One of the many reasons hockey is the greatest sport in all the lands: The karmic rules and regulations that govern superstitious behavior. The manic beliefs that turn goaltenders into neurotic post-tapping obsessives. The unspoken parameters that keep visitors to the dressing room from trampling the logo. The guidelines on when you should, or should not, touch certain trophies.
The power forward had his day with the Stanley Cup over the weekend in Roseau, Minn., two months after winning it with the Chicago Blackhawks. Of course, he's no longer a Blackhawk, having been traded to the Atlanta Thrashers in Chicago's great salary purge of '10.
Other former members of the Blackhawks wore their Chicago sweaters with the Cup, including Andrew Ladd(notes) (in his Christian rock album cover photo) and Brent Sopel(notes) (at Chicago's fabulous gay pride parade), both of whom are members of the Thrashers now. Byfuglien, however, went generic, though he did rock a White Sox hat at a community Cup rally; telling reporters that he wanted the day to be about the Chalice and not him.
As you can see, Byfuglien did eventually wear a jersey with the Cup: His Atlanta Thrashers No. 33 sweater, worn for the first time and tweeted by agent Ben Hankinson. Which brings us back to hockey karma.
Is it a jinx for Byfuglien to touch the Cup in a Thrashers jersey? Does Buff get a pass on the whole "not until you win it" thing because he just won it? Is there anything more jarring, as a hockey fan, than seeing the Stanley Cup that close to an Atlanta jersey? Well, at least since this photo was taken?
To that end: The Thrashers have never won a playoff game. Could Byfuglien touching the Cup somehow create a hockey karma paradox in which two seemingly unlucky things collide to create good fortune? Might the Thrashers win the Eastern Conference this season? And if so, will the Wales Trophy still say "Washington Capitals"?
We respectfully ask you, fellow puckheads and followers of hockey superstitions:
Pass or Fail: It's OK for Dustin Byfuglien to hoist the Stanley Cup while dressed as an Atlanta Thrasher.