Why No Canadian Cup Champion this Decade?

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    davetherave
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    Why No Canadian Cup Champion this Decade?

    Post by davetherave on Thu May 21, 2009 9:49 am

    Lyle Richardson (Spectors Hockey, Fox Sports, THN) offers his thoughts on why for the first time in NHL history, no Canadian team won the Stanley Cup during an entire decade:

    Why No Canadian Cup Champion this Decade?
    Lyle Richardson, May 21 2009/www.spectorshockey.net
    It’s a phenomenon which never happened throughout the 20th century but has occurred in the first decade of the 21st.

    For the first time in NHL history, an entire decade passed without a Canadian-based franchise winning the Stanley Cup.

    Now before Canadian hockey fans start grieving over that fact and wonder what’s wrong with their teams, bear in mind that for much of the last century the NHL was a considerably smaller league than its current incarnation.

    Canadian based teams were far more prevalent during the NHL’s early decades, and from the early 1940s until the late 1960s well-run teams in Montreal and Toronto made up nearly half of the “Original Six” and won the bulk of the Stanley Cup championships in that time.

    While the NHL expanded in the 1970s, with Vancouver amongst the new teams, the Montreal Canadiens remained the class of the league winning six Stanley Cups in that decade.

    In the 1980s the league again expanded, this time to 18 teams, adding Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Quebec City from the old WHA and moving the Atlanta Flames to Calgary. As a result eight of those 18 teams were Canadian-based.

    Three of those – Edmonton, Calgary and Montreal – would win six Stanley Cups among them, while Vancouver would go to the Cup Final in 1982.

    Edmonton and Montreal would win two more Cups in the 1990s and the Canucks returned again to the Final in 1994, but it would ten years before another Canadian team (Calgary) would return to the Cup Final.

    One reason was Canadian franchises faced a combination of all being badly managed at one point or another during that period, but more significantly the league expanded its footprint in the United States, which included the movement of two Canadian based franchises to the United States.

    As a result after the 1995-96 season six Canadian teams made up less than one-quarter of what would become by the start of this decade the 30 team NHL, with 24 franchises located in the United States, reducing the number to six.

    Not that Canadian teams didn’t have their opportunities. Calgary in 2004 and Edmonton in 2006 fell just short, both losing in the seventh and deciding games of the Cup Finals, while Ottawa bowed in five games to Anaheim in 2007.

    The problem is the disparity between Canadian and American teams makes the odds of a Canadian Cup champion longer than they were in the past, something that’s not likely to change unless all or most of the Canadian franchises emerge one season as Cup contenders.

    It is little wonder Canadian teams are finding it difficult to bring the Stanley Cup “back home” .

    It remains to be seen if the upcoming decade will finally see a Canadian team break the country’s lengthening Cup drought.


    ---

    Your thoughts? And who will be the next Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup? Why? When?
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    wprager
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    Re: Why No Canadian Cup Champion this Decade?

    Post by wprager on Thu May 21, 2009 10:10 am

    With the cap in place and the Canadian dollar gaining on the greenback the playing field has almost been leveled. One fifth of the teams are now Canadian, and accounting for the Leafs never winning again it would follow that, all other things being equal, Canada should win 1 Cup every 6 years.
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    Re: Why No Canadian Cup Champion this Decade?

    Post by Cap'n Clutch on Thu May 21, 2009 10:16 am

    Well said Pragues. The biggest problem is the odds are stacked just based on there only being 6 Canadian Teams out of a 30 team league. Then there was the era of haves and have nots with only TO being able to spend with the big boys. It's only been a few years since the Cap has been put in place and we've seen two Canadian Teams make it to the finals in that time. Not bad IMO.


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    Re: Why No Canadian Cup Champion this Decade?

    Post by PTFlea on Thu May 21, 2009 10:51 am

    Is it too obvious to say that there are only 6 Canadian teams and 24 American teams?

    One a decade would be nice, but the numbers aren't particularly in our favour, right? The Flames, Oil and Sens have at least made the Finals. Hopefully somewhere down the line the next step is for a Canadian team to go all the way.
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    Re: Why No Canadian Cup Champion this Decade?

    Post by Acrobat on Sat May 23, 2009 11:00 pm

    Keep in mind that Ottawa, Toronto, and Montreal are continually bashing each other in one division, with Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver in a single division in the west.

    This means that if all three in the east or west happen to be strong at once, they will typically knock each other down during the regular season, and it's less likely for all three to make the end-of-season party. At best, they can finish 1,4,5, thus no more than two can move to round two. If all favourites win, then only one can move to round three (ECF or WCF).

    The sum total of this is that pure statistics don't hold, as the system is set up (not intentionally, I'm sure) to work against teams from north of the border.

    It would be more equitable to return to either a system that used conference ranking only (can guarantee division leaders a playoff berth, but not ranking), or the old 1 vs 16, 2 vs 15, etc.
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    Re: Why No Canadian Cup Champion this Decade?

    Post by davetherave on Sun May 24, 2009 4:16 am

    On the other hand, with three Canadian teams in each Conference, their chances to accede to the Cup would seem equal, would they not?
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    Re: Why No Canadian Cup Champion this Decade?

    Post by Acrobat on Sun May 24, 2009 6:34 pm

    I am not very good at explaining this...
    I'll try again:

    Typically, all three Canadian teams in one conference don't tend to get strong at the same time; the current situation in the west is as close as it's been in a while. This means that the stronger team(s) will tend to "beat up" on the weaker team(s), thus pushing them down in the standings and possibly/probably out of the playoff picture. This effect is more pronounced due to the imbalanced schedule; if each team played each other team an equal number of times, divisions wouldn't matter.

    Typically, therefore, you won't have all three Canadian teams in a conference making the playoffs. Most years, there have been two, or even only one Canadian team in the conference making the dance. Thus, the statistics become anywhere from (best case) 6/16 = 37.5% down to worst probable case of 2/16 = 12.5%. Typical case would be two on one side, one on the other, like this year.

    If you play out the math, assuming each round is a 50/50 split (for simplicity), and using the 3/16, you end up with an 18.75% chance of one Canadian team making it all the way and winning. (Note that this is already less than the 20% chance that we started with at the beginning of the season, from 6/30).

    So what are the chances that no Canadian team is going to do it for 10 straight years? About 12.5% (that's 81.25%^10). i.e. One in eight ten-year spans should not contain a Canadian team, on average. The odds of a 16-year drought are about 3.6%, or 1/28, so we have certainly hit a point where we can begin to question whether there are other forces at play.

    Just to provide a range, if all six Canadian teams made it every year, the odds of going ten years without one winning drops to less than 1%, and if only one from each conference makes it each year, the odds jump to 26.3%.

    [A corollary of this is that Canada is "due" statistically - if the GMs can get off their collective a$$es].

    I hope I explained myself properly; I might have made a minor error in the math (if so, I'd be happy to have it pointed out), but the concepts should be correct, and the numbers should be in the appropriate ranges for discussion purposes.

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