Introducing Your 2010 NHL East Champion Washington Capitals

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    What does Alex have to celebrate?

    The Washington Capitals' first round exit from the Stanley Cup playoffs was a big, unpleasant surprise for red rockers around the region. The team boasts one of the best players in the league -- Alexander Ovechkin -- and had the best regular season record in the NHL.

    Well, how's this for consolation? The Washington Capitals are the NHL Eastern Conference champions.

    At least according to the Prince of Wales Trophy.

    That prize goes to the winner of the Eastern Conference, and engraved on it under "2009-2010" is "Washington Capitals," Yahoo Sports reported.

    A fan of the Chicago Blackhawks noticed the mistake at his team's annual fan convention on July 31. Among the trophies on display courtesy of the Hockey Hall of Fame was the Prince of Wales. Brendan Millhouser noticed the name of the team that beat his Blackhawks wasn't on the trophy -- at least not recently.

    Millhouser took pictures and spread them around but it was awhile before anyone took notice, and when they did, it wasn't the kind of attention Millhouser had sought.

    He posted several images to his online gallery and sent them around to Chicago media. But it failed to garner any reaction; perhaps an alleged mistake that egregious, in this electronic media age, felt as if it could have been a hoax or a practical joke created by Photoshop. Professional journalists, bloggers, fans ... none were willing to accept the images' validity, especially with one random fan in Chicago as the only person writing about it.

    "I was getting frustrated as a fan, but I'm a cynical guy myself. I had my family look at the pictures for me, [saying] 'Can you guys tell me I'm not crazy?'" said Millhouser. "But it's not like I thought someone put the Capitals on there on purpose."

    RockTheRed.net, a Capitals blog, finally gave a spotlight to the engraving faux pas last week. But it didn't make headlines until Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia became suspicious of the photos. It contacted the Hockey Hall of Fame, and a spokesperson "confirmed" that they were a fabrication. CSN Philly labeled them a hoax, and closed the case.

    Millhouser insisted his pictures were real and continued the fight for his reputation online, and the Hall of Fame reversed its position, saying the spokesperson who originally addressed the issue thought Millhouser was referring to the backup Prince of Wales Trophy -- which is displayed at the Hall when the first-string trophy is on the road and which had yet to be engraved at all, Yahoo Sports reported.

    The Hall of Fame thinks the engraver made the mistake because the Capitals did earn some engraving this season -- on the President's Trophy for that top regular season point total.


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