For The 30th Season In A Row, Canada Has Lost The Stanley Cup

Bruce Bennett. Getty Images.

For the first time in franchise history, the Florida Panthers are Stanley Cup champions. 

This is a franchise that had some success early on, making it to the Stanley Cup Final in their 3rd season of existence in 1996. But after getting swept by the Avs in the '96 Cup Final, the Panthers didn't win a single playoff series until 2022. That was 24 straight seasons without even sniffing the Cup. Then 2023 came around and something finally clicked for the Panthers. That something probably had to do with bringing Matthew Tkachuk into the locker room and completely flipping that culture around. But they made it to the Cup Final again in 2023, before ultimately getting worked by Vegas. 

Now in their 30th season, the Panthers made another trip to the Cup Final. It looked like they had it all wrapped up after taking a commanding 3-0 series lead. Then the wheels fell off the wagon, and Edmonton came storming back to force a game 7. They were on the verge of an all-time collapse. I'm sure the loss in '96 hurt, but it had to at least give the fan base some hope that they had that level of success so early. I'm sure the loss in '23 hurt, but it had been so long since the organization had any success that they'd take a 2nd place finish. But blowing a 3-0 series lead in their 2nd consecutive Cup Final appearance? That would be devastating. That would be impossible to come back from. 

That….doesn't matter any more because the Florida Panthers are Stanley Cup Champions. 

What a ridiculously gutsy defensive performance out of the Panthers tonight. They got shelled in the previous 3 games, but they replaced the locks on the doors for game 7. They shut down McDavid. They shut down Draisaitl. Bobrovsky didn't have to make a ton of high pressure saves tonight, but when they needed him the most he was there to shut it down. 

There are so many guys on this team that deserve this thing. Barkov was a monster all playoffs long. Bobrovsky was a wall until games 3, 4 and 5. Ekblad has been through so much over the years with all of his injury issues. Okposo obviously made a huge impact in that locker room in the short amount of time he's been in Florida. But the one guy hoisting that Cup tonight who has changed the course of hockey history forever is The Rat King himself. Because now the last name "Tkachuk" is finally etched onto the Stanley Cup forever. 


Unbelievable moment for an unbelievable family. 

And while one team is experiencing the highest of highs right now, the entire country of Canada is experiencing the lowest of lows after losing the Stanley Cup for the 30th consecutive season. The Montreal Canadiens won the Cup in 1993, the Florida Panthers came into the league in 1994, and a Canadian team hasn't won the Cup since. I guess we'll never know what could have happened in the 2004-05 lockout season. Really makes you think. 30 straight seasons. 

Congratulations to the Florida Panthers. Congratulations to Paul Maurice. And congratulations to Canada on gifting the United States the sport of hockey. 30 years in a row is enough to say it belongs to us now. 

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