Once again in 2015, it will be an American market that’s celebrating when the Stanley Cup is awarded. Not since 1993, when the Montreal Canadiens defeated Wayne Gretzky’s Los Angeles Kings, has the Cup been won by a team north of the border.
It’s a remarkable streak, really. That a Canadian team has been to the final five times — and lost four times in Game 7 — only adds to it. The Canucks (twice), Flames, Oilers, and Senators have all played for the Cup since 1993.
The fact the Toronto Maple Leafs, the richest team in the NHL, haven’t won a playoff series in over a decade is pretty incredible too. Even in the salary-cap age, there’s a major advantage to having deep pockets.
Then again, these things go in cycles. Remember that Canadian teams owned the Stanley Cup from 1984-90, when the Oilers, Flames, and Canadiens combined to win seven straight titles. And before that, from 1956-79, it was the Habs or Leafs who won the Cup in 19 out of 24 seasons. Only a four-year run by the Islanders broke those two stretches up.
Two goals by Evgeni Malkin and one by Vladimir Tarasenko helped Russia to a 5-3 victory over Sweden today at the world hockey championship in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
The result sets up a semifinal between Russia and the United States on Saturday in Prague.
Russia is expected to have Alex Ovechkin in the lineup against the Americans, who defeated Switzerland today.
Canada, after hammering Belarus, will face the Czechs in the other semifinal on Saturday. The hosts got a late goal from Jaromir Jagr to help them defeat the Finns, 5-3, today.
The gold-medal game goes Sunday in Prague.
Russia is the defending gold-medal winner at the worlds. The United States was last crowned world champion in 1960, at the Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley.
The Vancouver Canucks have signed defenseman Jordan Subban.
Today’s announcement comes after a somewhat prolonged contract negotiation for the 20-year-old fourth-round pick of the Canucks in 2013.
If Subban had gone unsigned by June 1, he would’ve been able to re-enter the draft. But the Canucks maintained all along that they’d be able to get a deal done.
Subban, brother to P.K. and Malcolm, is an undersized but dynamic defenseman who led OHL Belleville in goals (25) and points (52) this season.
Related: P.K. Subban thinks brother Jordan will be ‘the best of all of us’
Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk “has been sick and battling major health issues since mid-January,” the club announced today.
From the release:
Mr. Melnyk was admitted to hospital three weeks ago as a result of the onset of liver-related complications. He has undergone a comprehensive medical assessment and it has been determined that Mr. Melnyk is in urgent need of a liver transplant.
Mr. Melnyk’s family has actively reached out to his close friends and broader family with the hope of identifying someone who could be a “live liver donor”. This process involves the removal of a portion of the living donor’s liver so it can be transplanted into the recipient patient.
Unfortunately, a suitable donor has not yet been located. Hence, today’s appeal to “any members of the public who may be interested in being a live liver donor.”
It was less than a year ago that the Senators announced that GM Bryan Murray had been diagnosed with cancer.
In April, assistant coach Mark Reeds passed away from cancer.
The latest Stanley Cup odds, courtesy online bookmaker Bovada:
New York Rangers — 2/1
Chicago Blackhawks — 11/5
Anaheim Ducks — 12/5
Tampa Bay Lightning — 19/4
Now, there’s always some smart guy who mentions it in the comments section, so we might as well beat him to the punch:
No, the odds aren’t always exactly what the oddsmakers believe to be 100-percent true. In this case, there’s possibly been a slight adjustment based on the size of New York’s fan base compared to, say, Tampa Bay’s. Generally, people like to bet on their favorite teams, and an Original Six team like the Rangers, in a big city like New York, has a lot of fans.
Then again, maybe Tampa Bay’s the long shot of the four because the oddsmakers just don’t think the Lightning have been very good in the playoffs. (Which they really haven’t been.)
Anyway, here are the Conn Smythe Trophy favorites:
Henrik Lundqvist — 4/1
Patrick Kane — 17/2
Corey Perry — 9/1
Jonathan Toews — 19/2