Wednesday, June 9th, 1993. A usually cold country is enduring a heat wave, not from Mother Nature, but from the sport of ice hockey. It’s well known Canada has its affections with the game of hockey. You may call it a religion. As the famous book, “The Sweater”, says “There were only three places we went; school, church, and the ice pond”. Around 60 % of players currently in the NHL are from the Great White North, and even though countries such as the United States and Sweden are rising and becoming world hockey powers, Canada is still #1.
On that glorious day, a nation was celebrating. The Montreal Canadiens had just won Game Five of their 7-game Final series against Wayne Gretzky and the Los Angeles Kings. The Cup was taken all across the nation, touched by individuals of all kind, even though the majority hated Les Habitants in the regular season. There’s nothing special than the Stanley Cup though, it had the powers to bring people together. The country was sharing the moment. That same feeling hasn’t been felt since that summer day. Many theorists say it’s a curse, or possibly a conspiracy theory ever since Gary Bettman became commissioner of the NHL. I’m here to tell you, none of those are right, but than, none of theses I will say right now are right either.
The next batch of Canadian kids to play in the NHL are a bit, shall I say, different? I don’t know if it’s just me, but there’s something that makes me burst out angry as hell. I really think Canadian players don’t want to play in Canada. Why? You’ve seen it, every Canadian NHL city is engulfed in talking about their team, either good and/or bad. Usually when it’s the bad (and it usually is), the fans have a little thing known as punching bag. As well, you have the pressure of coming in and winning the Cup for your city. If you’re an NHL player, do you really want to face that? It’s why Vincent Lecavalier wants no part of the Montreal Canadiens, it’s why Joe Corvo why was made a fool of in Ottawa, and it’s why nobody wants to play in Edmonton, although the weather there is pretty putrid as well.
You can call them pussies, you can call them smart. To me, it sound like they are motivated from the greenback more than the Cup. Yes, I would rather play in Los Angeles than in Edmonton, I can understand that part. But why don’t you just come out and say it? Don’t be like Dany ‘Douchebag’ Heatley, actually give a crap about the fans. You see, since the complete majority of NHL Teams are in the U.S.A, not only are more Canadian-born players going to American teams and leaving their hometowns to dust, but it’s happening at an alarming rate.
You also have to see the teams themselves. The worst two teams in the NHL this season were both Canadian, the Maple Laffs Leafs, and the Oilers. Who wants to play with teams like that? You wonder why Taylor Hall would rather play in Boston, and why Toronto’s rebuilding mode might take around 5 years. The Vancouver Canucks likely had the best chance in 1997, until they were decimated by Mark Messier and the New York Rangers. Ever since, they can’t complete anything, a pull off the complete choker label. The same thing goes with my team, the Ottawa Senators. They could never get past the Leafs, and flapped out against the Anaheim Ducks. The Calgary Flames were one win away as well, but they seem to hate the second round too much.
The biggest reason though why Canada can’t win the Stanley Cup, though is because of a lack of drafting skill. If you see all the drafting records from every Canadian teams, prepare to be underwhelmed. We all know the stupidity of previous General Managers John Muckler and John Ferguson Jr. in the two Ontario teams, and drafting was obviously Bob Gainey’s free fall from General Manager here in Montreal. The Edmonton Oilers haven’t done so good themselves either, likely because the tandem of Kevin Lowe and Steve Tambellini seemed to be more concentrated on picking up old rags and “coke machines”. Darryl Sutter over in Calgary always pulls off the odd shocker on Draft Day, and that hasn’t worked out too well. The only Canadian Team that has a decent drafting record are the Vancouver Canucks, who still can’t get past their foes, the Chicago Blackhawks (sound similar, Sens fans?).
In order to contend for the Stanley Cup every year, you have to have the skill and smarts. Sadly, it seems like no Canadian NHL Team is able to combine both in a Cup win. It’s why this great nation has felt the taste of a glorious championship since 1993, and if things don’t change, this video will remain in the minds of many Canadian hockey fans, forever and ever until a fix can be found. And not a quick fix, a quality fix. Now that’s something for all Canadians.