It was just a couple of years ago that Brett Connolly, then with the Washington Capitals (now with the Florida Panthers) brought the Stanley Cup home to Prince George.

Connolly, who assisted on the game-winning goal in the final series, was given the Cup for a day after helping the Capitals win their first championship.

Jon Cooper of Prince George is the head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are just two victories shy of capturing this season’s Stanley Cup.

What a difference a year makes for Cooper who was on the hot seat after top-ranked Tampa was swept in the first round of the 2019 playoffs by the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Tampa leads the Dallas Stars 2-1 with Game 4 tonight (Friday) and Game 5 Saturday night in Edmonton.

Cooper’s parents still have ties to Prince George, but should Tampa win, he won’t be able to bring the Cup to his hometown.

Like just about everything else in 2020, the rules around the travelling Cup have changed because of COVID-19.

Unlike previous years, the Cup will not be given to each player and coach for them to share with family and friends regardless of where they live in the world.

Pierre LeBrun of TSN reported this week that he was informed the current plan is for the Cup to stay in the winning team’s local market for the duration of the off-season.

Winning a championship in the “bubble” should have the same significance as any other title.

One may argue it is more difficult to win in a pandemic year because teams do not have the home-ice advantage (as is the case in the NHL) or home-court advantage (as is the situation in the NBA).

One sacrifice for the champions is that there will be much less celebrating with their fans although Tampa, desperate for a winner, may end up with some type of hoopla that could include a parade.

This weekend, sports fans can watch NHL and NBA playoffs, the final games of the MLB regular season and the third Sunday of the NFL season.

Just being able to enjoy that kind of choice on television, considering the circumstances, is a bonus and should be enough for fans of teams that are on the verge of a title.

Sure, there is something special about having a Stanley Cup in a city like Prince George.

Obviously now is not the time for large crowds anywhere.

We can all hope things return to normal or even semi-normal by next year.

FROM THE QUOTE RACK:

SF 49ers lost QB Jimmy Garappolo, defensive end Nick Bosa, and RB Raheem Mostert to injury, and they still beat the New York Jets 31-13. The best bright spot ahead for Jets on the schedule might be in Week 11 when they take on Bye Week.

*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

The 49ers are blaming the ‘sticky’ turf at MetLife Stadium for all of the devastating injuries. Meanwhile, MetLife officials denied that their turf will be used to line the sides of buildings in the next ‘Spider-Man’ film.

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

I’m not saying the New York Mets are desperate to make the playoffs, but they’ve just invited all the teams ahead of them in the National League wild-card race to happy hour.

*Contributor Marc Ragovin of New York

Phillies pitcher Zack Wheeler had to be scratched from a start after he tore the nail of his right middle finger while putting on his pants. As any good Philadelphian knows, what good is a guy if he can’t use his middle finger?

*Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times http://www.seattletimes.com/author/dwight-perry/

IN CASE, YOU MISSED IT:

A man in Dorset, England, was rescued by the fire department after reporting his underpants drying in a microwave had burst into flame. Considering what was on fire, he’s lucky they believed him.

*Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

Hartley Miller is the news and sports supervisor and morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97.
He also is the 94.3 the Goat radio colour commentator for P.G. Cougars home games.
His column appears Fridays on myprincegeorgenow.com.
Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to [email protected]