What’s more rare these days: Coming back from a 0-3 deficit to win a series or winning back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships? Sure, historically there have been a lot more back-to-back champions than there have been teams coming back from 0-3 holes, but in recent history the story is a bit different.
It was just last season when the Philadelphia Flyers came back to defeat Boston after the Bruins stormed out to a 3-0 lead. That was just a year ago. There haven’t been back-to-back champions since 1998.
The Chicago Blackhawks are faced with both obstacles right now. They’re hoping to come back from a 0-3 deficit against the Vancouver Canucks and they’re attempting to win their second championship in a row. Their chances of accomplishing either of those goals seems quite unlikely right now.
Not even “Chelsea Dagger” could save Chicago yesterday. Can anything?
The 1998 Detroit Red Wings were the last team to win the Stanley Cup twice in a row. That Red Wings team featured some of the best players of that era, like Kris Draper, Tomas Holmstrom, Nicklas Lidstrom and Chris Osgood who… well, who still play for the Red Wings today.
No other team has managed to win back-to-back Cups since then, though a few team came close. The Dallas Stars lost in the 2000 Stanley Cup Final after winning the Cup in 1999. The New Jersey Devils, the team that defeated Dallas for the Cup in 2000, lost in the 2001 Final. Most recently, the 2008 champion Detroit Red Wings made it to game seven of the Stanley Cup Final before losing to Pittsburgh in 2009.
The salary cap and more free agency have made stringing a series of championships together almost impossible. The last team to win more than two championships in a row was the New York Islanders, who won the Cup four straight times between 1980 and 1983. The Montreal Canadiens hit four in a row right before the Islanders did. No one has managed to do so since, though the Edmonton Oilers won five Cups in seven years between 1984-1990.
Those days are likely behind us now. We saw how the salary cap ripped the Chicago Blackhawks apart after their 2010 championship. The league is especially competitive these days and the era of the dynasty is likely over. Is it for the better? Would you rather see the kind of parity we see now, or do you want dynasties again?
Financially, the fact that he playing field is almost level is much better for the NHL.
Barring a collapse of Boston Bruins-like proportions, we will have a new Stanley Cup Champion in 2011 and the 1998 Detroit Red Wings will remain the last team to win back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships.
However, is it too early to start talking about ending another drought?
The Vancouver Canucks currently lead their series 3-0. The Montreal Canadiens lead their series against Boston 2-0. Sure, it’s just the first round, but is this the year we see a Canadian team win the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1993? Or is that just wishful thinking at this point? Did we just jinx it?