We’re in that weird part of the NHL calendar where hockey fans feel exiled in the limbo between Christmas (Stanley Cup Final) and New Year’s (Entry Draft.)
Alex Ovechkin finally went to sleep at some point last week after three straight days of partying, celebrating his and his franchise’s first ever Stanley Cup win. From their NHL debuts to their first bedtime snuggled warmly under the covers with the trophy, Sidney Crosby and Ovechkin will forever be linked.
Hugging trophies like pre-pervert Tiger Woods
Greatness recognizes greatness and both captains clearly realize how hard it is to win that Cup even once and how it elevates your status from mere superstar or even future Hall of Famer to something higher. Anyone could see that Ovechkin was going straight to the Hall of Fame even five years ago, but the (probably unfair) knock on him was that he never led Washington to a Cup. Now he has, and the twin feelings of vindication and victory are so sweet, one clings to that Cup until rigor mortis sets in to your fingers.
As Pensblog brother Rad wrote the morning after Washington won it all:
After last night, Alex Ovechkin’s name is carved in silver in the same row as Sidney Crosby’s for eternity, and there isn’t anything more fitting than that as both players have cemented their legacies on the game and will forever be remembered for it.
“Never won a Cup” Franchise List
Symbolically, Ovechkin “puts to bed” Washington’s Cup-less existence, and there are now 12 franchises remaining of the 31 current clubs who have never won the Stanley Cup.
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I have no sympathy for the St. Louis Blues; after all, they employed and gave the “C” to David Backes. Fifty (50) seasons on the outside looking in. Of the six original 1967 expansion franchises, they are the only one without a Cup victory. At least the perennially horrible Oakland Seals had the dignity to transfer-merge their franchise decades ago.
“No Cups since…” Franchise List
Overlooked this until tabulating the data but Philadelphia has lost in six (6) Stanley Cup Finals since winning their first/only/last two titles in 1974 and 1975.
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The Flyers’ three-peat attempt was rejected in 1976 by the beginning of the last great Montreal Canadiens’ dynasty. In 1980, the Long Island dynasty began at the expense of Philadelphia. Then in 1985 and 1987, the Edmonton buzz-saw sliced through the Flyers. Finally, Eric “The Big L” Lindros & Co. were swept by Detroit in 1997 while Antti Niemi helped Chicago end their league-leading 49-year championship drought in 2010 by defeating the Flyers.
This is a gift from the heavens and I have no sympathy for Philadelphia.
Fanbase (City) Cup Droughts List
Of the 12 franchises that have never won a Cup, three of those clubs are based in cities that won the Cup in the ancient, primordial, pre-NHL days. These are fanbase droughts that are approaching or have exceeded a century.
Next Penguins fan who complains about why Kris Letang hasn’t been traded yet gets shipped to one of these cities permanently.
Winnipeg (116 years): In the ruckus this spring surrounding the Western Conference finalist Jets, not much was said about how the 2018 Jets were the first Winnipeg team to get their fans this close to the Cup since some early 20th century Winnipeg clubs.
The Winnipeg Victorias were three-time champions (1896, 1901 and 1902) before relinquishing the title to the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association later in 1902 and losing a rematch the following year. Subsequent Winnipeg-based sides challenged for the Cup in 1904 and 1908 but failed and the Peg would be silent for the next century.
Vancouver (103 years): The 2011 Canucks almost ended Riotcouver’s drought at 96 years, then reality set in. Their city’s last entry to win a Cup were the Vancouver Millionaires in 1915, an era when Pacific Coast teams played seven-a-side hockey. The Millionaires would vie for the Cup again in 1918, 1921 and 1922 but Vancouver is still waiting for another championship, a century later.
Ottawa (91 years): The original Senators were the first great NHL franchise, winning four Cups in the 1920s (plus three pre-NHL Cups from 1909 to 1911.) Sadly, then as now, the Sens faced financial problems as the Depression hit and Ottawa hockey faded from existence for sixty years.
One of the best Stanley Cup things ever is the 1905 no-mercy beat-down the Ottawa Silver Seven laid on the team from Dawson City, Yukon who challenged them to a duel. Travelling 4,000 miles – some of it by dogsled – to play hockey, only to lose 23-2. Nice.