Thursday, April 26, 2012

President's Trophy Flop

Well, they're done. Now I can watch the Stanley Cup playoffs stress-free. The Vancouver Canucks have been eliminated, and I couldn't be happier. Being an unapologetic Canuck hater (before it was fashionable to be), I was shocked as much as anyone that they were ousted by Los Angeles in round one.
After losing Game seven of the Cup finals at home, I didn't think they could embarrass themselves any further. They may very well have this year.

Vancouver has just completed the fastest playoff exit for any President's Trophy winning team. Sure, it has happened six times since 1967, including five times in the last dozen seasons. But all of those first place overall teams won at least two games before being upset.

The list of the President's Trophy Flops:
  • Los Angeles over Vancouver, 4 games to 1 in 2012
  • Montreal over Washington, 4 games to 3 in 2010
  • Anaheim over San Jose, 4 games to 2 in 2009
  • Edmonton over Detroit, 4 games to 2 in 2006
  • San Jose over St.Louis 4 games to 3 in 2000
  • Minnesota over Chicago, 4 games to 3 in 1991
  • Montreal over Boston, 4 games to 3 in 1971
In fact there has been one other first place team that was eliminated in five games but that was well before the President's Trophy. In 1957, the Detroit Red Wings finished first with 88 points in 70 games before losing 4 games to 1 to the Boston Bruins.

Perhaps some solace for the Canucks is that last year's fellow finalist Boston was also upset in the first round this year. How often have both Cup finalists failed to get out of the first round the next year? Perhaps unsurprising considering the parity of the current NHL it is actually more the norm than not. Since 2003, SIX times the previous year's Cup finalists failed to win a round the next, it happened only twice in the 35 years before then.

Cup Finalists one year, out in First Round the next:
  • Vancouver, Boston 2012
  • Anaheim, Ottawa 2008
  • Edmonton, Carolina 2007
  • Calgary, Tampa Bay 2006
  • New Jersey, Anaheim 2004
  • Detroit, Carolina 2003
  • Montreal, Los Angeles 1994
  • Boston, St.Louis 1971

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