I asked Greg Bauch how many the Stanley Cups the Toronto Maple Leafs have won. He looked it up, and he says it's 13. He told me that they haven't won one since 1967, which I knew.
Then I asked him, OK, what should the number really be? You know, all of their Cups came with only five other teams in the league. It's kind of like winning your division now.
Disappointingly, Greg said the number should be 13. "Because that's how many times they've actually won it," he said. Or some garbage like that.
If the Sabres ever win one, no doubt there will be Maple Leafs fans waiting by the door to tell us what the new count is: 13-1. These people probably will be between 15-23 years old, because people who say stuff like that always are. Surely they'd be experts on George Armstrong's teams.
I told Greg that we should start handing out a trophy each time we play The Settlers of Catan with our wives, and start listing the winners. Then after we play 100 times or so, we invite some new people to join our regular group. After another 100 games maybe the scoreboard would look like this:
My wife (Montreal Canadiens) -- 114 wins
Greg's wife (Toronto Maple Leafs) -- 67 wins
Me (Boston Bruins) -- 6 wins
Greg (New York Rangers) -- 1 win
New people, combined (Anaheim, Pittsburgh, etc.) -- 11 wins
No winner (lockout/strike) -- 1 time
To say the Leafs have 13 Cups is misleading, is it not? Give the Sabres a 50-year head start next time and we'll see if they still have a bagel.
So how many championships have the Bills won? Is it none? Is it two? Is it some other number? I'll ask Greg. ... Greg says the Bills have won "two AFL championships". Since when is Greg ("you can't be 100 percent sure of anything") Bauch so literal?
The Bills beat out seven other AFL teams to win their two titles. Now, they have 31 competitors. Say then that it was 4.4 times easier to win AFL titles than it is to win the Super Bowl now. Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs beat out five other NHL teams to win their 13 Cups. Now it's 29 more. Almost six times easier then than now.
What are we going to do with this? If the Leafs' Cups count, then the Bills' titles count. Give the Cleveland Browns some love -- they've won eight championships. What about major-league baseball pennant winners that lose the World Series, like the 1995 and '97 Indians? They're beating out more than a dozen teams to get there. Shouldn't that count too? The Sabres had best get some winning in before the NHL comes along and expands into Europe, making it tougher still.
For the Boston Bruins, last night's was their sixth Stanley Cup title. Their first came before the Great Depression, but whatever.