Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 05/08/14 at 11:22 AM ET
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.
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