The Stanley Cup Playoffs get underway tonight. It'll be the 28th edition of the Stanley Cup Playoffs since the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Los Angeles Kings in the 1993 Stanley Cup Final. Just a couple of months before the start of the '94 playoffs, Justin Bieber was born in London, Ontario. Ever since that moment, no Canadian based NHL team has hoisted Lord Stanley's Cup over their head.
Connor McDavid hadn't been born yet. Mitch Marner hadn't been born yet. I haven't really realized this until right now but the Calgary Flames barely have any Canadians on their roster. Either way....Andrew Mangiapane hadn't been born yet. All these guys who have never been alive to see a Canadian city win the Cup, all looking to lead their teams to greatness over the next couple months. All just 16 wins away.
The first to go will be Toronto. Not only do they have to take on the 2x reigning Stanley Cup Champs in the first round, but it looks like the organization isn't expecting a lengthy stay in the playoffs this year and didn't even bother to make any playoff additions to the ice surface in Scotiabank.
Why waste all that time and energy on something that you're only going to get use out of for 2 games?
I can see Edmonton getting by LA in the first round. It's the Gretzky revenge series. LA took the Great One out of Edmonton, now the Oilers need to end the last chance the Kings have with that group of Brown, Kopitar, Doughty and Quick. I also love the Flames to grind a great series out against the Stars. Which will set up a classic Battle of Alberta playoff series in the next round. Edmonton and Calgary split the series in the regular season. But you put all that pressure on the Oilers AND you add playoff Matty Tkachuk running around out there being an all-time rat? Well one Canadian team has to have their season end in that series, and I'm going with Edmonton.
So now all the hopes and dreams of Canada rest on the shoulders of the Calgary Flames. I love the shit out of this Flames team and want to see them make it to the Stanley Cup Final. Give Johnny Gaudreau one more great run to remember his career in Calgary with before he signs with the Flyers in the offseason. But on the other side of the bracket, the Florida Panthers will be running through the East. The last time the Calgary Flames advanced to the Stanley Cup Final, they lost in 7 games to a team from Florida when the Lightning won their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. This time around Claude Giroux will score the overtime game winner in game 7 and the Cup will be staying in Florida for the 3rd straight year (3 more times than the entire nation of Canada in 29 years). And next year we'll get to celebrate the 30th anniversary of that Habs team that got it done in '93. Can't wait.