The Montreal Canadiens, of course, had other plans, and eliminated the Capitals in the opening round in a seven-game stunner, overcoming a 3-1 series deficit. When all was said and done, it was the Philadelphia Flyers that ended up taking the conference, winning the Prince of Wales trophy for the first time since 1997 (and eventually losing in the Final to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games).
The only problem, however, is that the person responsible for engraving the team name on the Wales trophy originally put the Capitals instead of the Flyers.
The glitch was first spotted by a Blackhawks fan named Brendan Millhouser, who photographed the mistake and initially had his claim dismissed as a hoax by the Hockey Hall of Fame, which claimed the pictures were doctored.
Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshynski documented the entire story, and finally got the Hockey Hall of Fame to admit the mistake actually occurred.
From Puck Daddy:
"The person that was speaking with the media thought they meant the trophy at the Hall of Fame at that day," said Masse. "When the Prince of Wales Trophy is traveling, there's a secondary trophy here for the fans to see at the Hall. That one has not been engraved yet. The one that was in Chicago was engraved." Engraved, it turns out, incorrectly. So how did that happen? How did the Washington Capitals, eliminated in the first round of the 2009-10 playoffs, end up where the Stanley Cup runners-up Flyers were supposed to be? "My guess is that not all trophies were engraved at one time. I think that they wanted to engrave the trophies that were going to Chicago as fast as they could," she said. "The Washington Capitals won the President's Trophy [for the league's top regular-season point total]. I think the engraver made a mistake and [mixed up] Prince of Wales and President's Trophy."Of course, mistakes on NHL trophies are not exactly a new development. The Stanley Cup, for example, is littered with misspellings, including the 1980 New York Islanders (New York Ilanders) and the 1963 Toronto Maple Leafs (Toronto Maple Leaes).
Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington once had his father's name engraved after one of the team's five championships, only to have the NHL "erase" it with a series of X's. The best one, however, isn't really a mistake, but is still worthy of some juvenile snickering. Frank Selke, assistant manager of the 1945 Maple Leafs had his title hilariously abbreviated as "Ass Man."