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Since 1994, only eight NHL teams have failed to make it to their respective conference finals. Would you like to guess the teams? Go ahead and put in your call to Liam Maguire. I'll wait.

Give in? Here they are:

Boston, Columbus, L.A., Nashville, Phoenix, Atlanta, the New York Islanders and...


Of course, the statistic becomes even harsher when you realize that Phoenix was awarded a team in 1996, Nashville joined in 1998, Atlanta arrived in 1999 and Columbus rounded out the group in 2000.

Now, how many Stanley Cups has Montreal won since 1982? Easy answer, right? Two. But how many times have the Canadiens won the conference finals in the same period? Three. Three times in 28 years. A team like Carolina, however, has been three times (and won twice) in just over a third of the time -- only eight years. Of course, Montreal fans would be quick to point out that they have but one Cup to show for it.

So what's the moral of this mathematical tale? Perhaps it's that Montreal might be effective if they get far enough into the playoffs -- but they can't seem to do it very often. Why don't we hear more about this? Just something to chew on, when you hear the national media bagging on other Canadian teams for their lack of postseason stamina.

More later.

14 responses to "Fun with math"

  1. What about the Wild?


  2. Minnesota made it to the Western conference finals in 2003. They were swept by Anaheim in 4 games.

    The Universal Cynic

  3. barring a total collapse, boston can be scratched from that list soon :)


  4. Vancouver hasn't made it to the conference quarterfinals since 1994.


  5. The conference quarterfinals are the first round. Vancouver has made it into the playoffs nine times since 1994, including this season.

    The Universal Cynic

  6. Since 1982, Montreal has made the Conference Final in 1984, 1986, 1987, 1989 and 1993. However, they have only made the Stanley Cup Final three times (1986, 1989, 1993) since 1982.


  7. D'oh! That's what I meant. Thanks for the catch. It's been fixed.

    The Universal Cynic

  8. Phoenix Coyotes were never awarded a team, they relocated from Winnipeg. Definetly not the same as the Preds or Bluejackets they were expansion teams.


  9. That's fine if we're discussing a team movement/expansion story. But that's not what this is. In this case, it's semantics. And the NHL still "awards" teams, regardless of whether they've previously existed elsewhere. It's their terminology -- not mine.

    The Universal Cynic

  10. "That's fine if we're discussing a team movement/expansion story. But that's not what this is."

    No, this is a story about teams not making the conference finals since 1994. You claimed Phoenix had extenuating circumstances that it didn't have. The Winnipeg/Phoenix franchise has existed since 1972 and hasn't won a playoff series since 1987. I don't think you should be granting them leniency.


  11. And I think you're creating an argument where there is none. Phoenix is Phoenix. It is not Phoenix/Winnipeg, and doesn't exist as such, just as Dallas isn't Dallas/old Minnesota and Colorado isn't Colorado/Quebec. The stats were collected as they exist IN THEIR CURRENT NHL CITIES. If you wish to go back through the league history and gather all the information on playoff appearances as teams were relocated, I invite you to do so, and I will happily post the information here.

    The Universal Cynic

  12. On a subjective note, my wife was a huge Nordiques fan. When they moved to Colorado, they were dead to her. I would tend to agree with the notion that when a team moves, they essentially become a new franchise.

    I am one of those people who believes that playoff success, or lack thereof, is somewhat random. A bounce here, an injury there, an out of this world goaltending performance here, and everything can change. It's also worth noting that it is a 30 team league now, so talking about how many Cups a team might have won back when it was a 6 team loop with territorial rights and no free agency for players isn't all that relevant to the game we see today.

    Only one team gets to end their season truly happy - 29 others are in some state of despair. That's sports - when you become a fan, you sign yourself up for a life that will largely be marked by disappointment. Unless, of course, you become a shameless bandwagon chaser, and I have already taught my son that these "fans" should have their underwear soaked in meat, and be tossed in a cage with hungry lions.

    Dennis Prouse

  13. Is there national media claiming that Montreal does have a recent history of post-season stamina?

    Montreal has not been glorious in the playoffs since 1993, but I didn't think that was a secret. Are people claiming different?

    Montreal has had some brutally lean years since 1993 and scant playoff success. I am surprised that comes as a surprise to anyone.

    Pink Frosty

  14. People are not claiming different. However, when it comes to playoff success/failure, Toronto is always going to take centre stage, and teams like Vancouver and even Ottawa are often discussed by the national media before Montreal is mentioned.

    The Universal Cynic