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Bulletin-board material: Why your team won’t win the Stanley Cup

Apr 16, 2014, 11:25 AM EDT

We did this last year and went a whopping 15-1, with only the Chicago Blackhawks ruining our perfect game. Pretty impressive, right? Let’s see if we can do even better this year…

Columbus Blue Jackets: The worst team to make the playoffs. Which, hey, is better than the best team to miss the playoffs, but still doesn’t bode well for their Cup chances. The fact is, the Jackets are the picture of mediocrity. They don’t score a ton of goals, they aren’t great defensively, and their special teams are merely average. We suppose it’s nice they’re in the playoffs for the second time in franchise history. Maybe this time they can actually win a game.

Dallas Stars: Cue all the stats nerds crowing about the Stars’ Corsi. Here’s what people who actually watch the games see: a team that’s way too reliant on Jamie Benn, a 24-year-old with zero playoff experience, and Tyler Seguin, a 22-year-old the Bruins deemed too soft and too unprofessional to trust. Even if the Stars can get past the Ducks (we’ll get to those paper tigers shortly), their second-round opponents will be either the Kings or Sharks. At which point Dallas won’t even have Corsi on its side.

Minnesota Wild: Ilya Bryzgalov is their goalie. Shall we move on? OK, fine – here’s something else about the Wild: they can’t score. Minnesota’s offense ranked 24th in the NHL, right below the Calgary freakin’ Flames. For all the money this team has spent in the last few years, you’d think they could put a few more pucks in the net. Of course, first you have to get shots if you want to score, and only the Buffalo Sabres finished with fewer of those this season.

Tampa Bay Lightning: No más! No más! Apologies for the dated boxing reference, but how much can one team take before it throws in the towel? The Lightning cannot overcome an injured Ben Bishop. To suggest they can beat Montreal without him would be to ignore how well he played during the season. Frankly, it would be an insult. And please, don’t be fooled by Anders Lindback and the three decent games he managed to string together. His overall numbers are beyond atrocious, and he’s got next to no playoff experience.

Philadelphia Flyers: To win a Stanley Cup, a team typically needs a great goalie, a great defenseman, and a great two-way center. The Flyers have not one of those three things, and it shows in their statistics. Defensively, Philly ranks 20th in the NHL, allowing 2.77 goals per game. Last year, Chicago finished first in that category. The year before, Los Angeles finished second. The year before that, Boston was second. Are you sensing a pattern?

New York Rangers: It’s always entertaining, in a head-shaking kind of way, to hear Alain Vigneault portrayed as some sort of coaching genius who was brought in to rescue the Rangers from the medieval methods of John Tortorella. In reality, it’s Torts who’s got a ring and Vigneault who was behind the bench for one of the great choke jobs in Stanley Cup history. Vancouver lost 10 of its last 11 playoff games under AV. He wasn’t fired there for nothing. When the pressure’s on, his teams melt down. Oh, and by the way, the Rangers last season under Torts: 2.62 goals per game. This season under AV: 2.61 goals per game.

Montreal Canadiens: Canada’s only hope has, well, very little hope. The Habs were one of the worst possession teams in the NHL this season, ranking 26th in five-on-five, score-close Corsi. The only four worse than that? Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and Buffalo. Not good company to keep. Having said that, Montreal does have Carey Price, and he might be enough to get the Habs past Team No Mas. But sorry, just because he was able to stand around and watch a stacked Team Canada win gold in Sochi doesn’t mean he’s impervious to pressure and can carry the Canadiens on a deep playoff run. Certainly, his career .905 save percentage in the postseason leaves a lot to be desired. As does a team that finished the season with the 21st-ranked offense.

Detroit Red Wings: What a nice story it was: an injury-riddled team pulls together to make the playoffs, extending its postseason streak to 23 while playing the “Red Wing way.” Too bad it’s a bunch of nonsense. The only reason the Wings made the playoffs is because the teams below them were a bunch of pathetic disasters. Consider: no playoff side finished with a worse goal differential than Detroit (minus-8), and no team finished with fewer regulation/overtime wins (34). Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk weren’t hurt the whole season. Everyone realizes that, right?

Colorado Avalanche: Too much has already been written about the Avs and their poor underlying stats. By now, everyone knows how much they rely on Semyon Varlamov, so there’s no need to keep repeating how lucky they’ve been. All it does is encourage their fans to float more and more ridiculous theories about why the Avs are the exception that will prove the numbers wrong, like a pack of deranged gamblers who go on a nice little run at the tables and believe it’s their divine right to get rich playing blackjack. So instead of focusing on that angle, let’s focus on the Avs’ injuries. Because this is not a healthy team.

Los Angeles Kings: Speaking of lucky, say hello to the luckiest Stanley Cup champions in modern NHL history. In case you forgot (and we wouldn’t blame you if you did, given how boring this team is to watch), the Kings won their first championship ever in 2012, beating the basket-case Canucks, the banged-up Blues, and then – simply amazingly – the Coyotes and Devils, two teams that had no business advancing that far, and haven’t been back to the playoffs since. Last spring, the Kings were given the unenviable task of playing a legitimately good team in the playoffs, and lost in five to Chicago.

San Jose Sharks: Everyone’s favorite choke artists are back for another kick at the can. The Sharks got into playoff form early this year, dropping four of their last eight in regulation, thus blowing any chance they had at winning the Pacific Division and getting the cupcake Stars in the first round. Did we mention two of those four losses were at home to the Jets and Predators? Honestly, if the Sharks couldn’t take care of business against the likes of Winnipeg and Nashville, why would anyone think this group of career underachievers has developed the killer instinct it takes to win the Cup? Let’s just move on.

Anaheim Ducks: Not sure if anyone outside of Orange County has noticed, but the top seed in the Western Conference has a serious question mark in goal, which just so happens to be the most important position in all of hockey. Apparently, all signs point to rookie Frederik Andersen, a kid with 24 career NHL starts to his name, getting the nod in Game 1 versus the Stars. This was not how it was supposed to play out. It was supposed to be Jonas Hiller, and you’re crazy if you think Bruce Boudreau isn’t worried about it. And if he’s not worried, he’s the one that’s crazy.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Finished the regular season with just seven wins in their last 17, and didn’t have a single regulation victory in their last five. Injuries were a factor, sure, but one has to wonder about a team that openly admits it wasn’t motivated to win down the stretch. Truly great teams want to win all the time, regardless if the games are “meaningless” or not. The way the Pens have been eliminated their last two tries (read: melting down against the Flyers and going embarrassingly dry against the Bruins), one would think they’d be a touch more fired up. Heck, the only guy who seems to be rounding into playoff form is Marc-Andre Fleury, and that’s never a good thing.

St. Louis Blues: It’s sad, really. Expectations were so high for this team that’s been around since 1967 and, to this day, remains best known for getting posterized by Bobby Orr. The Blues lost their last six games by a combined score of 22 to 5. As punishment, they received a first-round matchup with the defending champs. Should we really be surprised though? This is a franchise with a long history of getting its fans’ hopes up, only to fall short when it counts. In hindsight, maybe the Blues shouldn’t have hitched their wagon to a goalie whose teams, from college to the pros, haven’t won a darn thing.

Boston Bruins: This won’t be easy to hear, B’s fans, so we’ll just come right out and say it – Zdeno Chara is old. Not old for the earth; but definitely for the NHL. In fact, only 12 defensemen league-wide are older than Chara, not one of them more important to his team’s success. Yes, Chara’s an extremely fit 37-year-old, but it’s no secret he got worn down last year. He was a combined minus-6 in the last three games against Chicago, and hasn’t gotten any younger since. Plus, he had to play in the Olympics. Throw in Dennis Seidenberg’s injury and the Bruins’ blue line is looking downright vulnerable. Look, put it this way: you know a team’s thin on the back end when it trades for a guy who was a regular healthy scratch in Philly.

Chicago Blackhawks: The last time they were the defending champs, they lost in the first round. There hasn’t been a back-to-back Cup winner in the age of the salary cap. The only champion that made it back to the final, the 2009 Red Wings, lost to Pittsburgh. Which is to say, history does not give the ‘Hawks a very good chance of repeating. Nor does common sense. It takes a massive commitment, physically and emotionally, to win 16 playoff games. Doing it back-to-back, in a league where parity rules, is just too much to ask. And that’s not even mentioning that the ‘Hawks two superstar forwards, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, have been out with injuries. PS – Is Michal Handzus still the second-line center? But…but…’Hawks fans told us Brandon Pirri was so amazing.

  1. jaguar0413 - Apr 16, 2014 at 11:27 AM

    Did you guys forget about the Capitals? Why won’t they win the Cup?

    • barkar942 - Apr 16, 2014 at 1:21 PM

      They did mention the Capitals-
      “Columbus Blue Jackets: The worst team to make the playoffs. Which, hey, is better than the best team to miss the playoffs”.
      That team was the Capitals.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Apr 16, 2014 at 4:55 PM

      Jag, the stupid writer also forgot to discuss my Leafs’ chances!!! What a bozo. Hey, anyone know what channel the Leafs-Caps game is on?

    • blomfeld - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:11 AM

      *** earlier today at LAX ‘domestic’ arrivals ***

      TSA Officer: your papers please ?

      Brough: here ya go pal … what a joke those LA Kings are eh ?

      TSA Officer: “……………….”

      Brough: yeah, and to think those idiots believe they even have a chance eh ?

      TSA Officer: “……………….”

      Brough: yeah, I can’t see those fools making it past the first round eh ?

      TSA Officer: your papers are out of order ! … kindly follow this man accordingly …

      Special TSA Agent Blomfeld: this way my friend ….

      Brough: wait a minute, what’s going on here ?

      Special TSA Agent Blomfeld: my ‘fists’ asshole ! … KAPOW !! .. KABOOM !! .. KAZAAM !!

      executive summary: anyone who doesn’t love the Kings is a communist !

      GO KINGS GO !!! … TODAY, TOMORROW AND FOREVER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. patthehockeyfan - Apr 16, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    “We did this last year and went a whopping 15-1, with only the Chicago Blackhawks ruining our perfect game. Pretty impressive, right? Let’s see if we can do even better this year…”

    Impressive? Sure, okay. If you say so.

    I predict you’ll go 15-1 this year, too. And, it will be another team from the West to ruin your predictions.

    You guys crack me up.

    • no - Apr 16, 2014 at 10:40 PM

      i cringed

    • valoisvipers - Apr 16, 2014 at 10:53 PM

      Well if it has to be a team out West then it might as well be the Kings. It would make you, Blomfeld and my hockey pool all very happy.

  3. lowenni - Apr 16, 2014 at 11:34 AM

    Haha yikes, this was harsh. True though.

  4. redwingsfan101 - Apr 16, 2014 at 11:35 AM

    Yea but Hank and Pav weren’t the only ones injured. Only 2 players on the whole team actually played 82 games and while they are good players, there players that aren’t essential to the team. Also the wings goaltending has gotten better as the regular season ended, Howard won his last 4 games. Hank was also injured for half the season, long enough to really hurt a team but the wings had their youth to really step up.

  5. hockey412 - Apr 16, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    Love these things!

  6. JoeAvg - Apr 16, 2014 at 11:44 AM

    OUCH!

  7. toiletclown - Apr 16, 2014 at 11:50 AM

    Never heard anything more true about the Bruins and Flyers. Great piece!

  8. stepanup - Apr 16, 2014 at 12:10 PM

    Loved it. The Ryan Miller shot was coooold.

    • cardsandbluesforever - Apr 16, 2014 at 1:25 PM

      its cold because its the cold hard truth.
      unless Miller turns his game around and starts playing like the goalie we thought we were getting this trade will end up burning us for years. we gave up way too many draft picks to get this guy, if he doesn’t pan out our farm system will take 3-4 years to recover from the damage.

  9. drewsylvania - Apr 16, 2014 at 12:18 PM

    @patthehockeyfan He’s making a joke…

  10. wtfkwp - Apr 16, 2014 at 12:28 PM

    Wow! A 1.41 GAA and a 12-2 cruise past the 1st, 2nd and 3rd seeds in conference is “luck?” FWIW, they lost a top player in each of the three series they played last season, and finally lost to a team that tanked the previous year when ONE player went down (and that team is in worse shape this postseason.)

    Makes one wonder why you picked them to win it all this year. My bet? You really didn’t bother to think at all.

    • wtfkwp - Apr 16, 2014 at 12:36 PM

      For the record the same guy said this, when he nearly simultaneously picked the Kings:

      “I picked these guys before the season started, and I don’t see any reason to change my prediction. The Kings have a great two-way center, a stud on the blue line, and a proven goalie that performs when the pressure’s on. They’re excellent five-on-five and allowed the fewest goals in the league during the regular season. They’re also big, tough, and deep. Yet having said all that, I wouldn’t be at all shocked if they lost in the first round. The NHL!”

      This guy has multiple personalities, and one of ‘em must be wrong.

      • Jason Brough - Apr 16, 2014 at 12:49 PM

        Dance, puppet.

      • wtfkwp - Apr 16, 2014 at 1:23 PM

        Whatever, Jason. I’m not sure how you get paid for takes like that.

      • valoisvipers - Apr 16, 2014 at 10:57 PM

        For what it’s worth, I thought this was a great read. Thank you Jason.

    • hockey412 - Apr 16, 2014 at 1:06 PM

      (pssst – these are really just meant for fun…offending each others team is kinda what we do, and love….)

      • wtfkwp - Apr 16, 2014 at 1:22 PM

        Got no problem with that, but I would have written it up ENTIRELY differently. To be blunt, it wouldn’t be about how they “got lucky.” It would be about how a team that relies on defense and goaltending and can’t score is a recipe for potential disaster. I mean–how hard is reality?

    • skr213 - Apr 16, 2014 at 6:57 PM

      An uppity Kings fan – who’da thunk it?

      • wtfkwp - Apr 16, 2014 at 8:23 PM

        A dickhead response — who’da thunk it?

      • skr213 - Apr 17, 2014 at 5:10 PM

        At least I’m not on here crying like a baby because someone said something bad about my team in an article that isn’t even supposed to be serious. There’s a word for men who do that and it rhymes with itch.

  11. skr213 - Apr 16, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    Love it. Like a good roast.

  12. imgoingtowichita - Apr 16, 2014 at 1:29 PM

    Bulletin board, ha! More like trash bin.
    If a team takes offence to a bloggers piece, or even worse, one of us commenting on it, they should probably start playing soccer.

  13. pigeonbutt - Apr 16, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    Yes there is no luck in putting all that defensive prowess in display against the offensive powerhouses of the 2012 Canucks, Blues, Coyotes and… Devils.

  14. sjsharks66 - Apr 16, 2014 at 1:44 PM

    The Sharks one was boring. I read that in the comments all the time. Next time, explain why they would choke. Will Niemi play terrible, or will he play as well as he did last post season? Will Hertl and Torres injure themselves again? Will Marleau disappear and have to have JR come to his house again? Will Tmac not be able to match lines while they are away? Because I will tell you right now, that’s exactly what will happen.

    I just expect more out of you PHT..

  15. cleesmith2 - Apr 16, 2014 at 1:52 PM

    Hey mediocre is an accomplishment for us in Columbus. Win a game or two in the playoffs and this season will be a success on to bigger and better things.

  16. smarshall3789 - Apr 16, 2014 at 1:57 PM

    Lol pretty sure Pavel and Zetterberg were out the most of the season and they did do it the right way!! Plus I can’t wait for them to beat the Bruins in the first round to bust all you so called experts predictions and to shut you guys up I’ll be laughing!!

    • skr213 - Apr 16, 2014 at 4:23 PM

      Yes, but what will you be doing when it turns out the experts were right?

  17. boltsfan777 - Apr 16, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    Nice article. Well done and entertaining.

  18. nsmiff87 - Apr 16, 2014 at 4:02 PM

    I love this article. Finally something other than a bunch of stats copied and pasted

  19. henrik4dawin - Apr 16, 2014 at 4:13 PM

    I love this article– accurate, funny, and educational

  20. thefutureofoil - Apr 16, 2014 at 6:43 PM

    Pallet of chips, drinks and edibles? Check.
    Kiss goodbye to wife? Check
    Pour 25lb bag of dog food into trough for dog? Check.
    Call office to tell them I have a rare highly contagious disease and will be out for 6 weeks? Check.

    Drop the puck!

  21. titansbro - Apr 16, 2014 at 7:27 PM

    Love watching fans getting all butthurt about this crap. Lol. Solid analysis but hey, somebody has to win right?

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