Common Misconceptions:Senators' Stanley Cups, Waiver Rules, and Habs vs Leafs Attendance


Hello again blogosphere and welcome to another installment of Common Misconceptions.  In this article we will discuss a few topics around the league.  Many of them have been covered before, but I am trying to bring them all into one place.  Here are the three topics:

  1. The "Ottawa Senators" have 11 Stanley Cups
  2. Some waiver rules (a 2-way contract means you can be sent up and down without hitting waivers).
  3. Leafs fans need to be more like Habs' fans and stop attending games when they are doing poorly. That way MLSE will get a hit to their wallet and actually put a good product on the ice.  Right now they don't care, because they make money either way!

Read on past the jump for the truths behind these misconceptions.

Ottawa Senators and their Stanley Cups

The first thing that needs to be decided here is whether the current Ottawa Senators can claim ownership of the wins of the previous Ottawa Senators.  The first iteration of the Ottawa Senators played in Ottawa until 1934, then was relocated to St. Louis as the St. Louis Eagles in the NHL and was folded after one season.  The current Ottawa Senators were formed in 1992 as an expansion team, which included an expansion draft (they drafted players from other organizations to fill out their roster and system).

It could be argued that the true continuity of the team is in St. Louis, after all that is where the team ended.  To look into the continuity I would suggest looking at two teams: The Minnesota North Stars and Colorado Rockies.  Both teams relocated from their old home city to a new one and have since had new teams reopen in their original city.  However when looking at success, accolades, or even just the continuity of the franchise things done by the North Stars and Rockies are generally considered as part of the Stars and Devils (the new teams) history, not as part of the the Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche team histories.  To be fair, those franchise (Devils and Stars) are still in existence so claiming connectivity with them may be more difficult.  One may also try to argue that unlike the Wild and Avalanche, the Senators decided to use the same name as the previous Ottawa team: if that is your claim however you definitely cannot claim they deserve credit for many of the old cups (as you will see soon).

Another comparison would be the Toronto Hockey Club, Montreal Wanderers, Montreal Maroons, Vancouver Millionaires, etc who all won Stanley Cups and are in cities that now have NHL teams, yet none of these current teams try to claim continuity with them (Note: in 2010 (after decades of existence) the Vancouver Canucks purchased the rights to the logo and trademarks of the Vancouver Millionaires for marketing and retail purposes).  The Montreal Maroons even won an NHL Stanley Cup (this will be explained later).

Finally, neither the NHL nor the current Ottawa senators even claim that the current Ottawa Senators has continuity with the original Ottawa Senators (aka Ottawa HC).  From the 2010 NHL Media Guide:

The original Senators (also known as the Ottawa Hockey Club) organization won eleven Stanley Cups, not the current organization founded in 1990. Neither the NHL or the Senators claim the current Senators to be a continuation of the original organization or franchise. The awards, statistics and championships of both eras are kept separate and the NHL franchise founding date of the current Senators is in 1991.

While I don't think they deserve the right to claim continuity with a defunct franchise that happened to play in the same city over half a century previously (due to no continuity between the organization), some people do think they have this right so I will address these cup wins the old franchise had with two arguments:

Name of the Franchise

First off: the name Ottawa Senators.  The team was originally known as Ottawa Hockey Club, then Ottawa Silver Sevens (the name of SB Nation Sens site) and not the Senators.  In fact in 1908/1909 there was an actual Ottawa Senators team.  According to the first four Stanley Cup "wins" of the franchise in1903, 1904, 1905, and 1906 were as the Ottawa Silver Sevens.  It was only from 1909 and on (the other 7 cup "wins") that they won as the Ottawa Senators.  Personally, I think this argument is actually silly and I am only presenting it for people who think that by calling the team the Senators they can claim ownership of the cups won by this club.

Note I do realize that this would mean the Leafs can't include their 2 cups won as the Arenas and St. Pats.  Its a silly argument, as I said.

How and When the Cup was Won (the REAL argument)

There are two dates that can be considered the start of the modern era for winning the Stanley Cup: 1915 and 1927.

1915: The End of the Challenger Era

Until 1915, the Stanley cup was won in an odd fashion.  Different teams would represent their leagues (based on regular season standings) in Challanger games.  One team would be the interim champion and then have to defend the cup from challengers.  The team that had the Cup at the end of the year was considered the "Champion".  Further, there was some confusion added, because if a team was in the same league as the current champion had a better record, than they would inherit the Cup.  From modern outlooks on championships it was quite an odd way to do it, with no playoff structure and odd rules (like the one previously mentioned) that resulted in some confusion.  An example of which is that there is much modern debate about whether any Ottawa franchise was the Champion in the 1906 and 1910 seasons.  In fact, the current Ottawa Senators didn't even acknowledge those Cups as Senators' Cups until 2003.

In 1915 The Challenger era ended and was replaced by a system where the champions of a few leagues (the leagues involved changed over the following 12 year period with the leagues changing) would compete at the end of the year for the Stanley Cup championship.  As the NHL came into existence in 1917--and this format of playing for the Cup at the end of the year is similar to the current one--it can be argued that only cups from this period forward should be included.

1927: Stanley Cup Becomes the Exclusive Award of the NHL

To me this is really the date that should be used, as it was from this date that the Stanley Cup came to be what we know it as today: the NHL Champion's award.  From 1927 through to the present the NHL season has culminated with NHL teams playing for the Stanely Cup.

What these dates mean

Personally I think the adoption of the Stanley Cup as the NHL's award should be the cut off, but there are arguments to be made for both. Thus here is the number of cups that Toronto, "Ottawa", and Montreal can claim to have won with the different cut offs:


Number of Cups Won by the Team with this Cut Off

Cut Off Date Used












*Note the Montreal Maroons also won 2 cups (one between 1915-1927 and one after 1927), which by Senator's fans arguments could belong to the Canadiens.

So in conclusion, I would argue that the current Ottawa Senators can claim ownership over NONE of the previous Senators' Stanley Cups (as the NHL and Ottawa Senators agree).  But to those too stubborn to accept the current team has no connection to the previous team, I would argue they really can only claim one Stanley Cup as their own or maybe four.  Definitely NOT 11.


Waiver Rules

For a general overview of waiver rules please consider checking out clrkaitken's wonderful fanpost on waivers.    
Unlike clrkaitken's indepth fan post I am going to just make a quick list of simple facts about waivers:

  1. (The big misconception) A two-way contract means a player can be sent back and forth between the NHL and AHL without going on waivers.
    This is false.  All the two-way contract means is that the player makes a different salary playing in the NHL vs AHL.  Its often used for young players (mandatory on entry level contracts) and depth players who are sent down and called up.  (Note there is one exception to this rule.  Its pretty minor and doesn't occur that often, but if you are curious I explain it at the end of the waiver rules section**)
    (Author's addition: This fallacy probably arises from EA Sports erroneous use of one-way versus two-way contracts in this format.)

  2. How waiver eligibility and ineligibility are determined.
    They are determined based on a mix of games played and age.  For the most part it can be determined by the following chart (from Cap Geek's FAQ).  Once a player has met one of the following criteria he is no longer waiver ineligible:
    AGE (when signing first contract) Years from signing first NHL contract NHL games played Years from signing first NHL contract NHL games played
    18 6 80 5 160
    19 5 80 4 160
    20 4 80 3 160
    21 4 60 3 80
    22 4 60 3 70
    23 3 60 3 60
    24 2 60 2 60
    25+ 1   1  
  3. (Misconception) If a player is an RFA they are waiver ineligible.
    This is another blatant falsehood.  RFA and UFA status have no connection to waiver eligibility.

**If a player on a two-way contract makes less than $105 000 while playing in the minors then they are not eligible for reentry waivers (note that they are still eligible for waivers).


Habs Fans Don't Watch the Habs When they Lose, But Leafs Fans Do

There are two parts of this misconception that annoy me.  The first is that Habs fans don't watch there team when losing (because its false), and the second is that MLSE hasn't been motivated to spend money towards a winner, because they make money anyway (which is also false).

Habs Fans Buy Tickets When the Habs Suck

For this I will link you to a wonderful article by PPP, titled A Montreal Myth Revisited.  I don't have anything to add and I highly suggest you go read his piece but here is a a chart he made and a quick summary:



As you can see in the years that Montreal did not qualify for the playoffs they had a similar attendance (as measured by % capacity) as in the years they made the playoffs, which is the same as the Leafs.

MLSE Spends a Tonne of Money on the Leafs to Try to Build a Champion

Some like to claim that MLSE has no motivation to spend money towards building a champion because they already do so well in ticket sales.  While there is some logic to this argument, there is one major problem: reality doesn't follow it, the Leafs spend a lot of money:

I have just shown that the Leafs spend a lot of money to build a contender.  They spend the max they can on players and then spend large amounts of money on areas that are not capped.  The claim that they do not spend money because they aren't motivated to spend, due to mindless fans, is simply false. is a fan community that allows members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Toronto Maple Leafs and hockey in general. These views and thoughts may not be shared by the editor of

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