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A footnote to history

Talk to any intelligent hockey fan and they will tell you that the Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy in sports to win, in fact most intelligent sports fans will agree.

• It takes 16 wins, 4 seven game series after an 82 game regular season.
• NFL takes at most 4 wins, at least 3, all of which are single elimination, following a 16 game regular season
• MLB uses 1 best of 5, and 2 best of 7 series, following a 182 (or there about) regular season
• NBA recently adopted an NHL style playoff, previously their first round was best of 5 (rather than 7)

Last night the Canes lost 3-2 to the Tampa Bay Lightning and 15 minutes later when Montreal won 2-0 over Boston, it became mathematically impossible for the Canes to make the post season. They become the 3rd team in NHL history to miss the playoffs following winning the Cup. They also add another footnote to NHL history as the first time in NHL history that both final teams (Edmonton and Carolina) failed to make the playoffs the following year.

It is disappointing? Yes, the one thing I wanted out of this year was to not have a collapse and endure the mouth-breathers comments about how it was a fluke, etc. Now that it’s done we can reminisce a bit.

The Canes won the Southeast division by 20 points, over the then defending Stanley Cup Champs, Tampa Bay
They only faced elimination 2 times, Game 7 of the Conference Finals against Buffalo and Game 7 of the Finals against Edmonton. Fluke? I don’t think so, you can fluke your way through 1 game, but not a 7 game series.

As much as missing the playoffs causes the Canes to be a footnote in history, the fact that they are still and will always be the 2006 Stanley Cup Champs isn’t diminished at all. When New Jersey won their first cup in 1995 they were considered a bit of a fluke team, it was a lockout shortened season, then they missed the playoffs the next year and the pundits had more ammunition. Now Jersey is a Eastern Conference powerhouse, they haven’t missed the playoffs since that year after the Cup, and won 2 more since then.

There are 16 franchises that have never won the Cup. Enough time has passed at this point that Toronto doesn’t have a band on the active cup (67-68). The 92-93 Canadiens are the last Canadian team to win the cup. The Southeast division winner has won the last two cups. No team captained by a non-north american born player has ever won the Cup.

My picks for this year? Nashville plays for the West, New Jersey for the east, and Broduer wins his 4th Cup.

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