Why the Toronto Maple Leafs may just win the Cup
Once we're in, I like our chances, considering where the Stanley Cup belongs – in Canada.
A quick breakdown of some interesting facts may just have fans thinking the same way.
The last three Cup winners were American teams, of course, but they were led by a core group of Canadians, meaning Stanley has been making plenty of trips around his home country.
Consider this: of the last seven Stanley Cup playoffs – since the 2005 lockout – five of the seven coaches were Canadian for the champions. (This, of course, includes our coach Randy Carlyle who won with the Ducks in 2007.)
Of those five Canadian coaches, four of them were from Ontario – that would be Claude Julien, who won with Boston in 2011, Joel Quenneville, who won with Chicago in 2010, Mike Babcock, who won with Detroit in 2008, and Carlyle with the Ducks in 2007.
With Sudbury native Carlyle behind our bench, I feel confident our boys will be able to sustain the grind of the playoffs because we’ll be the ones laying the beatings.
Now also consider this: Canadian players made up the core of each of the last three cup winners – LA, Boston and Chicago. We don’t even have to go back another year to 2009 for Pittsburgh, do we? Crosby. Talbot. Enough said.
The Kings, last year’s champions, had 23 players take to the ice for them in the playoffs – 13 of them were Canadian. Their core? That would be Canadians Drew Doughty, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Justin Williams.
The Bruins, champs in 2011, had 21 players hit the ice for them in the playoffs – 16 of them were Canadian. Their core? That would be Canadians Patrice Bergeron, Michael Ryder, Nathan Horton, veteran presence Mark Recchi, and Andrew Ference.
The Blackhawks, champs in 2010, had 24 players play for them in the playoffs – 16 of them were Canadian. Their core? That would be Canadians Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Dave Bolland.
The goalies were American, Thomas in Boston and Quick in LA, save for Finland native Niemi in Chicago. (Pittsburgh, of course, had Fleury, a Canadian, in 2009.)
Now consider what the Leafs have heading into the playoffs: a coach from Ontario, for starters. Check. A core group of tough, Canadian players. Check. And on top of that, two Canadian goalies. Check. Check.
Of the players who will lead the Leafs in the playoffs, many are Canadian. We got hulking defencemen Phaneuf, Franson, Fraser and Kostka. Perfect. Up front, we got Kadri (who will be pumped for his first playoffs), Lupul, Bozak and MacArthur.
Toss in the two top-notch Americans in Kessel and JVR, with a side of some Europeans who play like Canadians in Komarov and Grabovski (that one’s a stretch), and you got the makings of a playoff team. All of it led by an Ontarian who has recently won the cup in Carlyle.
Sounds promising. We could use another Cup, it's been...too long. Go Leafs Go. Cheers.