Whenever the Stanley Cup is awarded in the 2012 Final between the Los Angeles Kings and the New Jersey Devils, there will be a chance to continue an unofficial tradition in the NHL: Showering Commissioner Gary Bettman with boos, either intentionally or coincidentally.
Sometimes he's jeered in protest by fans. Other times, he awkwardly soldiers on while fans are passionately booing, say, a road team winning the Cup on their ice. Here's a look back at the boo-filled Bettman appearances at the end of some Stanley Cup finals in the last 17 years:
A few thoughts:
• As you can see, it's not every Final since 1995. Many times, Bettman handed out the Cup without incident. Other times, not so much.
• As you can also see, it's not always about Bettman. The last few years have involved road wins for the Cup, so the booing increased. He just happens to be in the middle of it all. Poor fella.
• Keep in mind the jeering in New Jersey in 1995 was connected to Bettman standing by while the team sought relocation to Nashville, and came after the 1995 lockout. The jeering in 2003 … well, the Giguere Conn Smythe might have something to do with it.
• Bettman in 2007 to the Anaheim Ducks' fans: "It's OK, I'm bringing a gift." Priceless.