Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 06/01/14 at 04:31 PM ET
from Jack Todd at the Montreal Gazette,
The morning after the Canadiens slipped out of the playoffs, I was bombarded with emails calling their performance “disgraceful” and worse. A team that had surely overachieved in sweeping Tampa Bay and giving Boston the boot had embarrassed the uniform by failing to play like the 1970s dynasty.
Whoa. No one today plays like the ’70s Habs. That’s because it’s a 30-team league with a hard salary cap. You can’t stockpile Hall of Famers the way Sam Pollock did. You can’t fleece half-bright GMs who aren’t doing their homework, because Mike Milbury is no longer on Long Island.
It used to be there were three or four teams with a legitimate chance at a Stanley Cup every season. Now there are as many as a dozen. Never have there been so many good teams. Not great teams, perhaps, but extremely tough outfits: Chicago, Los Angeles, San Jose, Anaheim, St. Louis, Colorado, Boston, Pittsburgh, the Rangers, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, Detroit and Montreal, with a half-dozen others looking to kick in the door.
Success in this league is defined in a different way. No one is going to win six Cups in a decade. Today, a dynasty is a team that has a shot every year for a decade and perhaps wins it two or three times in that time frame: The Blackhawks, in other words.
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