NHL Stanley Cup: Ranking the 15 Most Insane Championship Rings in Hockey HistoryMay 29, 2012
NHL Stanley Cup: Ranking the 15 Most Insane Championship Rings in Hockey History
When it comes to professional sports, there is no greater accomplishment than winning a championship.
For the only league fueled by ageless tradition, awarding the champion with the most storied trophy in sports is no exception.
Because the Cup has had virtually every party story known to man, including the tale about being vandalized by teenagers who found it in a basement or how it was mistakenly left on the side of the road, winning a Stanley Cup ring will last more than a lifetime.
Here are the 15 most incredible Stanley Cup rings ever created...
15. 1999 Dallas Stars
Conn Smyth: Joe Nieuwendyk
This gorgeous emerald and diamond ring commemorates the first Stars (Minnesota and Dallas) Stanley Cup victory in franchise history.
On June 19, 1999, the Dallas Stars outlasted the Buffalo Sabres in a triple-overtime game six win.
Much of the attention of the series was given to goaltending, and in the thrilling six-period game netminders Ed Belfour and Dominik Hasek saved a combined 101 shots out of the 104 fired.
The game and series finally concluded when one of the most underrated goal-scorers of all time netted the triple-overtime game-winning goal nearly 80 minutes after the previous goal scored by either team.
While with the St. Louis Blues, the son of the former Chicago Blackhawk great "The Golden Jet" recorded 228 goals in three consecutive seasons.
However, the Hall of Famer never scored a more memorable goal than the game-winner in the Marine Midland Arena in Buffalo, New York.
14. 1966 Montreal Canadiens
World-famous rapper B.G. created the true lyrical poetry titled "Bling Bling" in 1999, however the '66 Habs were the first NHL franchise to ice-out their Stanley Cup rings with a then-record nine diamonds.
Conn Smyth: Roger Crozier (Detroit Red Wings Goalie)
Captained by the legendary Jean Beliveau, the 1966 Montreal Canadiens polished off the Detroit Red Wings with a game six overtime win.
This Stanley Cup would be the last of the "Original Six" era of the NHL as the league expanded to 12 teams, adding the Minnesota North Stars, St. Louis Blues, California Golden Seals, Los Angeles Kings, Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins. Of these six expansion teams, the Kings and Blues have still never drank from the cup.
13. 2007 Anaheim Ducks
Its a relief to see that the front office stuck with the more modern Ducks logo rather than the more famous Emilio-era Mighty Ducks.
Conn Smyth: Scott Niedermayer
In the 2007 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs, the No. 2 seeded Anaheim Ducks rolled over the Minnesota Wild, Vancouver Canucks and Detroit Red Wings in just 16 games to win the Western Conference.
In a matchup against the fast, sharp-shooting Ottawa Senators, the Ducks were forced to rely on strong defense and special teams to defeat the Sens in just five games.
The Ducks posted the top penalty-killing percentage throughout the 2007 playoffs, largely a credit to Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer.
While the Ducks organization was more than happy to hoist the Cup, "The Finnish Flash" was far too emotional to engage in a post-game interview.
12. 2001 Colorado Avalanche
Since it's virtually impossible to create an actual rendition of an avalanche onto a piece of jewelry, the Colorado Avalanche front office stuck the jersey logo "A" on these beautiful 2001 Stanley Cup Champion's rings.
Conn Smyth: Patrick Roy (NHL-record third Conn Smyth Award)
In an incredible seven-game series, the Hall of Fame-filled Colorado Avalanche defeated the defending champion Devils headlined with such stars as Patrick Roy, Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg and the infamous Ray Bourque, who retired following the Cup victory.
Since this series, there has only been one defending Champion to return to the Finals the following season (2008 Detroit Red Wings).
11. 1993 Montreal Canadiens
The 1993 Montreal Canadiens were awarded these unique Stanley Cup rings after defeating Hollywood and their newly acquired forward Wayne Gretzky.
Conn Smyth: Patrick Roy
In game one of the five game series, the Kings essentially shut-out the Habs as Montreal's only goal was a pass that Gretzky deflected into his own net.
Following the embarrassing game one loss in Montreal, the Canadiens and legendary goaltender Patrick Roy won three straight overtime games to take a commanding 3-1 series lead into Los Angeles for game five.
In their 4-1 victory in game five, the Canadiens defense held The Great One to zero shots on goal.
10. 1975 Philadelphia Flyers
Game three of this series was the legendary "Fog Game" where the ridiculous heat of Buffalo's arena created a thick fog that the Flyers and Sabres played through for the majority of the game.
The game officially became the weirdest in NHL history when a bat started flying above the players until it was brutally murdered by Sabres center Jim Lorentz.
Unfortunately, the Flyers failed to incorporate either a bat or fog in their Stanley Cup ring.
Conn Smyth: Reggie Leach
Their 1975 Cup was the last of the Broad St. Bullies era and the most recent Flyers victory to date.
9. 1991 Pittsburgh Penguins
Instead of the traditional white belly of a penguin, the '91 team decided to insert a fat diamond for their Stanley Cup rings.
Conn Smyth: No. 66
With a prolific goal from "Super Mario" coupled with the astonishing mullet of Jaromir Jagr, the 1991 Pittsburgh Penguins were not to be defeated.
8. 2006 Carolina Hurricanes
Like Colorado, naming a team after a natural disaster really limits the creativity of a Stanley Cup ring.
However, the 2006 Hurricanes chose to incorporate their team logo as a necklace for Lord Stanley's Cup with one of the most unique rings of all time.
Conn Smyth: Cam Ward
Led by current Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette, the '06 Canes surprised the NHL with their first and only Stanley Cup victory.
This Stanley Cup Finals featured two former WHA franchises in the Carolina Hurricanes and Edmonton Oilers, and one stand-out in particular.
After losing two consecutive games in the Conference quarterfinals, Coach Lavi pulled the veteran Martin Gerber and started the rookie Cam Ward in goal.
Though he was an NHL novice, Ward shined for the Canes posting 15 wins, two shutouts, a .920 save percentage and 2.14 goals against average.
Ward's 15 wins tied Patrick Roy and Ron Hextall for most playoff wins as a rookie goaltender in NHL history—the first rookie goalie to win the Conn Smyth since Hextall in 1987.
7. 1986 Montreal Canadiens
The team logo filled with diamonds proudly indicates the longevity of the Montreal dynasty and their reign over the National Hockey League.
Conn Smyth: Patrick Roy
In their first Finals appearance in franchise history, the Calgary Flames faced-off against the most dominant franchise of all time and their 32nd stint in the Cup Finals.
Just nine seconds into overtime of game five, Brian Skrudland etched his name into NHL history with the fastest overtime playoff goal in NHL history.
With their game five victory against the Flames, the Habs won their 17th Stanley Cup in their last 18 Finals appearances.
6. 2008 Detroit Red Wings
This bling encompasses a pleasant reminder as to how great the Red Wing franchise is, showcasing each Stanley Cup win on one side of the ring.
Conn Smyth: Henrik Zetterberg
Before 2008, the Penguins had failed to reach the Cup Finals since their back-to-back Stanley Cups from Super Mario and Jaromir Jagr.
The Wings dominated the first two games of the series a combined 7-0, however the Pens forced the series to six games after an incredible triple-overtime goal by Petr Sykora.
Conn Smyth winner Henrik Zetterberg polished off game six with just seven minutes remaining, giving Detroit it's first Cup since Steve Yzerman touched the Conference Champion trophy in 2002.
5. 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins
Unfortunately for sniper Marian Hossa, he swapped teams at the exact opposite time that was ideal to win a Stanley Cup as he started for both teams defeated in the 2008 and 2009 Stanley Cup Finals.
Even more awesome than the ridiculous story Hossa lived through, the '09 Pens championship ring featured three team logos representing the Penguins' march to the Stanley Cup.
Conn Smyth: Evgeni Malkin
For budding stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, losing the first two on the road meant nothing at all even though a similar situation had not yielded a series win since the 1971 Canadiens.
Behind the stoic Evgeni Malkin's playmaking ability and Sidney Crosby's unmatched mental dominance, the Penguins were able to outlast the mighty Red Wings in seven games to win their first Cup since 1992.
4. 2003 New Jersey Devils
This Devils ring allows the ruby team logo to stand out amongst a ridiculous amount of diamonds and gold.
This year's Devils squad could literally "Beat LA!" and no one in the greater Los Angeles area would even notice. Perhaps Metta World Peace would congratulate the Devils on winning the World Series as he frequently mixes up important, obvious national holidays.
Conn Smyth: Jean-Sebastien Giguere (Mighty Ducks of Anaheim)
While legendary goaltender Martin Brodeur kept the Mighty Ducks from scoring in games one and two, J-S Giguere was forced to answer Broduer's brilliance in net with back-to-back overtime wins in games three and four.
Following New Jersey's 6-3 victory in game five, the Ducks finally poured on the scoring against Brodeur with their 5-2 victory in game six.
As the two goaltenders had been the major story for the entirety of the 2003 playoffs, Brodeur rose to the occasion and posted a 3-0 game seven shutout against the Ducks to win his third Stanley Cup.
Incredibly, the Conn Smyth was still awarded to Giguere though he finished the playoffs by allowing 11 goals in the final three games.
3. 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning
Following fellow Florida Champion's record-setting Championship ring, the Tampa Bay Lightning filled Lord Stanley's Cup with the iconic tropical blue water infamous with the state-wide beaches.
Conn Smyth: Brad Richards
From a future Hall of Fame roster including Martin St. Louis, Captain Vinny Lecavalier and Brad Richards, the 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Calgary Flames in seven games to win the franchise's only Stanley Cup.
While he dominated the 2004 playoffs, Brad Richards served as the only consistent goal-scorer for the 2012 New York Rangers and their run to the Eastern Conference Finals earlier this month.
2. 2010 Chicago Blackhawks
The most polarizing feature of the 2010 Blackhawk Stanley Cup ring lies on the side - a reminder of the long, arduous droughts the franchise has been through between Stanley Cup rings.
The 2010 Blackhawk squad accomplished a seemingly impossible feat for one of the most positive and powerful sports cities in the world.
The "One Goal" banner etched on each players' ring hints at the drunkest Blackhawk Patrick Kane's Stanley Cup-winning goal in game six in Philadelphia.
Conn Smyth: Jonathan Toews
Upon receiving the Conn Smyth trophy, Jonathan Toews became the first Blackhawk to ever win the award as playoff MVP.
At the same time, he and teammates Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook joined hockey's elite list of players to win both a Stanley Cup and Olympic Gold Medal in the same year (Brendan Shanahan & Steve Yzerman, 2002).
Along with the record-setting performances of Toews, Seabrook and Keith, sniper Marian Hossa became the first player in NHL history to play in three consecutive Stanley Cup Finals, finally winning his first Cup.
1. 2011 Boston Bruins
Landing at No. 1 are the incredible Boston Bruins Stanley Cup rings where the team took the championship ring concept to a whole new level.
Each 2011 Stanley Cup ring is equipped with an astonishing 302 diamonds and was sarcastically described as "subtle" by Bruins Owner Jeremy Jacobs.
Conn Smyth: Tim Thomas
Usually, such vibrant bling is usually ordered to serve as a toast to incredible individual achievement.
Perhaps the team felt the ring deserved over 300 diamonds because of Tim Thomas' game seven victories; however, I personally feel that they just wanted to make the 7'0'' Captain Zdeno Chara feel small for a change.