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The 7 - Hockey - The NHL's Most Futile Franchise?
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#1 Posted on 10.6.04 1417.55
Reposted on: 10.6.11 1419.06
As we wind down after another interesting season of hockey, I got to thinking - What is the most futile franchise in the NHL? Well, as I reviewed each team's successes and failures, I sadly came to this conclusion:

The Winnipeg Jets/Phoenix Coyotes franchise is the worst franchise in the NHL.

Yes, as a Jets fan from way back, this is a disheartening thought. But let's take a look at the facts (keep in mind, my frame of reference is the past 24-25 years):

- The Jets/Coyotes as an NHL franchise has been in existence since 1979. While the team was pretty damn good in the WHA, it quickly turned into a joke upon entry into the NHL.

- In 1980/81, the Jets won a mere 9 games all season, finishing last overall with a paltry 32 points. A huge turnaround the next season ended in an exit from the playoffs in the first round.

- In fact, the Jets/Coyotes have advanced to the second round a toal of TWO TIMES, and have failed to win a game in either of their second round series.

- Arguably, the most memorable moment in franchise history came when Dave Ellett scored a huge double OT goal in game four of the 1990 quarterfinal against the Oilers. The Jets took a commanding 3-1 lead in the series, then lost the next three games and were knocked out. There have been a few other instances of blow 3-1 series leads, one involving the Coyotes dropping three straight to Anaheim in 1997.

Now, before we start the discussion, let's take a look at some other teams and the pinnacles they have reached in the past 25 years:

Anaheim Mighty Ducks: Stanley Cup Finalists (2003)

Atlanta Thrashers: Too early to gauge

Boston Bruins: Stanley Cup Finalist (1988, 1990)

Buffalo Sabres: Stanley Cup Finalists (1999)

Calgary Flames: 1 Stanley Cup (1989), two appearances in Cup final (1986, 2004)

Carolina Hurricanes/Hartford Whalers: Stanley Cup Finalists (2002). Even the Whalers went to the second round a couple times and won some games!

Chicago Blackhawks: Stanley Cup Finalists (1992)

Colorado Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques: 2 Stanley Cups (1996, 2001). The Nordiques went to the Conference Finals a couple of times, too.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Too early to gauge

Dallas Stars/Minnesota North Stars: 1 Stanley Cup (1999), North Stars went to Cup Finals twice (1981, 1991).

Detroit Red Wings: 3 Stanley Cups (1997, 1998, 2002)

Edmonton Oilers: 5 Stanley Cups (1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990)

Florida Panthers: Stanley Cup Finalist (1996)

Los Angeles Kings: Stanley Cup Finalist (1993)

Minnesota Wild: Too early to gauge, though team went to Conference Finals in 2003.

Montreal Canadiens: 2 Stanley Cups (1986, 1993)

Nashville Predators: Too early to gauge

New Jersey Devils/Colorado Rockies/Kansas City Scouts: 3 Stanley Cups (1995, 2000, 2003).

New York Islanders: 4 Stanley Cups (1980, 1981, 1982, 1983).

New York Rangers: 1 Stanley Cup (1994)

Ottawa Senators: 1 Conference Finals appearance (2003)

Philadelphia Flyers: 4 time Stanley Cup Finalist (1980, 1985, 1987, 1997)

Pittsburgh Penguins: 2 Stanley Cups (1991, 1992)

San Jose Sharks: Conference Finals appearance (2004)

St. Louis Blues: Conference Finalists (2001), 24 straight years of playoff appearances.

Tampa Bay Lightning: 1 Stanley Cup (2004)

Toronto Maple Leafs: Conference Finalists (1993, 1994, 1999, 2002)

Vancouver Canucks: Stanley Cup Finalists (1982, 1994)

Washington Capitals: Stanley Cup Finalists (1998)

Whew! I think that sums up what I'm trying to get at . . . Any thoughts?
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#2 Posted on 10.6.04 1430.01
Reposted on: 10.6.11 1433.10
As a New York Rangers fan, let me toss this into the mix -


that is futility to me
Lap cheong
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#3 Posted on 10.6.04 1439.44
Reposted on: 10.6.11 1439.50
    Originally posted by dunkndollaz
    As a New York Rangers fan, let me toss this into the mix -


    that is futility to me

Yeah, if you've got that kind of money in a market where everyone wants to play and you can't make the playoffs, you deserve to be contracted. Sorry.

It's tough to disagree with that assessment of the Coyotes. Probably as important as the fact that they have never achieved anything is the fact that they don't seem to be making any progress either. Doan and Nagy had great seasons, and Langkow is a solid player, but that team is going nowhere. Assuming there's an 04/05 season, is there any reason to think they'll do better? Not really. Gretzky may have been a magician on the ice but he's going to need more than whatever awesome hockey powers he possesses to turn that team around.

I say just wait until the Penguins move to Winnipeg and merge the Coyotes into solve the 'too many teams' problem at the same time.
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#4 Posted on 13.6.04 1740.29
Reposted on: 13.6.11 1740.38
I think the Coyotes are futile, but you can't forget about the Chicago Blackhawks.

Unless I'm mistaken, the team doesn't even have a local TV outlet anymore. The owner, Bill Wirtz, says that Stanley Cups are too expensive, and he basically doesn't care what the team does on the ice, as long as he's making money (and I don't even think they make any money). There are websites and books out there that talk about how evil he is. I used to love the Blackhawks (partly because of their unstoppability in the early EA NHL Hockey video games), and I have friends in Chicago who have given up on the team.

Sure, the Coyotes/Jets stink, but they've always stunk. The Blackhawks have a long history, and were once pretty elite. It's much worse when you have to long for the good old days.
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#5 Posted on 13.6.04 1805.24
Reposted on: 13.6.11 1805.45
The Hawks are a disgrace and embarassment to the entire game of hockey. That was one of the hottest hockey markets in the whole game. You'd always pay attention to what Chicago was doing or when they were playing. At least with the New York Rangers, they actually spend money and try to get a good team even if they fail at it. The Hawks threw in the towel years ago.

If I were Gary Bettman, I'd try to get the owners to buyout the Wirtz family and sell the Hawks to someone who will do something with the team.

The NHL needs a strong Chicago team. Not this joke.
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#6 Posted on 13.6.04 1808.52
Reposted on: 13.6.11 1809.01
The Bruins have escaped the first round of the playoffs once in the past 12 seasons (and even that was against the Carolina Whalers). They are slowly closing in on the Rangers 54 years without a cup (only 22 to go, and the lockout/strike should take care of half of those years).
The Goon
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#7 Posted on 13.6.04 1954.11
Reposted on: 13.6.11 1954.31
Well, the Hawks eclipse the Bruins' futility in winning a cup. If memory serves me correct(not that I'm that old), the Hawks last won in 1960, so they are 44 seasons and counting.

The Maple Leafs haven't won in 37 years-however, they can put 6 monkeys on the ice and the place would still sell out. Exhibit A: The Leafs in the 1980s.
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#8 Posted on 13.6.04 2034.58
Reposted on: 13.6.11 2035.32
Franchise Appearances In the Finals (Since 1927):

Atlanta Thrashers: Never.
Anaheim Mighty Ducks: 1 [Last in 2003]
Boston Bruins: 17 [Last in 1990]
Buffalo Sabres: 2 [Last in 1999]
Atlanta/Calgary Flames: 3 [Last in 2004]
Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes: 1 [Last in 2002]
Chicago Blackhawks: 10 [Last in 1992]
Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche: 2 [Last in 2001]
Columbus Blue Jackets: Never
Dallas Stars/Minnesota North Stars: 4 [Last in 2000]
Detroit Cougars/Falcons/Red Wings: 22 [Last in 2002]
Edmonton Oilers: 6 [Last in 1990]
Florida Panthers: 1 [Last in 1996]
Los Angeles Kings: 1 [Last in 1993]
Minnesota Wild: Never
Montreal Canadiens: 29 [Last in 1993]
Nashville Predators: Never
Kansas City Scouts/Colorado Rockies/New Jersey Devils: 4 [Last in 2003]
New York Islanders: 1984,1983,1982,1981,1980
New York Rangers: 10[Last in 1994]
Ottawa Senators 2.0: Never
Philadelphia Flyers: 7 [Last in 1997]
Winnipeg Jets/Phoenix Coyotes: Never
Pittsburgh Penguins: 2 [Last in 1992]
San Jose Sharks: Never
St. Louis Blues: 3 [Last in 1970]
Tampa Bay Lightning: 1 [Last in 2004]
Toronto Maple Leafs/St. Pats: 19 [Last in 1967]
Vancouver Canucks: 2 [Last in 1994]
Washington Capitals: 1 [Last in 1998]

Oakland Seals/California Golden Seals: Never
Cleveland Barons: Never
Montreal Maroons: 2 [Last in 1928]
New York/Brooklyn Americans: Never
Ottawa Senators/St. Louis Eagles: 1 [Last in 1927]
Pittsburgh Pirates/Philadelphia Quakers: Never

No Original Six team can be considered futile, so they're out. Any team with a Finals appearance is out, too. That leaves the Jets/Coyotes, Sharks, Senators V2, Predators, Wild, Blue Jackets and Thrashers. It's a dead heat between the Sens & the Yotes, but I'd say it's Phoenix since Ottawa's been *that* close to the Finals.
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#9 Posted on 13.6.04 2350.05
Reposted on: 13.6.11 2350.40
    Originally posted by The Goon
    Well, the Hawks eclipse the Bruins' futility in winning a cup. If memory serves me correct(not that I'm that old), the Hawks last won in 1960, so they are 44 seasons and counting.

Last Cup Victory (years ago, in ascending order)
(For those teams that have won the Cup, with a nod to Freeway420):

Tampa Bay Lightning: 2004 (This last season)
Kansas City Scouts/Colorado Rockies/New Jersey Devils: 2003 (1 year ago)
Detroit Cougars/Falcons/Red Wings: 2002 (2 years)
Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche: 2001 (3 years)
Dallas Stars/Minnesota North Stars: 1999 (As the Dallas Stars, 5 years)
New York Rangers: 1994 (10 years ago)
Montreal Canadiens: 1993 (11 years)
Pittsburgh Penguins: 1992 (12 years ago)
Edmonton Oilers: 1990 (14 years)
Atlanta/Calgary Flames: 1989 (15 years)
New York Islanders: 1980 to 1983 (21 years)
Philadelphia Flyers: 1975 (29 years ago)
Boston Bruins: 1972 (32 years)
Toronto Maple Leafs/St. Pats: 1967 (37 years ago)
Chicago Blackhawks: 1961 (43 years)

(edited by Zeruel on 14.6.04 0050)

Eeeep. Missed that one...thanks Padre!

(edited by Zeruel on 14.6.04 0935)

(edited by Zeruel on 17.6.04 2315)
Reverend J Shaft
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#10 Posted on 14.6.04 0807.24
Reposted on: 14.6.11 0807.34
    Originally posted by Zeruel
    Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche: 1996 (8 years)

That would actually be 2001 (3 years) for the Avs. Not that I'm happy about it.
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#11 Posted on 14.6.04 1439.18
Reposted on: 14.6.11 1439.32
For me, the key fact is that neither the Jets or Coyotes have ever won A GAME in the second round.

I'm not saying that the 'Hawks aren't disappointing, but at least they've been to the Cup Final and a couple of Conference finals in the past 25 years.
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#12 Posted on 17.6.04 1332.43
Reposted on: 17.6.11 1332.56
I have to go with Chicago, they had such a strong fan base, an original 6 team, and a very good identity in the 90s with guys like Chelios, Roenick, Savard and Belfour. Gawd I hated my favorite going in the Chicago Stadium back in the old Norris Division days... Management just doesn't seem to care, plus IIRC they are the first team to have a lot of their games on PPV, really lame.
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