, fill it with champagne and chug.
Not to mention other unspeakable acts.
Well, it's still a long way until those guys get dolled up again. The NHL season is long. The playoffs are long. It will be warm again before we crown the 2004 Stanley Cup champion.
But the season begins soon and the anticipation is growing. Here are five burning questions as we ponder a sixth: What do those tuxedo guys do the rest of the year?
Can the Devils repeat?
How much players care about being deemed "the team of the era"