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The Handshake Line: “It’s The Hardest Thing To Do.”

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Anyone who has watched playoff hockey has probably imagined being part of a handshake line after a successful series. Walking through as the team that lost though, that’s not one that normally comes up in the childhood dreams.

It’s the hardest thing to do. -Nate Schmidt

After the Golden Knights brutal Game 7 loss in San Jose, the players followed hockey tradition and formed the classic handshake line. Still torn up from last season’s Stanley Cup finals handshake, an animated Schmidt confirmed it’s as miserable as it looks.

The hardest thing I did last year was the handshake line, and the hardest thing I did this year was the handshake line. -Schmidt

For many of the Golden Knights, it’s their fifth handshake line in two years, the last two have been tough to swallow. It’s painful to watch for fans (I bet many of you didn’t even leave the TV on long enough to watch it) and even more painful for the players to go through. No one wants to end their season shaking the hand of the victor, especially after a series as bitter that that one.

It’s hard to win. Just look at all the teams that are out. It’s crazy. It’s a hard league to win, but that doesn’t make it any easier right now. -Schmidt

I’ve never been in a position to basically be forced to shake hands with an enemy, but I imagine I probably couldn’t handle it as well as Nate, Ryan Reaves, and every other Golden Knight.

It doesn’t matter what happens in the series. You go to war with guys who play the same sport as you. No matter what the outcome is, you shake their hand. -Ryan Reaves

Just imagine shaking hands with Evander Kane, Logan Couture, or Joe Thornton after being shoved and slugged for seven games. It would take a lot of sedatives to get me through it. Fortunately, NHL players make enough money (or are just better people) that they quickly forgive dirty elbows and gloved sucker punches after the whistle.

Whether we like each other or not, it was a good, hard fought series and you got to show your respect. -Reaves

These guys are pros, in every sense of the word.


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  1. thecommish76

    I always watch the handshake line. It is an amazing show of sportsmanship. It is extremely difficult to shake someone’s hand whom you tried knock down a hundred times over a 2-week period. It is genuine respect. Always felt awful for Nate after the Final, you could tell by the looks on the Caps players how much they loved having him as a teammate and how I am sure they wished he could have raised the Cup with them.

  2. Mike G

    To me the handshake line is the greatest tradition in all of sports. No matter how angry, disappointed, or frustrated I am as a fan I figure if the team can show class and sportsmanship after a brutal loss then I should be able to also

  3. Jaime

    I must be 40 years ago that the MONTREAL Canadiens played Red Army in an epic game in MONTREAL. When the final buzzer sounded, Pete Mahovolich skated the length of the ice and gave Russian goalie Tretriak a huge bear hug. A great moment in sport.

  4. Vic

    The handshake line was very interesting after the Bruins eliminated Columbus with McAvoy shaking hands with the guy he delivered a head shot to. Another blown call by the refs, and one of them was 10 feet away when it happened. McAvoy is lucky he’s playing in 2019 rather than in earlier days. I just looked at a replay of the Reaves hit on Wilson, and it was a shoulder hit and not the head….but…5 minute major and match penalty for Reaves. And I was just getting over the horrible Pavelski call. Will there be T-shirts saying ‘Not a Major’, or did I already miss that?

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