It’s one of the oldest jokes I know. Every hockey fan in Canada has heard at least as far back as when I was a kid, back in the 70s – You know it’s autumn when the Leafs are falling; you know it’s spring when the Leafs are out.
Bye bye Trawna.
See you next year, losers.
Despite the fact that the only thing I like about Trawna is Rob Ford
I would like to see the Leafs make the playoffs a little more often. And fuck me dead! the last time a Canadian team won the cup was when my Habs beat the Gretzky Kings in 93. Gretzky’s Kings beat the Leafs in a semi final that went to seven games, depriving Canadians of a Habs/Leafs final.
There has not been an all Canadian Cup final since original six expansion in 68.
That sorry story has to change.
Yes, I do have a plan. My plan would mean that there would never be another all Canadian Cup final, but it would also mean that there will always be a 50/50 chance that there would be at Canadian team facing off for hockey’s Holy Grail.
But bear with me a minute, while I give y’all some background.
Between 68 (expansion past the original six) and 93, Canadian teams won the Stanley Cup 16 times.
In the same period, American teams won 10 cups.
In that time span Canadian teams lost in the finals twice.
Canadian teams won the Cup six straight years, from 86 to 90.
Since the Habs skated away with Lord Stanley’s silver chalice last, in 93,
Canadian team,s have reached the finals only five times. Four of those five times, our champions broke our hearts n game seven (Canucks 94 and 11, Flames 04, Oilers 06 – the Sens lost to the Ducks in five games, in 07).
This year, the only Canadian team to make the playoffs are the Habs. Who will win the Cup this year. But, if I had my way, there would be four Canadian teams, including the Leafs, in this year’s playoffs. And there would be four Canadian teams in the playoffs every year. And four American teams. And four Russian teams. And four European teams.
I first came up with this scheme when it was evident that the 05/05 lockout was coming to an end. Tampa Bay had beaten Calgary in the 04 finals,
before the relationship between owners and players got very cold and the ice melted.
The work stoppage created a fantastic opportunity to make significant improvements to what had become a god-awful product. And even with all the “improvements” invoked since hen, we are still stuck with the same mediocre, damn-near-impossible-to-follow league we had when the Lightning skated off the ice with the Stanley Cup.
The idea that a team from Tampa Bay could win the Stanley Cup is proof positive that the NHL has mutated into a creature that no hockey fan can understand. That Carolina and Anaheim have won it since gives me an aneurysm. The Tampa Bay – Calgary series was a great final only because Calgary was in it. But would anyone have watched so much as a period if Tampa Bay had played Nashville for the Cup? The answer to that question is FUCK NO!
Can any hockey fan get excited by the prospect of one day seeing Carolina playing Anaheim in the finals? How about Phoenix vs. Columbus? Doesn’t that give you goose pimples just thinking about it?
As can be said for many things in the world, the biggest problem with the NHL is Mairka.
There are far too many teams in places they don’t belong.
That fact, more than even the neutral zone trap, has made an NHL season an eight-month borefest. If hockey is going to gain back its title as the world’s greatest game, radical steps have to be taken because expansion into places like Florida, California and Arizona has made the NHL the worst professional sports league in the world.
The solution is simple — scrap the NHL and start over. Create a truly International Hockey League by having a North American conference and a European conference. Twelve teams in each conference, two divisions of six within the conferences.
Kill off the Canucks (Vancouver isn’t really part of Canada, anyway. If you can’t, at noon on January 1, flood the main intersection of a town and play hockey an hour later, you’re not in Canada and you sure as Hell can’t do that in Raincouver). Move the Sens to Quebec City (The Battle of Ontario is a Herlequin Romance
compared to the Battle of Quebec).
Nuke all but Chicago, Detroit, New York (Rangers), Minnesota (make them the North Stars again), Colorado and Philadelphia south of the border.
(Yes, Boston fans, no more big, bad Bruins. What’s the point? They’re never going to beat the Habs in the playoffs again, anyway, so why bother?)
Six teams in Russia.
Plus Stockholm, Helsinki, Prague, Berlin, Munich, Zurich.
Another problem with the NHL is that there are too many games in a season. We don’t need 82 games.
The IHL season would be 68 games long. Each team plays its conference rivals twice at home and twice on the road, for a total of 44 conference games. All teams make one swing through the other continent, playing all 12 teams once.
This will create a genuine sense of expectation for each and every game for the home fans.
Wouldn’t fans be happier to shell out their money to see a team from mysterious and exotic St. Petersburg, Berlin or Prague than a bunch of lunch-buckets from Columbus, Dallas or Washington?
At the end of the 68-game season, four teams in each conference are eliminated. Canadian champs play the American champs for the right to contest the Stanley Cup against the European champs.
In the IHL, a Canadian team would do battle with a pack of hockey infidels from the good old U.S. of A.
for the honour of battling the champions of Europe for the greatest and most prestigious trophy in sport every year.
That’s drama, intrigue, rivalry, patriotism. That’s what can make this once great game great again.
And, even if the Canadian champions were to lose to the hated Americans once in a while, a final between Minnesota and Moscow is still going to be more compelling than a Florida- San Jose final.
Let’s face it, hockey fans, the NHL sucks. Hockey deserves better than the NHL. Hockey fans deserve better than the NHL. Hockey fans on both sides of the Atlantic deserve an International Hockey League.