Andrei Markov: The best Habs defenseman since Larry Robinson?
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04-20-2009, 04:00 PM
Join Date: Sep 2008
In the second half of the 1980s, the Canadiens were arguably number two or three after Edmonton and possibly Calgary - then after that was Boston and Philadelphia, Boston effectively replacing Philadelphia as the Canadiens' eastern competition in 1988...
Edmonton then weakened itself significantly with the Gretzky trade and Los Angeles became a minor power... 1990-91 saw the rise of Keenan's Blackhawks and the St. Louis Blues. The Blues then shot themselves in the foot with two bad trades (Oates for Janney and Quintal) and the infamous Courtnall-Ronning-Quinn trade that turned the Canucks into minor contenders (Bure joined them the next year)... The Pittsburgh Penguins then with that trade turned themselves into a power that won two Stanley Cups in a row.
The Flames were a major power that damaged themselves severely with that Gilmour trade, and turned Toronto into possible contenders. Though Edmonton was weakened, it was able to win in 1990 but then traded Messier and Tikkanen to the point where it was no more a threat.
The Red Wings had a good team developing but with a fatal flaw - Tim Cheveldae in the goal.
So 1993 was a time of flux in the state of league powers with new teams appearing to contend and no obvious major powers... though Quebec did have a better record than Montreal their lack of experience and type of play was such that it was not a major upset at all when Montreal defeated it. The only two teams in the east clearly superior to the Canadiens in 1993 was Pittsburgh and Boston, and they missed each of them. In the West, Chicago appeared the strongest, but perhaps Vancouver or Toronto might threaten... but no one clearly powerful and in the end Los Angeles got through. So this state of the league also is a reason why the Canadiens were able to win in 1993 despite not being as good as in the late 1980s.
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