regarding LA, Calgary, and the Stanley Cup. Disclaimer - I consider
myself to be a disinterested party to the debate, as I am a Jets fan,
and now live in Illinois, though not in a place where either Hawks or
Blues games come in well on the radio.
First, let's talk organizations, and let's lead off with the statistics.
Team Seasons Total Seasons > or = .500
Calgary 18 (1972-73) 14
NYI 18 (1972-73) 14
Buffalo 20 (1970-71) 16
L.A. 23 (1967-68) 8
What impresses me about the teams that came into the NHL in '72-73 is that
they have fabulous (IMHO) records and they each have the same GM now that
they had when they started! (how many of you could name the GM of the
Flames? - it's Cliff Fletcher)
I'll bet most of you didn't know that the Sabres record is that good.
Indeed, a Sabres fan I know didn't know that either, and she wasn't impressed
by it either. The reason is they have not won a Stanley Cup. I'll bet
most Capital fans are more pleased with last season's result than with all
of those years when the Caps were good during the regular season, and
could beat the Islanders if their lives depended on it. So, on to Stanley
[NOTE - LA's record is there only as a point of fact. I do NOT think it
reasonable to compare LA pre-Gretzky with LA post-Gretzky. Going into
this year I wondered if Gretzky would ever get his name on another Cup.
Needless to say I am very impressed with their record this year, and these
last 4 games against the Jets makes me quite convinced that the Jets will
not play more than 1 round in the playoffs regardless of whether they
play Calgary or LA first (previously I wanted them to play LA, because
their record v. the Kings was better than v. the Flames). Course the
Jets might not even make the playoffs this year. And I thought they
would be second in the Smythe this year. Oh well.]
Despite the trend in modern era hockey (post WWII) for hockey to be dominated
by one team - the dy*** reigns in hockey more than any other team sport -
there are some precedents for winning only one Cup, which is what the
Flames have done to date. (FLAMES FANS PLEASE NOTE this is simply an
explanation of might happen; the actual outcome is in the sticks and
skates of the Flames themselves).
Chicago's 1960-61 team won the Stanley Cup, but never won it again. This
is despite the fact that they had a ton o'all stars in the '60s, including
Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, Pierre Pilote and Glenn Hall. When they won this
Cup, Hull for one never thought that it would be the only one. One of
his regrets is that he never drank champagne out of the Cup when he had
Boston's 1969-70 team won the Stanley Cup, and next year compiled a record
of 121 regular season points (76 game schedule). Despite that record, they
did not win the Cup that year. Interesting to note is that was the year
the Bruin's did do well individually. Espo's 76 goals in 76 games, Orr's
102 assists, but no Cup. Also, for the Hawks, 1960-61 was the only year
between 1956-57 and 1972-73 that one of the top 10 scorers was NOT a
Black Hawk, but that WAS the year they won the Cup.
To the Bruins's credit, they came back in 1971-72 and won the Stanley Cup
Although Buffalo's 1974-75 team did not win the Cup (they lost to the Flyers)
they did make the finals, and they have never come that close since. And
they have had good teams, as their previously noted regular season record
What will be Calgary's fate? It's uncertain :-) Personally, I really
hate idle speculation, esp. really idle speculation and malicious (sp?)
speculation (which is what started this whole LA/Calgary debate - I hope
that guy (Matt) got alot of shit in his mailbox, because IMHO he really
But to idly speculate :-> I would say that the Flames have a greater
chance of winning a Cup in the next 3-5 years than the Kings. The Kings
have put alot of their eggs in one basket, and they are really gunning for
the near term - i.e. this year or next. Who knows how long Gretzky will
be able to score 150 points? The Flames management has a better track
record than the Kings, although I am impressed with what the Kings have
done this year in adding Brian Benning, Rob Blake, and Daniel Berthiaume.
The Flames will have to replace Wamsley soon (he's over 30), and have
drafted Jason Muzzatti (a Michigan State star) to do so. That's a sign
of a good organization.
As for this year, let's just let them play it out. It'll be done in
a couple of months - no time at all.
Evan Pritchard, a Winnipegger amongst the Illinois corn fields, which is
only relative hockey oblivion