I wonder about that...I think you're right, although the team definitely gets to keep the "real" Cup right after the playoffs, as each player and coach gets a turn with it for a few days. Of couse, being a hockey fan, I'm sure you've heard many of the legendary stories about various abuses the poor Cup has suffered on these excursions--dents, dings, babies' bare bottoms sitting in the bowl while it is used as a tub, accidentally being left at bars, many visits to strip clubs in recent years. The list goes on and on!
I never thought about the fact that the Tampa Bay Lightning(!!!) might be the last team to win the Cup as we know it today. I swear, the way both sides are acting in this dispute, and the way the fans haven't even seemed to notice, makes me fear that the NHL as we knew it is done and gone. I heard over the weekend from a friend of mine who knows people in the Red Wings organization that the player's association is telling players that if there ends up being no season this year, as there obviously won't be, that they should plan on there being no season next year also and make appropriate financial arrangements. If the NHL is gone for two full years, it will be gone forever. There will certainly be another league to take its place, but I can't believe the arrogance and stupidity of all involved in this dispute. Can't they realize that, other than the diehard fans, people just don't care about hockey the way the do the other major sports? That, in the US anyhow, hockey really can't even be called a "major" sport anymore, as NASCAR is clearly more popular and should be thought of as the "fourth major."?
I have never seen a group of athletes and owners be so absolutely suicidal as the hockey folks are being right now. When baseball lost the World Series, it took a LONG time for the fans to come back, and that is supposedly the U.S. national pasttime (although in reality, football passed baseball a long time ago). People are realizing they can get along just fine without pro hockey, and I think the folks involved in this fiasco are in for a rude awakening if (not when) they come back. I know here in Michigan anyhow (much like in Canada), there is plenty of hockey for folks who love the game--great teams at the University of Michigan and Michigan State, as well as very competitive teams at schools like Ferris State and Lake Superior State; plenty of minor league hockey in almost every Michigan city of any note, not to mention Sarnia, Windsor, and Sault St. Marie; junior hockey; travel hockey, even high school hockey--many hockey fans are learning that these options are often more exciting than the pro game anyhow.
I just shake my head every time I hear another story about how the two sides aren't even talking. It's just sad.