Editor's Note: With the playoffs starting in just over a week we Leaf fans are bound to catch our usual proportion of flak for the Leafs' absence (ie disproportionate). Daoust, however, has some powerful rejoinders to fire back at the sloping forward crowd.
Anyone else remember when April meant gearing up for an almost guaranteed trip to the 2nd round? Heading to a packed pub to watch the game? Listening to the car horns honking outside after a big win? God damn I miss those days.
Unfortunately, since the lockout, April now means gearing up for off-season speculation and, if you're like me, listening to fans of other Canadian teams talk shit about the Leafs. Poor, insecure, ill-informed bastards.
Last year the "Leafs missing the playoffs" chatter was seemingly at an all-time high, so I decided to pull together some stats for me and my fellow Leaf fans to have at hand when friends/co-workers opened their big stupid mouths. I've taken the bulk of those, updated them to reflect this year's stats, and present them below.
This shouldn't be interpreted as me being a leafs 'apologist'. I'm aware of the current state of the team (as well as the awesome healing powers of Luke Schenn and Brian Burke). But above all else, I like my hockey conversations to include liberal helpings of facts - ie if you're gonna talk shit, have a clue what the fuck you're talking about. Enjoy.
So to start, here are the regular season records of all the Canadian teams going back to 92/93 (when Ottawa joined the league), up-to-date as of this past Friday I believe.
Regular Season - Canadian Teams since 92/93
Tor 610-495-112-36-25 (W-L-T-OTL-SOL)
Hmmm... so the Leafs have won more games than any Canadian team in the last 15 years? That can't be right. We've been consistently mediocre, remember? Hockey Night in Canada has chosen to showcase the hapless Leafs instead of the rest of the Canadian teams, that play a much higher calibre of hockey, remember?
EDIT: Inspired by a comment below, here is Toronto's record vs all Canadian teams during this period, inclusive of playoffs where applicable (Ottawa).
vs Edmonton: 26-13-3-1-0
vs Vancouver: 23-18-6-0-1
vs Montreal: 38-23-4-2-4
vs Ottawa: 44-41-3-4-3
TOTAL AGAINST ALL CDN TEAMS: 158-108-17-10-8!!!
Wow. Just... wow. WE'RE the ones that suck??
But never mind that. Everyone knows the regular season is irrelevant anyway and the playoffs are the main event. So here is each team's respective playoff record over the same period.
Playoffs - Canadian Teams (*denotes cup win)
Leafs 66-66 (132 GP) -- 10 series won
Sens 49-54 (103 GP) -- 8 series won
Canucks 44-52 (96 GP) -- 7 series won
Habs 43-46 (89 GP)* -- 7 series won
Flames 31-39 (70 GP) -- 3 series won
Oil 30-39 (69 GP) -- 5 series won
(Further begrudgingly presented fact - all of the Canadian teams have made a Cup Final appearance in this time, except for the Leafs. There, I said it. We did have 4 conference final appearances though, and besides the Sens (2), the rest of the teams have 1)
Well isn't that something - the Leafs have played in and won more playoff games (and series) than any other Canadian team? That must be a statistical anomaly or something. That just can't be right.
For a further comparison, here are the playoff records of a handful of other teams around the NHL…
Playoffs - Other select Teams
Detroit 123-80 (203 GP) ****
Jersey 99-77 (176 GP)***
Colorado 99-76 (175 GP)**
Dallas 74-67 (141 GP)*
Philly 73-67 (140 GP)
Toronto 66-66 (132 GP)
Buffalo 65-55 (120 GP)
Pittsburgh 64-62 (126 GP)
San Jose 57-62 (119 GP)
St Louis 52-56 (108 GP)
Anaheim 46-33 (79 GP)*
Rangers 45-38 (83 GP)*
Carolina 33-27 (62 GP)*
Washington 32-43 (75GP)
TBay 26-25 (51 GP)*
Hawks 20-27 (47 GP)
The Isle 15-29 (44 GP)
And here were some other tidbits I dug up last year, when the Leafs missing the playoffs 3 consecutive years for the first time in franchise history was the storyline of choice for the mittenstringers (who apparently forgot about or didn't see the releveance of the Norris division and the "16 of 21 teams make the playoffs" format).
Calgary --- missed playoffs 7 seasons in a row (96/97 – 02/03); were 6th when they made their cup run in 03/04, which was and still is the only time in the last 18 seasons they have won a playoff series (ie 3 series won in 1 season, 0 won in 17 seasons);
Vancouver --- missed playoffs 4 seasons in a row (96/97 – 99/00; also their first 4 years in existence); they were 7th seed and had a record of 41-40-3 when they made the cup final in 93/94;
Edmonton --- missed playoffs 4 seasons in a row (92/93 – 95/96); they were 8th seed when they made the cup final in 05/06 (first 8th seed to do so) and missed the playoffs the seasons before and after; have won 5 playoff series since 92/93 season (3 during their cup run, 2 in the other 14 seasons);
Montreal --- missed playoffs 3 seasons in a row (98/99 – 00/01); finished above 7th in conference once since 92/93.
Ottawa --- missed playoffs 4 seasons in a row (their first 4 --- 92/93 – 95/96); lost in first round 6 times; lost to leafs 4 times;
Also… at the time last year, besides being the only Canadian team that had never missed the playoffs more than 2 seasons in a row before, they were also the only original 6 team as well. In fact, the only NHL franchises that had never missed the playoffs 3 seasons in a row were Toronto, St Louis, San Jose and the Minnesota Wild (Toronto and St Louis both did last year, so that leaves just the Sharks and Wild). Funny how that little bit of trivia didn't get any airtime.
Ok, I think that's enough for now. Hopefully you can take at least one of the pieces of info above and put it to good use over the next few weeks. I actually almost won a bet with a Flames fan at work who couldn't believe his team had only made it past the first round once in 17 seasons. Unfortunately when I wagered $1000 he sensed my confidence and backed off. Don't make the same mistake kids - be coy.
EDIT: I should mention that the regular season and playoff records are courtesy of http://www.shrpsports.com, a truly amazing database of historical sports results.