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Silversmith explains what it could take to repair the damaged Stanley Cup

The cup may need to be heated and annealed to carefully bend it back into shape.

TAMPA, Fla — Initially, many worried the Stanley Cup might end up accidentally dropped in the Hillsborough River.

But after surviving an entire day passed from boat to boat and bouncing around on jet skis, it wasn’t until Monday’s celebrations were almost over when the cup finally took its fall.

“My understanding is that one of our players was presenting it to the fans and dropped it,” Tampa Bay Lightning GM Julien BriseBois announced with a sigh at a Tuesday morning news conference.

A photo posted to social media shows the cup at the very top of the trophy flattened straight where it hit the ground.

“It’s out with an upper-body injury for the next couple of days,” BriseBois said joking with the media.

Reports indicate the cup will be heading back to Montreal, where the Hockey Hall of Fame will have it repaired.

“When you have a piece like this that’s shown all over it’s really got to be right,” said Robert Alex, one of the Bay area’s most experienced silversmiths, who has specialized in repairing damaged silver pieces for more than 40 years. 

He says one of the first things he’d be checking for is how much the cup is “out of straightness…because it’s bent in one direction, that may mean that it’s stretched in another.”

He says without examining the damage himself, it’s impossible to say how difficult the cup might be to fix.

“Some pieces need to be annealed which means you bring the metal up to a certain temperature and then you cool it quickly,” said Alex. “Then you can move it a little bit. And when you move it, then you have to anneal it again and continue moving it until it gets back to the shape that you want.”

He says the repair bill could be anywhere from a few thousand dollars all the way up to tens of thousands due to the cup’s unique detail and value.

“It’s a delicate process,” said Alex. “Especially with something like this where you have to be just concentrating with no one else around. You don’t want to be interrupted when you’re doing something so wonderful as the trophy.”

Turns out, the cup ending up in the river might not have been so bad after all.

“I’m thinking that might have been better than dropping it,” said Alex. “Just having a diver go down and come back up.”

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