Why haven’t Canadian clubs taken the Stanley Cup in 29 years?

Published: 21-08-22
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    In June 1993, Montreal won the Stanley Cup. It was a team that was still dragged by Patrick Roy, and such famous guys as Vincent Damfusse, Guy Carbonneau, Eric Desjardins and John Leclerc played on the field. Since then, Canadian clubs have never been able to win the Stanley Cup. Across the rest of the world, technological eras have changed, some sports have completely changed the rules – and hockey’s oldest trophy has never come to its homeland: Canadian clubs have lost six times in the Stanley Cup finals.

    Many Canadian fans blame Gary Bettman for this.  The power of a short man with a basketball past in the NHL began just in the summer of 1993 – and during this time, hockey Canada received more than once cruel blows. The original Winnipeg and Quebec left for the US—although the Jets eventually returned, there were no new teams in the country.

    Bettman is being punished for the league’s stubborn hold on its southern projects – especially the Arizona, which was owned for a while by the league. However, this does not prevent the Coyotes from existing in an absolutely shameful state: as you know, they will spend the next season in the tiny arena without their own logo on the ice. After every such news about Arizona, Quebec City sighs: “Why not us?”

    In addition, many fans are looking for refereeing traces in the constant failures of Canadian teams.  Vancouver fans were especially furious about this, many of whom still believe that not only Tim Thomas provided the Boston Cup in 2011, but also the guys in striped jerseys. This should be familiar to our fans – fans of foreign teams in the KHL also believe that referees always take the side of Russian clubs.

    Without looking for conspiracy theories, the downsides of Canada are obvious. Apart from the unattractive local cities, high Canadian taxes, and media and fan pressure mentioned in previous articles, it is worth noting that the Canadian dollar is a volatile currency. In many ways, the collapse of the course is what led to the plight of Canadian teams in the nineties – they even asked for help from the federal government, but didn’t get it. All this narrows down the market opportunities.

    In addition, there are questions about the level of management of local teams. If you read the local fans, you get the feeling that the general managers of Canadian clubs are exclusively degenerates, who were incapable even of doing a job like handing out leaflets on the streets. Of course, not everything is so bad, more often managers make the right decisions – but there are no managers of the level of Steve Yzerman, Julien BrisBois or Doug Armstrong in local clubs and have not been for a long time.

    Let’s go over the local teams and understand what prevented us from winning the coveted cup and whether there are chances for this in the future.

    “Toronto”

    toronto

    What got in the way: Oh, we could write a book about that. As you know, the most popular and richest club in the country has not won a championship since the first big NHL expansion in 1967. After that, the club for a long time was owned by wacky Harold Ballard, whose quirks and contrivances could be written in a second book. However, even after that, not everything went well.

    If we talk about the current team, it seems that the internal balance was broken by the signing of John Tavares. The $ 11 million issued to him forced the “homegrown” Matthews and Marner to ask for no less money at the negotiations, which completely distorted the structure of the team’s salary cap, and even turned the same Marner into an absolutely immutable asset. Now the management of “Toronto” chained to his “big four” forwards with all the obvious disadvantages of this backbone.

    Apart from that, the mental and mystical aspect goes nowhere. It’s hard to explain how this team gives up the lead year after year in series and games that just seem to need to be won. Even now, at 3-2 in the series with the Lightning, there was a complete feeling that Tampa would win after all.

    The best chance of a championship: the turn of the nineties and the noughties. Back then, the legendary Pat Quinn was head coach and general manager, who built a fun and sharp attacking team. In many ways the backbone of the team was European – Mats Sundin was its biggest star, and eight USSR natives played for Toronto in the 1999/2000 season. Under Quinn the Leafs reached the Conference Finals twice – in 1999 and 2002, but after that they have not been able to reach the first round for almost 20 years.

    “Montreal”

    What got in the way: this is not the main cause of the club’s problems, but a prime example of the stale nature of Canadian management – the desire to appoint a francophone head coach. This is not to say that this is an old tradition of the Canadiens – one of the club’s most famous bosses, Dick Irwin, who won three titles there in the 40s and 50s, was born in Ontario and was not a French Canadian. However, apparently, the protrusion of origin began in Montreal during the political standoff with English-speaking Canada.

    And if once the Canadiens really were the national team of French Canada, then this year only five Quebecois played for the club. In last year’s line-up, which played in the final, there was only one local francophone – Philip Dano. With all this, Montreal are desperately clinging to the locals on the coaching bench and have pulled Martin St Louis, who had only worked in children’s hockey, into the head job. He’s done well so far – but this was a team that already had zero goals.

    Best chance for a championship: Last year. Helped by the playoff grid and division redistribution, where Montreal managed to come out of fourth place having lost more games than they had won. Last year, however, almost all of Marc Bergevin’s minor signings worked – the same Perry and Staal provided invaluable leadership. But, that team fell apart in the summer due to ceiling problems, endless injuries and the leaders leaving for the free agent market.

    ”Vancouver”

    vancouver

    What got in the way: The club hasn’t won a Cup since its league debut in 1971, but Canucks fans aren’t laughed at as much as the Toronto guys – they’re probably just less popular and don’t make as much of a spectacle of themselves. However, with Vancouver, we can look again at the fine Canadian management.

    In the 1989 draft, Pavel Bure miraculously fell into the hands of the club, whom Detroit wanted to take, but their draft pick was cancelled. Around the God-kissed sniper can be built a team for the future – but the club management humiliates their main star during contract negotiations, saying that he will not repeat the season with 60 goals, plus even offers a contract, where they discreetly put not American dollars, but Canadian ones worth 30% less. Not surprisingly, Bure began to demand an exchange from the club very quickly, and finished him off with the arrival of Mike Keenan, who destroyed the team that reached the 1994 final.

    After that, the Canucks assembled some good-looking teams – under Mark Crawford, for example, around stars Naslund and Bertuzzi, and later there was a decade of Sedins names. But they were constantly missing something.

    Best chance for a championship: of course , 2011. “The Canucks that season were the only team in NHL Ceiling history to be the best in the regular season in both goals scored and conceded. In the 2011 Finals, six games were won by visiting teams, and in the seventh game in Canada, Tim Thomas made 37 of 37 saves, giving his team the championship and Vancouver a riot.

    ”Calgary”

    calgary

    What got in the way: The Flames of recent years are a symbol of mediocrity. The club has only advanced beyond the second round three times in the past 30 years, but it also hasn’t had outright bad seasons like Edmonton neighbours. Because of this, Calgary hasn’t received high draft picks either, and when the chance came to pick in the top ten, they didn’t take it. For example, three players selected by the club in the late nineties in the top 10 have played a total of… 46 games for the club.

    For fifteen years, the club was held on the shoulders of Jerome Iginla, around whom only once during that time a decent team was assembled. Now Calgary, which swept out Johnny Gaudreau in the fourth round and finally began to draft and change players decently, got a boost from the appointment of Darryl Sutter. However, a posh regular season and high hopes were dashed by a failing goalkeeping line and coaching mistakes.

    The best chance for the championship: 2004. The same Darryl Sutter led the starless (outside of Iginla and Mickey Kiprusoff) club to the main final against Tampa Bay … There, Calgary led 3-2, and in the sixth match with a score of 2: 2 with seven minutes left, the forward Martin Gelina scored a phantom goal, which the referees did not notice. This moment in Calgary is still remembered, because the club lost the seventh match of the final. By the way, to the question of management – Martin San Louis, who became the champion that year, was released from Calgary four years earlier for free, not noticing the talent in the kid.

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