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The Malik Report

Scoty Bowman discusses the difficulties of defending Stanley Cup titles with the CBC’s Tim Wharnsby

The Detroit Red Wings are very proud of the fact that they were the last team to repeat as Stanley Cup champions back in 1998, but the Chicago Blackhawks' status as having won 2 Cups in 3 years may be as close as one gets to a repeat in this day and age.

Former Wings coach and current Blackhawks advisor Scotty Bowman discussed difficulties of winning repeat Cups with the CBC's Tim Wharnsby, and Bowman believes that there are more than salary cap-related reasons as to why no team has been able to replicate the Wings' successes:

"You can't keep your team together," Bowman said. "The Los Angeles Kings managed to do it. But they still didn't win. When you win, you have players you have to re-sign. Most of those players deserve a raise. You can't keep everybody. If you lose a couple key players the cupboard gets bare."

But, Bowman says, it doesn't stop there.

"Teams are stronger," he said. "At least, there are more teams capable of winning. It just seems that teams have more younger players who make an immediate impact. There is more emphasis than ever on developing players and they make a bigger impact quicker than ever."

One could very well argue that the NHL took a full decade to recover from nine seasons and 9 teams' worth of 1990's expansion. I certainly believe that it took until 2008 or 2009 for the NHL to be able to boast that more of its 16 playoff-qualifying teams than not were capable of making a long playoff push.

Take a glance at the Blackhawks' hockey operations department. There is a skating coach (Kevin Delaney), a player development coach (Keith Carney), a developmental goalie coach (Andrew Allen) and a developmental coach for forwards (Yanic Perreault).

In the end, Bowman believes, more teams simply are capable of winning. If, however, you talk to the players they bring a couple more points to the forefront. There is the exhaustion factor after pouring yourself physically and emotionally into winning a championship, and there is the short summer after all the partying.

"The shortened summer is probably the most difficult to overcome," said Toronto Maple Leafs centre Dave Bolland, a two-time Stanley Cup winner with the Blackhawks and returns for the first time to play Chicago on Saturday. "It's a lot of fun when you win. You have a lot of festivities to celebrate. You want to hang out with everybody and celebrate. But before you know it you have to get back to work and get back to training and do your thing."

"Mentally, you want to ride that wave as long as you can," said Carolina Hurricanes forward Jordan Staal, who won the 2008-09 title with the Penguins. "You hope it's not a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but it is a moment you want to cherish as long as you can. There also is the wear and tear on your body. You play a lot of games when you win."


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About The Malik Report

The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.