Jump to content

Canada's Stanley Cup Drought Reaches 30 Years


Recommended Posts

Canada's Stanley Cup Drought Reaches 30 Years



Canada's 30-year Stanley Cup drought a surprise to Carbonneau

Captain of 1993 Canadiens weighs in after Oilers' elimination extends skid







At some point in June, a United States-based NHL team will be guzzling Champagne from the Stanley Cup. North of the border, an entire country will again be sipping Canada Dry.


It's been 30 years since a Canadian-based team has won the Stanley Cup … and counting.


"I'm surprised," said Guy Carbonneau, a three-time champion who was captain of the 1993 Montreal Canadiens, the last Canada-based team to capture hockey's holy grail. "If we had only one or two teams in Canada, we might say, 'OK, it's normal.' But we have seven teams."


Any chance the national drought would end this season vanished Sunday like a tumbleweed blowing down a parched road, the Edmonton Oilers knocked out of a six-game Western Conference Second Round by the Vegas Golden Knights.




NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, in his first year on the job, presents the 1993 Stanley Cup to Montreal Canadiens coach Jacques Demers and captain Guy Carbonneau. Paul Bereswill/Hockey Hall of Fame


Earlier, Canada's two other playoff teams were dusted in five games: the Winnipeg Jets in the first round by Vegas and the Toronto Maple Leafs in the second round by the Florida Panthers. The Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames and Ottawa Senators were on the outside, looking in.


"Some of Canada's teams over the years having been really good," Carbonneau said. 


"Look at Edmonton now. I think Winnipeg has been a really good team but has never been able to past the conference final. Toronto, the same thing in recent years. The Canadiens a couple years ago, even if they weren't the best team."


Before that 1993 Canadiens championship, six years was the longest span between Canadian teams winning the Cup -- the 1935 Montreal Maroons and 1942 Maple Leafs bookending two victories each by the Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins and one each by the Chicago Black Hawks and New York Rangers.


The most recent, closest brush to a championship since 1993 came in 2011, the Canucks falling in a seven-game Final to the Bruins. The Canadiens were beaten in a five-game Final in 2021 by the Tampa Bay Lightning.


Three consecutive seasons saw a Canadian team defeated in the Final: 2004, Flames in seven games by the Lightning; 2006, Oilers in seven games to the Carolina Hurricanes; and 2007, Senators in five games to the Anaheim Ducks.


Then there was the 2015-16 season, when for the first time since 1969-70 no Canadian team qualified for the postseason.


Carbonneau won the Stanley Cup with the 1986 and 1993 Canadiens, then the 1999 Dallas Stars. Three times he was voted winner of the Frank J. Selke Trophy (1988, 1989 and 1992) as the NHL's best defensive forward.


The 2019 Hall of Famer was washing the dishes Sunday when he returned to the living room to watch the Oilers host the Golden Knights in Game 6.


"A minute into the game and it's 1-1," he said. "It was the Oilers' most important game of the season and they're scored on 24 seconds into it. And it didn't stop. Vegas could have scored another four goals in the first five minutes. Like… how?


"It's funny. I wish that both Toronto and Edmonton were still playing but I'm not surprised they're out. Neither team has an identity. One day they're the best team in the NHL, the next day they can be the worst. Would I have been surprised had they still been playing? No. There are unbelievable players on both teams, they have enough to go. But I wonder whether they're willing to do the right things."


Carbonneau and defenseman Chris Chelios shared the Canadiens captaincy in 1989-90 upon the retirement of Bob Gainey, who won the Selke Trophy four times consecutively from 1978-81, from the award's introduction. 


The captaincy went to Carbonneau alone in 1989-90, a role he held for four seasons until his August 1994 trade to Dallas. His defining moment was the 1993 Stanley Cup Final against the Los Angeles Kings.




Montreal Canadiens coach Jacques Demers asks Los Angeles Kings center Wayne Gretzky for a souvenir stick after the Canadiens' 1993 Stanley Cup victory. Paul Bereswill/Hockey Hall of Fame


Center Wayne Gretzky had four points in Game 1 (two goals, two assists), a 4-1 Kings win in which The Great One skated circles around Canadiens checking.

"Give me Gretzky," Carbonneau told coach Jacques Demers before Game 2, and Demers did so every chance his line matchups permitted.


In the remaining four games, Gretzky scored three points (one goal, two assists).


"When Jacques agreed, I'm sure he went to see (Canadiens forward) Kirk (Muller)," Carbonneau said. "If Kirk had said, 'No way,' then I don't know what would have happened. But Kirk said, 'No problem if it's best for the team.' And we started to win. That was part of it."


Carbonneau jokes that he doesn't recall what the cloaked Gretzky told him in the handshake line, but the two became good friends. They sat together in Las Vegas for a second-round game between the Golden Knights and Oilers, Vegas outscoring Edmonton 22-19 by series end.


"Even Wayne knows that in the playoffs you need to play good defense," Carbonneau said. "It doesn't matter how many goals you can score. Two-on-ones, breakaways… it's like the goalies weren't getting any help."




Montreal Canadiens forward Kirk Muller in his team's Forum dressing room with the 1993 Stanley Cup. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images


He vividly remembers Demers walking into the Canadiens dressing room before the start of the 1992-93 season, Demers' first behind the bench following the departure to Toronto of Pat Burns.


"That first day, Jacques told us we were going to win the Stanley Cup," Carbonneau recalled. "We weren't laughing but everybody was thinking, 'Who does this guy think he is? It's his first time in the room and he immediately wants us to win the Stanley Cup?' "


General manager Serge Savard fortified the roster before and during the season with the acquisition by trade of forwards Vincent Damphousse, Brian Bellows and Gary Leeman and defenseman Rob Ramage, and then the team caught fire in the playoffs, having won four and lost six in an uneven final 10 regular-season games. 


The Canadiens roared to their 24th Stanley Cup title in franchise history on the brilliance of goaltender Patrick Roy and selfless role-playing contributions up and down the lineup, going 16-4 with an unthinkable 10 consecutive overtime wins.


"That was a very special year for everybody," Carbonneau said. "Every time you win the Stanley Cup, you create a special bond with your teammates. It's such a hard trophy to win. It's pretty amazing what some guys go through, the injuries some play with. For me, winning the Stanley Cup is the ultimate in sports.


"Today's generation of players is different than mine, a bit more individual. It's a battle the coach has every day -- to get everybody to buy in for the good of all."

Thirty years after Canada's most recent Stanley Cup win, Carbonneau ponders a drought that has been extended yet another year.


"People tell me it's been 30 years and I'm kind of laughing," he said. "I never would have thought that after we won in 1993, we'd be talking today about how none of the country's teams have won since."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...
  • 2 months later...
42 minutes ago, mrthink said:

hamilton ontario would be a good city to have a nhl team the rivalries with buffalo toronto ottawa would be a must watch



Toronto refuses to allow Hamilton and Buffalo resists it as well.


There really aren't any other Canadian cities that can support an actual NHL team.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 hours ago, radoran said:

There really aren't any other Canadian cities that can support an actual NHL team.

An ex-member used to tout Toronto ‘burb Markham.  Like Metro New York with 3  teams, why couldn’t Metro Toronto support a ‘mere’ 2 ?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, SaucyJack said:

An ex-member used to tout Toronto ‘burb Markham.  Like Metro New York with 3  teams, why couldn’t Metro Toronto support a ‘mere’ 2 ?




It's not a question of "if" it could. Sure it could.


At the very least, The Leaves aren't allowing anyone else to win a(nother*) Cup before them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...