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Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Updated: May 27, 8:43 AM ET
Why Crosby touching the Prince of Wales Trophy isn't a bad thing

The Pittsburgh Penguins swept the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday to earn a return trip to the Stanley Cup finals. OK, not so shocking.

What is? Sidney Crosby's move to touch and (gasp!) carry the Prince of Wales Trophy off the ice.

As some of you might know, hockey players can be superstitious, and one of the long-standing superstitions is to not touch any trophy unless it's the granddaddy of trophies: the Stanley Cup. Otherwise, you're bringing on bad hockey luck.

But are you really?

Thanks to our friends in ESPN Research, here's why that theory isn't all that:

1991 Wales Conference finals: On May 11, the Penguins advanced to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time in team history after beating the Bruins in six games. Penguins captain Mario Lemieux picked up the Prince of Wales Trophy and skated around with it. Pittsburgh went on to win the Stanley Cup, beating the Minnesota North Stars in six games.

1997 Western Conference finals: On May 26, the Detroit Red Wings advanced to their second Stanley Cup final in three seasons after beating the rival Colorado Avalanche in six games. After the post-series handshake, Wings captain Steve Yzerman picked up the Campbell Trophy. The Red Wings went on to sweep the Philadelphia Flyers to win the Stanley Cup.

2000 Eastern Conference finals: On May 26, the Devils rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to beat the Flyers 2-1 in the decisive Game 7. Despite captain Scott Stevens picking up the Prince of Wales Trophy, the Devils went on to win the Cup in six games over the Dallas Stars.

2003 Eastern Conference finals: On May 23, the Devils ousted the Senators in seven games to advance to the Cup finals. Stevens again touched and carried the Wales Trophy, and the team took a picture with it. New Jersey went on to win the Cup.