On June 4, 2008 the Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup four games to two over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Next year they will have the pressure of being the defending champions. How have teams in the past done with that pressure?
In 1996, the Colorado Avalanche won the Stanley Cup against the Florida Panthers. For the most part, this team did well after being the champion. The Avalanche did keep the majority of their core from the 1995-96 team. The team was still strong in the playoffs making it to the conference finals in three of the four following seasons.
After acquiring Ray Bourque in 2000, the Avalanche made another major trade in 2001 acquiring Kings' defenseman Rob Blake. The return of the previous season’s stars led to a second Stanley Cup defeating the New Jersey Devils four games to three. But since their latest Stanley Cup victory, the Avalanche have taken a down-turn.
After winning the Stanley Cup for the first time, Ray Bourque retired, but the Avalanche still returned the majority of their core from the championship season. The Avalanche had the second best record in the NHL and made it to the conference finals where they fell to their arch rival the Detroit Red Wings.
In the years following, the Avalanche lost a lot of their players that contributed to their Stanley Cups. Patrick Roy retired. Peter Forsberg, Adam Foote, and Rob Blake left via free agency. Chris Drury and Alex Tanguay were traded. As a result, Colorado has not made it past the conference semifinals getting swept in their last two appearances.
The Detroit Red Wings won back to back Stanley Cups in 1997 and 1998, becoming the first team since the 1991 and 1992 Pittsburgh Penguins to repeat.
In the following season, they looked strong again getting a two games to none lead on their rival the Colorado Avalanche. But Colorado won the next four and eliminated them.
The Avalanche knocked them out in five in the next season. In 2001, Detroit fell to the Los Angeles Kings who was the seventh seed.
In 2002, the Red Wings were again the Stanley Cup Champions. From 2003-2006, Detroit went through playoff struggles again. In those three seasons, Detroit didn’t make it past the second round and lost in the quarterfinals two of those seasons.
After Steve Yzerman retired and Brendan Shanahan went to the Rangers, Detroit rebounded in 2007. The Red Wings made it to the conference finals and fell to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Anaheim Ducks.
2008-2009 will be another year after a Detroit Stanley Cup win and we will see what happens to them.
The Dallas Stars won the 1999 Stanley Cup in six games, but since that season the Stars haven’t shone as bright. In the following season, the Stars returned to the Stanley Cup, but they fell in six games to the New Jersey Devils.
From 2001-2007, the Stars didn’t make it past the conference semifinals losing in the quarterfinals in three seasons.
Some of the reasons were key players leaving after their Stanley Cup run. Joe Nieuwendyk played for the Devils, Maple Leafs, and Panthers before retiring. Ed Belfour went to the Maple Leafs and then the Panthers. Darian Hatcher and Brett Hull went to the Red Wings.
With some new younger talent, the Dallas Stars made it to the conference finals last season. The Stars could be on the rise again.
The New Jersey Devils won their second Stanley Cup in 2000. This franchise has been up and down since then.
The Devils returned to the Cup in 2001 and gained a three games to two lead, but the Avalanche outscored them 7-1 in the last two games, denying the Devils their third Stanley Cup.
In the next season, the Devils were eliminated in the quarterfinals by the eventual conference champion Carolina Hurricanes.
In 2003, the Devils were once again Stanley Cup Champions winning in seven games against the Anaheim Ducks.
After that, the Devils have kind of faded. In the following season, they lost the quarterfinals to the Flyers. Then, the next two seasons, they lost the conference semifinals and last season they lost in the quarterfinals again.
The Devils still have most of their players from their Stanley Cups. Jason Arnott went to the Stars then the Predators. Scott Stevens and Ken Daneyko retired. The Devils talent is older and they need younger stars to step up to make another Cup run.
The Carolina Hurricanes, Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Anaheim Ducks haven’t come close to the Stanley Cup since their victories.
The Hurricanes haven’t returned to the playoffs. The Lightning lost in the quarterfinals the next two seasons and failed to make the playoffs the next. Anaheim lost to Dallas in the first round last season.
Looking back at these teams, winning the Stanley Cup has put a target on their backs. Since 1990, only two teams have repeated as Stanley Cup winners. Two other teams made consecutive Cup appearances. Lot’s of teams have high turnover in the years following Cup victories.
In the years after the Detroit Red Wings 2008, win we will see what their fate is.