Did somebody say controversy?
This article will surely piss off five-sixths of all Canadian hockey fans. If you’re willing to bet that you may be the one sixth who ends up as happy as Cujo was to find another job, or you just enjoy the opportunity to complain, read on.
I will now break most of your hearts.
Stats, skates, and sweat, herein come together to finally answer the question that burns inside each hockey fan and player alike—what is the greatest Canadian hockey franchise of all time?
In six parts this series will examine how each of the active Canadian NHL franchises size up relative to one another in each of five categories, before finally declaring a winner.
The battle lines will be drawn around Stanley Cup Championships, Playoff Appearances, Season Play, Franchise “Greats,” and Fan Base.
I know what you’re thinking and no, the Nordiques didn't rank.
So once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more. Onwards to study those things that divide us all, yet simultaneously unite us as hockey fans.
Stanley Cup Championships (VALUE = 20 of 55)
Okay, okay, let's just go ahead and say it before the analysis even begins—of course Montreal takes this category, leaving the rest of us jealously wallowing in self-pity like Nick Lachey.
I guess I just tipped my hand. I am not a fan of Les Habitants, although I am a fan of Jessica Simpson—on mute of course. Despite this, I have a lot of respect for the accomplishments of the Canadians but alas, my heart is in Toronto. I'll do my best to shake my bias and stick to the facts.
Let’s see how everyone else sizes up to Montreal.
The following is a breakdown of Stanley Cups won in the modern era (that’d be from the '42-43 season on) divided by the number of years each team participated in the modern era NHL.
This ‘win percentage’ is then multiplied by 20 to get the final score for this section.
Calgary – 1/27 = Win Percentage of 0.037 = 0.74/20
Edmonton – 5/27 = Win Percentage of 0.185 = 3.7/20
Montreal – 20/64 = Win Percentage of 0.312 = 6.24/20
Ottawa – 0/15 = Win Percentage of 0.00 = 0.00/20
Toronto – 9/64 = Win Percentage of 0.141 = 2.82/20
Vancouver – 0/36 = Win Percentage of 0.00 = 0.00/20
Thank God I’m not a Vancouver fan. Ouch. They may not have the longest-running drought, but they’re certainly a team who thirsts to sip expensive champagne from hockey’s Holy Grail.
Representing almost half of all points available, the Championship category has significant weight, and Montreal pulls out to a strong early lead. Kinda reminds you of most of their playoff runs.
The Canadiens boast an impressive winning percentage, averaging a Cup every three seasons—a championship ratio unheard of in modern sports. To put it in perspective, the Habs have won at least four in a row twice and four in five years three times.
I believe the word is “dominant.”
Ottawa and Vancouver pull up the rear with a big fat zero, but if we were giving out Cups for effort—okay, they still wouldn’t have one. But Ottawa came close that one time, remember?
I know you do - Ottawa fans hold onto that run like Wacko Jacko dangling a baby over a railing. Dear Sen-nuts, keep a tight grip, 'cause I got bad news—it ain’t happening again anytime soon.
The dark horse of this category is definitely Edmonton, who wins respect with a strong average of almost one in five. I was a little surprised, actually—I guess the Gretzky years were better than I remember.
Montreal turns in a strong victory, and everyone else is left to wonder how in the world to catch-up. Damn you bleu, blanc, et rouge. J'admire vos victoires.
And that’s about as much praise the Habs will ever get from this Leaf fan.
So there we have it. Part One complete. Stay tuned—it only gets better as the competition heats up.
Until next time. TML forever (sorry, I couldn’t help it).