Worthy of Lord Stanley

Which fan base deserves it most?

Jeremy White
April 18, 2018 - 5:49 pm

Photo: Stephen R. Sylvanie - USA TODAY Sports

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Lacking a true rooting interest in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, I’m here for the story. I’m here to root for the fans of these teams.

Think back to when the Bills finally broke the drought and around the country… people were happy for Buffalo. You had fans of other teams wanting to join the Bills Mafia, and be a part of the party. With that in mind, I’m here to pay it forward and throw my rooting interests into the most deserving fans so that someone else’s drought comes to an end.

With that, I hereby present to you my list of NHL teams to make the postseason, ranked by how much their fans deserve to see a Stanley Cup.
 

***Warning - You’ll see the bitterness of Buffalo missing the playoffs grow as we go down the list***


1.) Winnipeg - Losing a team is the ultimate pain. Winnipeg getting a pro team back, and replacing Atlanta in the process is a great story. The Jets have a great history - a hockey-crazy market, a history of white-outs in the building. Everything is right with Winnipeg winning. Canada hasn’t held the Stanley Cup since 1993, and if Winnipeg were to get it back, how horrible would that feel for Montreal, and Toronto. I’m all in on the Winnipeg train if they get deep here.

2.) Minnesota - See above. Lost a team in the “State of Hockey”, and it went to DALLAS. And DALLAS WON. Gross. Two appearances in the Cup Final as the North Stars, Minnesota fans deserve one.  

3.) Washington - It’s hard not to make Capitals fans No. 1. The Capitals have been a great team over the past decade and have had some pretty terrible defeats. There’s the Jaroslav Halak / Montreal year where they’re most definitely the better team, and they lose. There’s a series they lose to the Penguins with THREE overtime losses that go off of legs or skates or butts or whatever. The Capitals, and all-time great Alex Ovechkin, deserve to raise the Stanley Cup. They’ve lost so many times in the playoffs that the narratives have run their course entirely. No one even bothers saying “Should they trade Ovechkin?” cause that was like four years ago. Poor Caps fans… 

4.) San Jose - Sharks fans are Washington-west. The Sharks have been good for a while. They’ve had star players in a market where they’re the one pro team. Sure, San Francisco is close by and I’d imagine that plenty of their fans just drift north for their affiliations, but the Shark Tank is cool, the logo is great, and the colors are… well teal. I think the Sharks might be the only teal that works in the sports world. Los Angeles and Anaheim both have Cups while San Jose, perhaps the most hockey credible of the markets, has had to watch. Get one, Sharks.

5.) Nashville - Smashville was the darling of the hockey world all last year, and since Vegas has shown up as the cute newborn, Predators fans are taking a backseat, briefly. They play a wonderful style, and by most accounts, it is as fun a building as there is in the league. P.K. Subban is a ton of fun, and fans that like him should be rewarded. Hockey analysts that roll out tired crap about his “professionalism” should have to dine on him hoisting the Cup.  

6.) Toronto - Hear me out: They haven’t won the Stanley Cup since the league stopped taking turns. The Leafs last won the Cup when there were six teams, and all six of those teams have Cups. It’s been a long time. They're most definitely top-three, but I don't want to give them the satisfaction.


From here there's a HUGE gulf to No. 7.  


7.) Tampa Bay - The Lightning are a tremendously well-run organization with a top-notch owner. Steve Yzerman is the kind of general manager that you want running your team because other general managers are afraid to offer sheet his super-talented players. You want a GM that every other GM wants to be friends with. Tampa is good for the sport, and if they hadn’t already won a Cup, would easily by higher on this list.

8.) Columbus - The Jackets have a good thing going. The cannon is loud and fun. The town has major professional sports in Ohio State football, and Blue Jackets hockey. The arena is great, the Nationwide District is great. It’d be a huge party, and a fan base that’s hung on for very limited success deserves, if nothing else, a deep run into the postseason to fuel that hunger.

9.) New Jersey - The Devils are largely responsible for ruining the sport for about a decade. This time around, they’re a lot more fun, so that’s an improvement. The Devils deserve to win for Taylor Hall.   

10.) Philadelphia - With the Eagles and Villanova currently holding titles, getting the Flyers to raise the Cup would give them a trifecta. It wouldn’t be the best case scenario, but if you hate the Flyers this could be a good thing. Consider that Flyers fans would probably be arguing with OTHER Philly fans about why they should care about the Cup. It’d kinda get lost in the shuffle a bit for the city.  

11.) Colorado - I don't have a lot to say about Avs fans. Nice job going from 48 points to the playoffs. They already won a couple so, dropped on that alone.

12.) Los Angeles - Already eliminated. I’m told they actually do have a pretty good fan base, and their mascot is good.

13.) Anaheim - Because of Gary Bettman’s speech the last time they won it.

14.) Pittsburgh - They picked top-two four years in a row. I live in a city where picking second TWO times, three years ago, is a scourge of the sport and fosters about a fairy tale poisoned room because of it. Allegedly.

15.) Vegas - For many, this is a nice story. For me, it isn’t. Sure, EVERYONE was wrong about how good the Vegas Golden Knights would be this year, but I’m the only idiot that has to hear about flip-flops every time they win a stinking game. They go out and sweep their first round opponent and everyone says “Can you believe it?” Yes. Now I can. The division winner swept a crappy wild card team. I’m happy for you. Get yourself some horrifying losses, and some screw job calls from the officials (as long as it's not an offside challenge because noone deserves that), and maybe we can talk about you deserving a winner.

I also have a hot take on this... I think Vegas winning the Cup would be an absolute embarrassment for the league. I don't mean the take to be extra hot, it's just my feeling. You have an expansion draft and THAT team is just... the best? Would be fitting of how poorly the league comes across, and to me be a huge mark against the NHL. I also hated the Jon Scott All-Star thing most of the way through. So I see the good in the stories, but these jokes only seem to happen to the NHL and I don't think it's necessarily something to be happy about.

16.) Boston - Get out of here Boston. What Boston deserves is to see their teams languish in the hell of mediocrity. Part of me wants to swear here and see if anyone at WGR says anything. It’s far enough down in the article that I might get away with it and Boston definitely deserves it. Oh yeah, and both Pastrnak and Krug should have been offer-sheeted. And Marchand should have been suspended for a year. Boston's window was supposed to close and it didn't. The Sabres were supposed to step in, and they didn't. They're very very good, and it stinks because Boston gets all the nice things.

 

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@JeremyWGR

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