The Stanley Cup and its chaperon (Getty Images)

The battle for the NHL's Stanley Cup begins this evening. It's Boston against Vancouver, and there's a lot on the line. The Bruins have a five-title-series losing streak they'd love to break. The Canucks have never won the fact, it's been 18 years since any Canadian team has hung a championship banner!

If the Cup isn't the oldest trophy in pro sports, it has to be close. In fact, it predates the NHL itself, having been donated as a trophy for the top amateur hockey team in Canada by the then-Governor General, Lord Stanley of Preston, in 1892. If you want to impress the gang around the water cooler today, point out that the original Stanley Cup is only the silver punch bowl (yes, that's what it was originally) at the top of the trophy. The rest is just pedestal, whereon are inscribed the names of the winning teams, players and coaches each year.
There are a couple of interesting traditions surrounding the "hockey's holy grail". First, I'm told that only those who win it are allowed to touch it...though I've seen photos of just plain folk putting their fingerprints on it. And they call themselves hockey fans.
Second, during the off-season, the cup (and its chaperon) spends a  day with each member of the championship team, who apparently gets to do what he will with it.  Yes, it has actually been used as a punch bowl, but that's just the beginning. It's also been used as a dog dish and a horse trough. Babies have been bathed and baptised in it. It's been dunked, dented and even drop-kicked. One of my favorite sports blogs, Yahoo's Puck Daddy did some research.
Just for kicks, tell me, if you had the Stanley Cup for a day, what would you do with it?
Here's the series schedule from
#1 West vs. #3 East
Wednesday, June 1 at Vancouver, 8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
Saturday, June 4 at Vancouver, 8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
Monday, June 6 at Boston, 8 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Wednesday, June 8 at Boston, 8 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
*Friday, June 10 at Vancouver, 8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
*Monday, June 13 at Boston, 8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
*Wednesday, June 15 at Vancouver, 8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS