Around the League – Playoff Edition – Wk 6

The Chicago Blackhawks haven’t won the Stanley Cup in 49 years. Since they last hoisted the “toughest trophy in sports to win” they’ve lost in the Finals five times: 1962, 1965, 1971, 1973 and 1992. They made the playoffs 28 consecutive years from 1970 to 1997, so it’s not like they were awful, but hockey’s holy grail hasn’t come close to the Windy City for a long time.

After their 28 year-run they stunk, missing the playoffs nine of ten years until finally getting back to the dance last season. And lots has changed in the world since the Hawks last drank from Lord Stanley’s Cup; Brownlee is the only person who reads, writes or posts on the Nation that was alive in 1961.

1967: The ATM was invented I remember when they only had ATM’s at banks. 1969: Air Hockey debuted, although it didn’t get big until the mid-1970s. The most astonishing fact about air hockey is that is played competitively in the USA, Spain, Russia and parts of the Czech Republic, but it isn’t that big in Canada. How do Canadians not dominate at this game?

1972: Pong, one of, if not the greatest Atari game ever, was the brainchild of Ralph Baer.

1974: Rubik’s cube became the frustration of many youngsters. Wanye has yet to figure it out, and he even tried peeling off the stickers and re-applying them to no avail.

1982: Barry Bonds’ favourite year, as Human Growth Hormone was genetically engineered. Who knows how small his head would be today if HGH was never invented?

1983 The first Cabbage Patch Kid doll was sold. Easily the ugliest doll in history, and one of the most dangerous toys ever made. The heads on those dolls was hard as a rock, and when your sister hit you with it, it stung.

January 24th, 1984 the day that changed the world as the Apple MacIntosh 128K was unveiled. Brownlee was 43 and he told me he lined up for hours outside the SAAN store waiting to buy one. Unfortunately SAAN didn’t carry them, and he left with three pairs of corduroy slacks instead.

1988: Gretzky got traded and digital cell phones entered society. They didn’t become popular in Canada for many years, but those big bulky grey phones were a hit for the first users. (Adam can you get a pic of an old CELL PHONE here?

1990: Tim Berners-Lee, Bingofuel’s hero, invented the World Wide Web. He had lots of help of course, but he was the leader and is the reason we are here at the NATION today. God bless you Timmy….

There have been many more changes: The collapse of the Berlin Wall, Seinfeld, The Vietnam War, Viagra, a Canadian team winning the World Series, and much more since the city of Chicago had a parade for their hockey team. If they don’t win it this year, I wonder what else we will discover before they win again.

While many feel the Hawks will crush the Flyers, history shows the fans of Chicago aren’t privy to witnessing many championships.


Below is an explanation of the supposed Goat Curse of the Chicago Cubs, courtesy of Wikipedia.

“The Billy Goat curse was supposedly placed on the Cubs in 1945 when Billy Goat Tavern owner Billy Sianis was asked to leave a World Series game at the Cubs’ home ground of Wrigley Field because his pet goat’s odor was bothering other fans. He was outraged and declared, "Them Cubs, they aren’t gonna win no more," which has been interpreted to mean that there would never be another World Series game won at Wrigley Field.”

The best part about this supposed curse is that the Cubs and their fans believe it is true and they’ve tried some hilarious stunts to try and break it.

“Sam Sianis, nephew of Billy Sianis, has been brought out onto Wrigley Field with a goat multiple times in attempts to break the curse: on Opening Day in 1984 and 1989 (in both years, the Cubs went on to win their division), in 1994 to stop a home losing streak, and in 1998 for the wild card play-in game (which the Cubs won).”

“In 2003, a group of Cubs fans headed to Houston with a billy goat named "Virgil Homer" and attempted to gain entrance to Minute Maid Park, home of their division rivals the Astros. After they were denied entrance, they unfurled a scroll, read a verse and proclaimed they were "reversing the curse". The Cubs won the division that year and then came within five outs of playing in the World Series but were undone by the Florida Marlins’ eight-run rally, and possibly the Steve Bartman incident; they then lost the following game and with it the series (the Marlins went on to win the World Series against the New York Yankees.) Further salting the wound, the Astros earned their first World Series birth two years later.”

“In another bizarre twist, it was reported that a butchered goat was hung from the Harry Caray statue on October 3, 2007, to which The Chicago Sun-Times noted: "If the prankster intended to reverse the supposed billy goat curse with the stunt, it doesn’t appear to have worked."[4] While the Cubs did win the NL Central Division title in 2007 and 2008, they were swept in the first round of the playoffs in both years: by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2007 and the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2008. The elimination by Arizona came on October 6, the same date that the goat appeared at Wrigley Field in 1945.

The act was repeated before the home opener in 2009, this time a goat’s butchered head being hung from the statue. The act was futile as the Cubs were eliminated from postseason contention on September 26, 2009.”

They actually butchered a goat’s head; Twice. Pure comedy.

The Cubs haven’t won since they won back-to-back World Series in 1907 and 1908. They haven’t won in 101 years; even Brownlee hasn’t seen them win. The Cubs haven’t been to the World Series since 1945, and had they won, they still would hold the longest World Series drought. The Cleveland Indians have the second longest losing streak, having won last in 1948.

The White Sox went 88 years between Championships: 1917 to 2005.

The Chicago Bears have one Championship since 1963; in 1986 Jim McMahon and company shuffled their way to their only Super Bowl title.

The Bulls are the only exception to the losing ways of Chicago, winning six titles in the 1990s.

These five teams have played a combined 435 seasons and have a total of 23 championships. Bears have nine, Bulls six, Hawks and White Sox three and the Cubs have two. Winning hasn’t come easy in Chicago and if the Hawks win you know that city will go nuts.

But it’s not like Philadelphia is a Mecca of success either

The Flyers have two championships in 42 years, and they came back-to-back in 1974 and 1975.

The Eagles have three league titles in 77 seasons and haven’t won a championship since 1960, when they became the only team to defeat Vince Lombardi and his Green Bay packers in the playoffs. Since 1960, the Eagles have lost in the Championship game twice, 1980 and 2004.

The 76ers have three championships since entering the NBA in 1949, but haven’t won since Doctor J (Julius Erving) and Moses Malone took home the Championship in 1983.

The Phillies are the oldest continuous, one-name, one-city franchise in all of professional American sports, dating back to 1883. But they only have two championships in 127 seasons, winning in 1980 and in 2008. The Phillies are currently the toast of the town with consecutive World Series appearances, but you wonder what a Stanley Cup would do for one of America’s most blue-collar cities.


I’m not sure if Transformers really needs a third edition, but up until today I was annoyed that Megan Fox wasn’t going to be in it. Fox won’t be back, but according to reports Rosie Huntington-Whitely could be replacing her. Not a bad choice. You decide which one you’d prefer.


  • Most think the Hawks will dominate the Flyers, but I don’t see that happening. One trend is going to end this year:  Either “The Marian Hossa curse” or “Cinderella can’t finish” will cease after this year. Hossa has lost two consecutive finals, while we’ve seen seven surprise teams make it to the Cup final the last 14 times, only to see all six of them lose. (Florida 1996, Washington 1998, Carolina 2002, Anaheim 2003, Calgary 2004, Edmonton 2006 and Philly this year). Something has to give and I’ll go with the Flyers in seven completing the Cinderella post-season.
  • I keep hearing one of the biggest steals at the upcoming draft could be Finnish forward, Mikael Granlund. Granlund’s best asset is his hockey sense, and one guy who loves him is Kyle Woodlief from the Red Line Report It’s hard to call a player a steal if he goes in the top-five, but Woodlief is the only guy who has him rated this high.
  • Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, Gilbert Brule and the Canucks Mason Raymond are all RFAs. Who deserves the biggest contract? Keep in mind only Brule has arbitration rights. Here’s a quick comparison of the four players.

    Cogliano: 246 GP; 46 G; 65 A; 111 PTS
    Gagner: 223 GP; 44 G; 87 A; 131 PTS
    Brule: 222 GP; 31 G; 41 A; 72 PTS
    Raymond: 203 GP; 45 G; 52 A; 97 PTS

    Raymond is coming off a 25-goal, 53-point season, Gagner and Cogliano had their lowest point totals while Brule set a career high with 17 goals and 37 points. The Oilers can’t over-pay any of their players and with Raymond being the only offensive RFA in Vancouver I bet he gets the most money.

  • I wonder if the Oilers will be a bit gun shy with their young players, and not hand out a three-year deal like they gave Robert Nilsson two summers ago?
  • If I’m the Flames I trade Jarome Iginla to try and re-stock the organization with youth. If Iginla truly wants to win, I don’t see how he feels he can do it in Calgary. It won’t be the most popular move for Darryl Sutter to make, but I think it’s the right one.