It was one of the dumbest stories of the 2022-23 season. Back in December, former Boston Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara claimed that the Vancouver Canucks practiced lifting the Stanley Cup after a game day skate in Boston during the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.
It's a claim that former Canucks defenceman Kevin Bieksa ridiculed extensively during a Hockey Night in Canada intermission panel at the time, calling it, "One of the dumbest things we've ever heard." Bieksa adroitly poked a simple hole in Chara's story: with the multitude of media covering the Cup Final, there is absolutely no way that something as egregious as practicing a Cup lift on opposition ice would not have been reported at the time.
On Thursday, ahead of Game 3 of the 2023 Stanley Cup Final, Bieksa's former Canucks teammate, Roberto Luongo, couldn't help but poke some fun at the idea. He got his chance when Bieksa asked Luongo, now part of the Florida Panthers' management team, about being down 2-0 in the series to the Vegas Golden Knights, comparing it to being up 2-0 back in 2011.
"Do you remember when we were practicing lifting the Cup after the game?" quipped Luongo with a grin.
As Bieksa laughed, Luongo was quick to add, "That fake story."
Bieksa riffed right back, saying, "Maybe you were! Maybe you and Schneids were in the bathroom or something," suggesting the two goaltenders were doing some Cup raising in private. Surely, there is nothing sordid being suggested there.
The odds are certainly stacked against the Panthers. Only three teams have come back from going down 2-0 on the road in the Stanley Cup Final. But at least Luongo knows from experience that it's possible, albeit as the goaltender for one of those three teams that failed to win the Cup after going up 2-0 at home.