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Just Like Last Year?

from Sean McIndoe of Grantland,

Midway through the second round of the playoffs, the NHL has a shot at an interesting conference final scenario. The Kings, Blackhawks, and Penguins are all leading their series, and the Bruins are still very much alive despite trailing the Canadiens, 2-1. If Boston can come back and the other three teams hold on, we’d be left with a repeat of last year’s final four.

That would be an especially rare result, not just in the NHL but across North American pro sports. The NHL has only had one repeat final four since the Original Six era (it happened in 1977). And according to the Elias Sports Bureau, it’s only happened once in MLB (1978) and once in the NBA (1952); it’s never happened in the Super Bowl–era NFL.

So would a final four repeat just be a fluke? Or is it possible these teams know something the rest of the league doesn’t? That Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and L.A. also happen to be the league’s four most recent Cup winners might make you lean toward the second option.

I figured I’d take a deeper look at these four teams, and see what sort of lessons they could offer us about building a successful NHL contender. 


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink



Without reading the article, at least two of them reach you you must suck for at least 5 years stockpiling talent before becoming good. The other two, at least a few years of being pretty damn bad.

Posted by teldar on 05/08/14 at 10:48 AM ET

awould's avatar

That article is dumb. The primary thing these teams did was Lesson 4, tank for high draft picks.

Posted by awould on 05/08/14 at 12:14 PM ET


Posted by awould on 05/08/14 at 01:14 PM ET

Not true in Boston’s case.

They’ve made the playoffs in each of the last 7 years, and they’ve only missed the playoffs 5 times within the career span (as well as, for that matter, lifespan) of any current NHLer—1997, 2000, 2001, 2006, 2007.

In that time, the only top 5 picks they got by virtue of their own sucking were a #1 all the way back in 1997 (Joe Thornton, traded) and #5 in 2005 (Phil Kessel, traded). They also got a #2 in 2010 (Tyler Seguin, traded) but that was care of Toronto’s tank job, not Boston’s.

There’s no way that’s even close to Pittsburgh (sucked HARD until they picked up an elite player and a generationally elite player in back-to-back drafts), Chicago (sucked HARD until picking up Toews and Kane in back-to-back drafts) or even Los Angeles (three straight top-5 picks, one of which was Doughty). Boston was awful in 1997, 2000, and 2006. None of their top picks in those years are still with the team. Other than that they’ve iced very competitive squads.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 05/08/14 at 01:46 PM ET

awould's avatar

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 05/08/14 at 02:46 PM ET

That’s true, but they still leveraged high draft picks. It’s interesting that those high draft picks were all traded away and yet they’re still a pretty damn good team. That’s actually more interesting than the entire Grantland article.

Posted by awould on 05/08/14 at 01:55 PM ET


When the league gives you massive scheduling benefits (Pitt-09) or hands game winning goals to you (Chi-13 -elimination avoiding-game winning-only penalty shot of the entire damn playoffs!) or applies blatant double standards that dramatically alter playoff series (remember Malkin’s famous waver from the suspension for under 5 minute tomfoolery!) it makes it a lot easier. In short there are two sets of rules, one for the non-chosen teams and one for Buttman’s picks (Pitt, Boston, Chicago, namely)

Posted by Bay Area Wings fan on 05/08/14 at 02:52 PM ET

awould's avatar

Posted by Bay Area Wings fan on 05/08/14 at 03:52 PM ET

You’re not lying.

Posted by awould on 05/08/14 at 04:32 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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