Edmonton Oilers take hands-off approach with winning the Campbell Bowl

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Thanks, but no thanks.

As much as it meant to the Edmonton Oilers to win the Western Conference final over the Dallas Stars on Sunday and move on to their first Round 4 appearance in 18 years, the team didn’t want much to do when it came to accepting the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl.

While they all lined up and smiled during the presentation to team captain Connor McDavid by NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly following a 2-1 win in Game 4 at Rogers Place, no member of the team got within two feet of the conference hardware.

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The Florida Panthers, their opponents in the Stanley Cup Final, which get underway Saturday in Ft. Lauderdale, also didn’t come into contact with the Prince of Wales trophy after dispatching the New York Rangers, 2-1, in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final one night earlier.

“We didn’t really talk about it at all until the end of the game there,” McDavid said. “I know they didn’t touch it. We didn’t touch it. Someone’s going to win it.”

The last ‘it’ is in reference to the only trophy on everyone’s mind at this point: Lord Stanley’s Cup.

Last year, the Vegas Golden Knights didn’t touch the conference trophy on the way to winning the Stanley Cup over the Panthers.

And recent history shows there might be good reason for it, too, after nine of the 15 teams that didn’t touch the conference trophy over the past 17 years went on to win the big one.

Jason Smith was the Oilers captain during their last appearance in the Stanley Cup Final in 2006, and he avoided physical contact with the Campbell trophy before finally falling to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 7.

“There wasn’t a whole of discussion, it just came about,” Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said Sunday. “Obviously, we’ve never been in this situation.

“We didn’t talk about it before and that was the decision.”

E-mail: [email protected]

On Twitter: @GerryModdejonge

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