I watch a lot more hockey than I ever did since my son YoungTallBoz is such a huge fan...I think he watched damn near every minute of playoff hockey even though his beloved Devils were out of it.
It IS a grueling playoff...all 7-game series and incredibly physical, and quite a few of the matchups went the full 7.
I think more than most any sport though, there is a very strong mystique about the cup and the traditions that surround earning it. I know that it is considered terrible luck to touch the Cup unless you've actually won it, but only learned this season that players will not even touch their divisional trophies after winning it. Its not the real trophy they want, and touching it is considered 'the end' of their run and ruins their chances at the real prize. Sure enough, as YoungTallBoz described, when the division trophies were paraded out at the end of those series, they were placed on a table and the captain just stood next to it, not even touching the table I think. None of the team came over to it.
I still remember years ago taking a family trip to Toronto and the Hockey Hall of Fame. I have a picture of YoungTallBoz standing next to the replica cup they have on display. Even that, he refused to touch it. "Mom, I didn't win it...I can't touch it."