Changing of the Guard in the NHL?

…or at least fresh blood.  If Ottawa and Florida win their Game 7s tonight:

Teams remaining (with Cup history):

  • Nashville – never
  • Phoenix – never
  • St. Louis – three Finals (’67, ‘68, ‘69) when they represented the new conference after the first expansion (Coached by a young Scotty Bowman)
  • Los Angeles – one Final (’93) with Gretzky
  • Ottawa – one Final (’07).  Perpetual underachiever.
  • Florida – rode a hot goalie to one Final (’96).  Typically a doormat.
  • Washington – one Final (‘98).  Ovechkin has made them serious (but underachievers) the last few years.
  • Philadelphia – won in ’74&75 as “The Broadstreet Bullies”; often a bridesmaid since then, victim of poor goaltending (and bad karma!).

You got:

  • a bunch of one-time lucky finalists who lost,
  • a perpetual bridesmaid who everybody pretty much hates,
  • the league’s first expansion team that didn’t completely suck,
  • 5 sunbelt teams that need the help, and
  • the 1 Canadian team left standing was a founding member of the NHL who won 11 Stanley Cups before disappearing for 58 years.
  • Last 4 Champs gone:  Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Detroit
  • #1 team in the regular season and last year’s runner-up gone:  Vancouver

Even if Ottawa & Florida were to lose tonight…

  • New York– Messier ended their 40 year drought ’95.  The Original 6 doormat.
  • New Jersey – Brodeur won them Cups in ’03, ’00, ’95.

In short, no one who’s ever been reliably in the mix in the entire history of the league except Bridesmaid Philly, Brodeur’s Devils (maybe), and if you stretch your definition, the NY Rangers (maybe).

I love how the Blues are playing.  I also love the NHL’s Because It’s the Cup campaign.

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