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Canadian Captains Win Cups

The Odd Truth Of Winning The Stanley Cup


Everyone thinks that the team with the best skilled players that have incredible heart, experience and luck win the Stanley Cup. When captains are chosen for a team, the franchise usually looks for leadership, grit and someone who can sell to the fans. According to history, Stanley Cup champions are won by teams that have captains born in the land of the maple leaf.

My homework shows me that only one Stanley Cup has gone to a non-Canadian captain in its entire history. That went to American born Derian Hatcher and his Dallas Stars in the 1998-99 NHL season. It is quite amazing that not one European born captain has won a cup.

Am I the only one that is surprised by this extraordinary fact? Is this a curse?

Let us see how this affects the current 2007-2008 playoff teams.

Of the 16 teams currently in the playoffs, 8 of them have a full-time Canadian born captain, 1 Canadian captain is on a rotation system, which means that 7 teams are either American or European led.

Anaheim, Calgary, Colorado, Dallas, Nashville, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Jose all have full-time captains born north of the border.

According to history, one of these teams has around a 99% chance of winning the cup this year. Minnesota uses a captain rotation system, with one of the captains being Canadian. So if anyone in the Wild organization happens to read this, they should allow Nick Shultz to wear the “C” during this crucial time of hockey.

Now the teams with about a 1% chance to win it all are: Detroit, Montreal, Boston, New Jersey, Ottawa, Washington, and the New York Rangers.

Looking at this list, the Eastern conference winning Canadiens and the President Trophy winners in the Red Wings are in trouble. Even more of an interesting fact, is that 5 of these 7 teams are captained by a European, exceptions being Capitals Chris Clark and New Jersey’s Jamie Langenbrunner.

The Devils and Red Wings have combined to win 6 Stanley Cups in the past 13 years, before the retirement of captains of Scott Stevens and Steve Yzerman.


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What else is interesting is that only 4 Canadians finished in the top 10 scoring this year, with the top 2 being Russian. Of all 9 Canadian-captained teams in the playoffs, including the Wild, only 2 of them led their team in scoring; Calgary’s Jarome Iginla and Nashville’s Jason Arnott who tied with J.P. Dumont. Of course there would be a debate that Joe Sakic and Sidney Crosby would have led their teams as well if not for injuries.

I really wonder if this has ever been considered by any franchise. Players like Jaromir Jagr, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Jamie Langenbrunner have all won cups, just never as captains. It almost becomes mind boggling to see all the great names that are wearing the “C” and not winning championships.

Every captain grows up dreaming to hoist the Stanley Cup over their head in front of millions. Come playoffs, this player scores, defends, encourages, fights, bleeds, plays injured and does whatever else it takes to reach their dream.

Is this the year for a European captain to hoist the Stanley Cup for the first time in NHL history? Or maybe the second time an American captain does? We will soon find out.

Like it or not, history shows that the when the “C” is on a Canadian, it represents a championship. It has only failed once…ever.


By Kevin Chaves
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer


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