What a Stanley Cup Title Would Mean for Each Remaining NHL Playoff Team
All eight teams playing for the Stanley Cup can take a good strong whiff and smell the championship.
That's right, there's a wondrous odor that goes along with the Stanley Cup. That full bouquet is within reach, and while any team that wins has the notable accomplishment of winning the 2013 NHL championship, the title would also mean something unique for each team.
Here's what winning the Stanley Cup would mean to each of the teams participating in the conference semifinals.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Legacy-Enhancing
The Pittsburgh Penguins earned two Stanley Cups when Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr were in full flight in the early '90s.
The Penguins won the title in 2009 with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin leading the way.
If the Penguins can add another title this year, the duo of Crosby and Malkin would have as many championships as the Lemieux-Jagr partnership.
Multiple championships for Crosby and Malkin would enhance their legacy in a dramatic fashion.
Chicago Blackhawks: Powerhouse Victory
The Chicago Blackhawks were exciting and powerful when they won it all in 2010, their first in 49 years.
While the Blackhawks had salary-cap issues after winning and had to move a lot of supporting players, they were able to keep their core roster intact. After a couple of disappointing seasons, the Blackhawks were razor-sharp in 2013, as the Presidents' Trophy proves.
If they can match that performance for the remainder of the playoffs, Chicago would be a legitimate wire-to-wire powerhouse team.
The Blackhawks have won just four Stanley Cups in their history. They have been playing hockey since 1926. A fifth Stanley Cup would lift this legacy franchise to new heights.
Boston Bruins: Matching Orr and Co.
If the Boston Bruins are able to win their second Stanley Cup in three seasons, the second championship would allow Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara and Milan Lucic to match the accomplishments of the Bobby Orr era Bruins.
The Big Bad Bruins were one of the most explosive and colorful teams in the history of the NHL. They had dominating scoring talent, and most observers thought they were capable of reeling off four or five straight titles.
That didn't happen because Orr suffered serious knee injuries, and the team had a few setbacks. Those Bruins beat the St. Louis Blues in 1970 and the New York Rangers in 1972 to win Stanley Cups, but they never won another.
A victory in 2013 would give the current Bruins the same number of titles as Big and Bad. That's a major achievement.
Los Angeles Kings: Back-to-Back
The Los Angeles Kings have a chance to win back-to-back Stanley Cup titles, something no NHL team has done since the Detroit Red Wings accomplished the feat in 1997 and '98.
That's a remarkable achievement, but if the Kings can win two in a row, they would appear to have the kind of team that could put together a mini-dynasty.
They have strength in goal with Jonathan Quick. The defense is fast, athletic and nasty. There is legitimate talent up front with players like Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, Mike Richards and Dustin Brown.
The Kings are not an easy team to play against, and they have a chance to put their names in the history books.
New York Rangers: Full Celebration
The New York Rangers have been an extremely competitive team the last two seasons.
They were the best regular-season team in the Eastern Conference in 2011-12, and they were the Stanley Cup favorites at the start of the year.
While they struggled much of the regular season, they have a great goaltender in Henrik Lundqvist, an active and aggressive defense and timely scoring. If they can meld those three elements together and win the Stanley Cup, there will be an epic celebration in New York City.
The 1994 Rangers ended the team's NHL dry spell that went back to 1940. The Rangers have not won a title since that memorable victory over the Vancouver Canucks. If they were to get hot and win the next three rounds of the playoffs, the city of New York would give them a championship parade in the Canyon of Heroes.
San Jose Sharks: Respect
The San Jose Sharks have had legitimate Stanley Cup championship aspirations since the 2003-04 season.
When they added star center Joe Thornton from the Boston Bruins early in the 2005-06 season, it seemed like it would be just a matter of time before the Sharks lifted the Stanley Cup high over their heads.
The Sharks have never gotten out of the Western Conference playoffs. They have Stanley Cup-level talent, but they have never shown the drive or determination to earn the championship.
You can hear the snickers and muted laugh when the Sharks are given consideration. They can earn significant respect by overcoming past failures and winning the Stanley Cup.
Ottawa Senators: Yay, Canada!
There would be tremendous joy in Ottawa if the Senators can beat the top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins and go on to win the current version of the franchise its first Stanley Cup triumph.
Head coach Paul MacLean would have pulled off a remarkable accomplishment because the Sens have been damaged by injuries all season, and they don't appear to have the overall talent to beat the best teams in the league.
However, the Sens leave it all on the ice every night, and they cannot be counted out.
The nation of Canada would celebrate a Senators championship. No Canadian-based franchise has won the Stanley Cup since the Montreal Canadiens won the 1993 title.
Any Canadian team that wins would be celebrated by the hockey-loving nation.
Detroit Red Wings: Small Miracle
The Detroit Red Wings were days away from getting eliminated from playoff consideration.
Going into the final week of the season, the Red Wings were in ninth place in the Western Conference. It seemed like they were going to finish behind the Columbus Blue Jackets because they were so inconsistent during the regular season.
The Red Wings went 4-0 in the final week of the regular season and earned the seventh seed. They beat the powerful Anaheim Ducks in the first round and have taken a 2-1 lead over the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round.
They are still long shots to win the Stanley Cup. They have suffered numerous injuries, and they lost Nick Lidstrom to retirement at the end of last year.
They do not appear to be a Stanley Cup-worthy team. If they win the championship this year, it will be a minor miracle for the team from Hockeytown.