The year was 1993. Bill Clinton was the new guy in the White House. Jurassic Park was the big blockbuster in theaters. The Buffalo Bills had only lost three Super Bowls in a row.
It was also the year the Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup, something no team from Canada has accomplished since.
It’s a remarkable streak of futility, really. Twenty champions have hoisted the Cup since the Habs defeated Wayne Gretzky and the Kings, all of them from the United States. Five times a Canadian team reached the final, only to fall short. Four times a Canadian team lost in Game 7. The Vancouver Canucks did that twice.
Hence, the excitement up north that five Canadian teams — the Canadiens, Senators, Jets, Flames and Canucks — have qualified for the playoffs in 2015. Only the Maple Leafs and Oilers failed in that regard.
So, could this be the year that Canada’s slump ends?
Short answer: Probably not.
Longer answer: But there’s a chance!
At the very least, two Canadian teams are guaranteed to advance to the second round, since the Habs meet the Senators in the first round and the Canucks face the Flames. The Jets, meanwhile, are a popular pick to upset the Ducks. And if that were to happen, at least one Canadian team would be guaranteed to make the final four, since the winner of the Jets-Ducks series will meet the winner of Canucks-Flames.
So…of the five, who’s got the best chance?
Well, Vancouver and Calgary have to be considered long shots. No disrespect to either, but it would be a Cinderella story if the Canucks or Flames won four straight playoff series.
But the Jets, big and talented and with their crazed fans behind them, could do it.
And the Senators are on a 23-3-3 roll, so you can’t count them out.
And the Canadiens have Carey Price.
Look, chances are, it’ll be an American team that hoists the Stanley Cup…again. Not only are there 11 of those versus just five from Canada, of those 11, the majority, if not all of them, are fully capable of winning it all.
But let’s have a vote anyway…