Not since Montreal in 1993 has a canadian team won the stanley cup, and it looks as though this year is no different. With Canada’s last hope (Ottawa) being eliminated by the pittsburgh penguins, it seems the nation is at a loss. So how could this happen with such a promising start as five canadian teams entered the playoffs?
The first thing we must do is analyze the teams themselves. The Edmonton oilers seemed to be the overall favorite as we entered the stanley cup playoffs. They were red hot coming into the postseason and seemed to be destined for greatness. Lead by the young stud Connor McDavid, they were thought to be unstoppable. Young though being the focus of attention here. They are a very talented team but, but experience reigns supreme in the playoffs. I believe this was the biggest reason for the team’s upset. The pressure and intensity of the post season is far greater then regular season play and it boils down to…well… they just were not ready. It is definitely not all bad for this young oiler team however. This year was a spotlight into what the future holds for a truly talented and hopeful franchise in years to come.
The second and most surprising hope for Canada came in the form of another youngster team, the Toronto maple leafs. With Austin Matthews at the helm, it looked to be a sure thing to end the canadian finals drought. Everyone was ecstatic when the team made the playoffs since it was the first time since 2004. The dream was short lived however, as their hard fought first series against the number one seed (Washington) saw defeat. Not unlike the Oilers, the leafs are a very young team. Given time and the expertise of coach Babcock, they will be back next year and more prepared and focused than ever. Kadri and Matthews will have to rally their men and brace for the pressures of a highly anticipated leafs season next year. Toronto fans and all of Canada are counting on them to end the drought.