Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 03/26/12 at 11:38 PM ET
from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,
Of the seven Canadian franchises, one, the Vancouver Canucks, is considered a genuine contender, having made it to the finals last year and strong again this year. In a worst-case scenario, the Canucks might yet be the only “Dominion” team to enter the playoffs.
Why is this?
It cannot just be bad luck – the Canucks, Senators, Flames and Oilers all reaching the finals, but failing, over the past decade – and it cannot be blamed entirely on the various general managers and coaches, though both Toronto and Montreal have lately been trying their best.
Many theories have been put forward, none of them rock-solid. It has been said – and is often said privately by management – that the better free agents tend to avoid Canadian teams for factors that are not related to money: weather, the opportunity to live a more private life, a partner who might be U.S.-born and reluctant to move to another country.
There is some thought – especially in Toronto, partially in Montreal – that life in the media fishbowl exacerbates the natural rhythms of any team. A few losses becomes a full-blown crisis, a few wins a Stanley Cup parade; players not scoring get pressed about it so much they cannot score; players who excel get so much spotlight they often whither under it.
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