It's not because of anything bad associated with Detroit's beloved Mr. Hockey, it's just that time moves on, and it's kind of sad.

The tradition in the National Hockey league is that every member of the every team that won the Stanley Cup is engraved into it. But it's reached the point where the Cup would be twenty feet tall if it continued to leave them all on it.

So every year, the top rung of the Cup is removed, and a new ring added to the bottom to keep the thing small enough so that teams can carry it around the ice when they win it.

This year, the rung coming off the top includes some huge hockey legends. Among those are Detroit hockey great Gordie Howe, who passed away in June of 2016, and the Detroit "Production Line" teams of the mid-1950s, which includes other iconic Red Wings like Ted Lindsay and Sid Abel.

Other names coming off the Cup this season include Hall of Famers Maurice "The Rocket" Richard of the Montreal Canadiens and Chicago Blackhawk immortals Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull.

Those legends had no idea when they won the Cup that eventually their names would come off, but modern players do, and they often ask the League "when is my name coming off the Cup?"

"Some guys start doing the math," Cup spokesperson Mike Bolt recently told the Detroit Free Press, "They say, 'Oh, I won't be around anyway.' But if you win it when you're young, you're going to be around when your name comes off."

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Bolt, who is currently accompanying the Cup on a tour of NHL cities to promote the upcoming playoffs, says the best part of his job is watching fans and ex-players react to seeing it.

"I've seen grown men cry; They can't believe they are this close to it," Bolt said. "It's like a celebrity. Everybody's always happy when the Cup's around."

On average, a player's name now lasts about 40 years on the award, which goes to the yearly champion of the League's end of season playoffs.

So where do the bottom rungs go when they're removed? To the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

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