It has been 14 years since an NHL team won back-to-back Stanley Cups. The reasons being, it’s very difficult to do. This season the Chicago Blackhawks will attempt to prove that winning the Cup twice in two seasons is not a lost art. My cousin, who has Blackhawks tickets for the banner raising game next month, will tell you – the Hawks sure can win the Cup again this season. I am a little more skeptical.
Why Hasn’t A Team Won 2 Consecutive Stanley Cups Since 1997-98?
Here are 5 reasons why no team has won back-to-back Stanley Cups in well over a decade:
#1: Competition is too stiff in the National Hockey League. There are, at any one time, multiple threats to capture a championship. This fact alone makes it improbable for one team to continuously beat the existing handful of comparable competitors.
#2: Winning the Cup is a serious grind. Cup winning teams suffer several injuries and receive significantly less recovery time between seasons. Injuries and lack of downtime catches up with players, and teams, reducing the likelihood of repeat winners.
#3: Nobody takes the Champs lightly. The defending Cup winners will experience every opponent’s best performance all season. They will be targeted, studied extensively, analyzed intensely and to some degree figured out. Contending coaches will do extra to breakdown the defending champ’s style, and opposing players will strive toward defeating their reigning winner adversaries.
#4: Hunger to win might not be as prevalent in Year 2. I won’t suggest NHL teams don’t want to win the Cup every single year. However, it’s reasonable to believe that somewhere in the collective subconscious of a defending Cup champ is a lack of drive to make every single little painful sacrifice necessary to win the Cup again the following year. They are only human after all, and winning a Cup is excruciatingly tough work by all accounts. A slightly hungrier team, more naive to the difficulty of winning 16, may be more Cup ready and willing.
#5: Luck! Let’s not forget that luck plays its part in a rapidly contested game like the NHL’s world class brand of hockey. Think back to every Cup winner and you will be reminded of some close calls along the way. Game 7 overtime wins from the past that could have sent eventual Cup champs packing in earlier rounds could occur again in a 2nd consecutive run, only with less favourable results. Hockey is a game of inches and fortunate bounces. For example, the Boston Bruins won 3 of 4 series in Game 7 as they battled their way to a 2011 Stanley Cup victory. The following playoff season, they lost Game 7 of the 1st Round in overtime, and they almost did they same thing again in the 2013 1st Round – inches and fortunate bounces at work.
Can The Hawks Do It Again?
Logic suggests they can because they are a great hockey team. But lots of great hockey teams don’t win the Cup two straight years. While the Blackhawks definitely possess the personnel of a Cup winner, recent history declares they won’t win the Cup again this year. The beauty of hockey is that until the games are played and new heroes emerge to dethrone them, the Chicago Blackhawks remain a very serious threat and favourite to break the 14 year back-to-back Cup winning drought.