Stanley Cup: Why Canada Just Can’t Win

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Stanley Cup: Why Canada Just Can’t Win

Post #1 by PredsFan77 » Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:34 pm

For the 21st straight season, an American team will rule the NHL. Hall of Fame Canadiens goaltender Ken Dryden explains why


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The Toronto Maple Leafs, who missed the playoffs this year for the ninth time in 10 seasons, last won it all in 1967.


By KEN DRYDEN

In 1892, the Stanley Cup was donated by an Englishman to the dominion of Canada. In recent decades, though, it has become the property of Uncle Sam.

The Cup will soon be awarded to either the Tampa Bay Lightning or Chicago Blackhawks, the 21st straight time it will have been won by one of the NHL’s American teams. The longest previous spell with no Canadian champion was six years, and it ended in 1941. No Canadian team has reached the Stanley Cup Final the past five years. This year, none even made it to the semifinals.

Why can’t Canada win?

Decades ago, it was Canada that had the competitive advantage. Canadian teams won all but five of the championships between 1944 and 1969, this despite never having more than one-third of the league’s teams. Hockey was born in Canada and nurtured in cold winters when indoor ice was rare in both countries. During the NHL’s formative years, nearly every player, and all of its stars, were Canadian.

They also wanted to play for Canadian teams. Before the NHL draft was implemented in 1967, they signed up with development teams of the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs often before they were teenagers. They didn’t make much money when they reached the NHL; in the off-season they had to work other jobs, as players in all sports did. But even U.S.-based players, better known in Canada than in America, could get better summer and post-career jobs back home in Canada. So they came home. They married young, as most did at the time, many of them to their Canadian high-school sweethearts, often with their first pro-hockey paychecks.

Then money in hockey grew, North American life changed, and in the 1990s the competitive advantage shifted to the U.S.

Money hadn’t mattered much to teams before. There was no free agency. Players were tied to their NHL teams forever, or until they were traded. As the bidding for free-agent players grew, money began to make a competitive difference.

In March 1993, a few months before Montreal won Canada’s last championship, the Canadian dollar traded at 80 cents U.S. A year and a half later, it was scarcely above $0.70. In January 2002, it hit rock bottom, $0.6202. Canadian teams now had less money to compete, and the country’s smallest-market cities—Quebec and Winnipeg—were driven out of the league in the mid-1990s. Left were five weakened Canadian teams futilely chasing the Stanley Cup.

Then the Canadian dollar rebounded. But labor strife between the league and its union led to a lockout, the cancellation of the 2004-05 season and the implementation of a salary cap. Canadian teams now had more money, but less opportunity to spend it. Although smaller-market Canadian teams were on more equal footing, the Canadiens, Leafs and Vancouver Canucks—bigger-market Canadian teams—couldn’t use the depth of their fan following to buy their way to competitive advantage.

People also now marry later. Players do too. Waiting longer, players become old enough to have worked their way up to the NHL, to big-money contracts, into the company of other stars—actors, singers, models—who become their wives or partners, most of whom are American, as 23 of the league’s 30 teams are. A few years later, when they become free agents, Canadian players on U.S. teams have more reasons to sign with an American team. Later, having retired as players, they have more reasons to remain as coaches or managers.

Canadian fans think that most Canadian players, coaches and managers want to live in Canada. Not necessarily. Because of Canadians’ deep feelings for hockey, Canada is the best place to play, coach and manage if you are winning, but the worst if you are losing. Hope there soars higher, but unhappiness runs deeper. The Canadiens haven’t won for 22 years, the Edmonton Oilers for 25, the Calgary Flames for 26, the Leafs for 48, the longest current drought in the NHL. The Canucks and Winnipeg Jets have never won, nor has the modern Ottawa Senators franchise.

The more a team wins, the more it is likely to win. The more it loses, the more it is likely to lose. Teams that lose for a year or two tinker their way back to success. Those that lose for 20—especially those with fans desperate for victory, as is the case across Canada—throw Hail Mary after Hail Mary and lose worse, and longer.

The evolution of the NHL has unquestionably benefited the league. It has meant more high-paid players, more stable teams on both sides of the border—including Winnipeg’s return—and a more competitive game. But it also, perversely, has meant more misery for fans in Canada. We don’t yet know who will win the Cup this year, as the series is tied entering Saturday’s Game 5, but the loser has long been decided.

—Ken Dryden is an author, former Canadian Member of Parliament and Hall of Fame former goaltender for the Montreal Canadiens.





CALGARY FLAMES

Last Stanley Cup: 1989


VANCOUVER CANUCKS

Last Stanley Cup: never

WINNIPEG JETS

Last Stanley Cup: never

OTTAWA SENATORS

Last Stanley Cup (current franchise): never

EDMONTON OILERS

Last Stanley Cup: 1990

MONTREAL CANADIENS

Last Stanley Cup: 1993


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Re: Stanley Cup: Why Canada Just Can’t Win

Post #2 by Twitter bArt » Thu Jun 11, 2015 10:41 pm

as in his playing days, Ken is not the most efficient when choosing words
:mkbét::lr: :lr:

OOOH yeah life goes on, long after the thrill of Vinny is gone

It's too bad all the people that could really run the Habs are busy doing talk radio, writing blogs or posting on message boards.

Now, Lajoie is an imbecile, a cretin and a plagiarist, who to use author Dany Laferrière's deliciously withering expression, "lives beyond his intellectual means."

...as serious as a poutine shortage in Chicoutimi during a curling bonspiel...

Haddock wrote:I wouldn't know anything about that. I gave my soul up when I swore allegiance to the goddamn queen.


:lr: :lr: :lr:
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Re: Stanley Cup: Why Canada Just Can’t Win

Post #3 by Jorge Garcia » Fri Jun 12, 2015 8:46 am

"Canada" does not compete for the Stanley Cup. City-based teams, largely staffed and run by Canadians, do.
Canada competes in the Olympics, the IIHF world championships and the world juniors. It currently holds all three titles.
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Re: Stanley Cup: Why Canada Just Can’t Win

Post #4 by Thomas Malthus » Fri Jun 12, 2015 9:09 am

Jorge Garcia wrote:"Canada" does not compete for the Stanley Cup. City-based teams, largely staffed and run by Canadians, do.
Canada competes in the Olympics, the IIHF world championships and the world juniors. It currently holds all three titles.


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Re: Stanley Cup: Why Canada Just Can’t Win

Post #5 by vonbonds » Fri Jun 12, 2015 8:19 pm

Why can't Canada hockey?
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Re: Stanley Cup: Why Canada Just Can’t Win

Post #6 by PredsFan77 » Fri Jun 12, 2015 10:20 pm

cause you touch yourself at night
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Boozer here, folks

Re: Stanley Cup: Why Canada Just Can’t Win

Post #7 by Boozer here, folks » Sat Jun 13, 2015 3:23 pm

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Re: Stanley Cup: Why Canada Just Can’t Win

Post #8 by Dr_Chimera » Sat Jun 13, 2015 4:20 pm

Should be our Prime Minister!
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Re: Stanley Cup: Why Canada Just Can’t Win

Post #9 by PredsFan77 » Sat Jun 13, 2015 7:35 pm

lookin good booze
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Re: Stanley Cup: Why Canada Just Can’t Win

Post #10 by Twitter bArt » Tue Jun 16, 2015 8:13 am

PredsFan77 wrote:cause you touch yourself at night



when I think about you...
:mkbét::lr: :lr:



OOOH yeah life goes on, long after the thrill of Vinny is gone



It's too bad all the people that could really run the Habs are busy doing talk radio, writing blogs or posting on message boards.



Now, Lajoie is an imbecile, a cretin and a plagiarist, who to use author Dany Laferrière's deliciously withering expression, "lives beyond his intellectual means."



...as serious as a poutine shortage in Chicoutimi during a curling bonspiel...



Haddock wrote:I wouldn't know anything about that. I gave my soul up when I swore allegiance to the goddamn queen.




:lr: :lr: :lr:
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Re: Stanley Cup: Why Canada Just Can’t Win

Post #11 by Mufasa » Tue Jun 16, 2015 2:17 pm

Technicaly Canada hasn't won since 1989, because of the defacto Quebec independence of 1986.
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Re: Stanley Cup: Why Canada Just Can’t Win

Post #12 by jnthomas » Fri Jun 19, 2015 8:26 pm

Mufasa wrote:Technicaly Canada hasn't won since 1989, because of the defacto Quebec independence of 1986.


Hadn't you heard, everything west of St-Laurent stayed in Canada.
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Re: Stanley Cup: Why Canada Just Can’t Win

Post #13 by mooseOAK » Thu Jul 16, 2015 6:14 pm

According to Joel McHale it is because Justin Bieber was conceived in 1993.

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