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Which franchise is the second greatest in NHL history?

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Old
08-10-2013, 08:23 PM
  #1
blueandgoldguy
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Which franchise is the second greatest in NHL history?

It's pretty obvious that the Montreal Canadiens are the greatest franchise in the history of the NHL. Most Stanley Cups with 24, several of which came after expansion - ten. Several players in the top-100 all-time lists, here and elsewhere including legacy players like Richard, Morenz, Plante, Roy, Lafleur, Lalonde, Robinson, Geoffrion, Dryden, Harvey.

Many would say the Leafs are the second greatest franchise of all-time, but I'm not so sure. 13 Stanley Cups yes, but none after expansion. Is it really all that impressive when all your Stanley Cup victories occur in a 6 team league?

Also, when you look at the best players of all-time lists both here and elsewhere, there is a curious lack of Leafs players. It's especially noticeable when you look at the top of those lists. For example, on the HOF boards list, you don't run across a player who played a majority of his career and/or half or more of his best years with the Leafs until #38 Syl Apps. ON the Hockey News List, it's #27 Frank Mahovlich. All other original 6 teams have multiple players ahead of the LEafs players in the rankings too.

Still, the Leafs have their fair share of players in the top-100 players list and 13 Stanley Cups, albeit all in the Original 6 league.

Next candidate, Detroit. This team would have been laughed at 20 years ago but since then they have won 4 cups for a total of 11. Those 4 recent cup wins are in an era of 26 or more teams by the way.

Legacy players to play for this team include Gordie Howe (third best player of all-time), Sawchuk, Kelly (didn't include with Leafs because he wasn't an all-star with them, just good, not great), Fetisov, Lidstrom, Lindsay, Yzerman. On various all-time greatest lists, the Red Wings have a comparable number of players as the Leafs, but more legacy-type players (higher up on the lists).

Next, Edmonton. Short history - only 33 years, but the team has won 5 Stanley Cups with 21 teams in the league. Also they have produced the most dominant offenses in league history.

As for individual players, they produced the greatest player of all-time in Gretzky, a top-20 player of all-time in Messier, top-50 players of all-time (top-70 on the HOF board list) in Kurri and Coffey and arguably a top -100 player in Grant Fuhr. This is truly impressive when you think about it. 5 top players in a thirty year span when there are so many other teams to compete against. And five cups - the most of any team since 1980. Those are the reasons I put the Oilers on the list a potential second best franchise candidate despite them being a relatively "new" team to the NHL.

So, tell me which team is the second best franchise in NHL history and give me your reasons why you think that is the case. Again I'm going with Detroit Red Wings - those post-expansion Stanley Cups and the numerous top-30-50 players that played in Detroit compels me to go with them.

Note: Didn't pick Boston as a candidate. Not enough Stanley Cups total (7) considering their original 6 status and only one Stanley Cup with more than 12 teams in the league. The number of top players (particularly those in the top-30 of all-time) who graced the Gardens made it close though!

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08-10-2013, 08:26 PM
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I would pick Detroit - Cups before World War 2, Cups in the O6 era, Cups in the modern era, legendary players.

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08-10-2013, 08:27 PM
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I would pick Detroit - Cups before World War 2, Cups in the O6 era, Cups in the modern era, legendary players.
Are the cups before WW2 not considered part of the Original 6 era?

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08-10-2013, 08:31 PM
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Are the cups before WW2 not considered part of the Original 6 era?
"Original 6" era is from 1942 - 1967. Before then, there were more than 6 teams.

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08-10-2013, 08:48 PM
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Killion
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"Original 6" era is from 1942 - 1967. Before then, there were more than 6 teams.
Indeed, and prior to 1942 the Ottawa Senators were through the Challenge years & first decade of the NHL the dominant club. Quite the history & level of accomplishments there that are seminal, setting the bar high for what followed.

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08-12-2013, 11:30 PM
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Same for me as Devil Made Me, whom I meant to quote here, but screwed up somehow. The Red Wings' more recent cups make the difference. Now the Wings are almost even with the Leafs in number of Cups won and those Cups are spread over several eras. It's now 46 years since the Leafs won, almost half a century.

Of course it's now 20 years (19 seasons) since the Canadiens won. Only their huge number of Cups keeps them top because their spread is getting poorer and poorer.

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08-12-2013, 11:44 PM
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Wings, followed closely by Toronto.

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08-12-2013, 11:56 PM
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Could it be a fun project to rank all the current (and I suppose defunct?) franchises like how you all do with players? I think that could be an awesome project!

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08-13-2013, 12:10 AM
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Same for me as Devil Made Me, whom I meant to quote here, but screwed up somehow. The Red Wings' more recent cups make the difference. Now the Wings are almost even with the Leafs in number of Cups won and those Cups are spread over several eras. It's now 46 years since the Leafs won, almost half a century.

Of course it's now 20 years (19 seasons) since the Canadiens won. Only their huge number of Cups keeps them top because their spread is getting poorer and poorer.
i think your habs assestment is bit inaccurate. habs have also bred more superstars than any other team (AFAIK, atleast). I think team success is more than just amount of cups and playoff wins, but also how you can keep players throughout their whole career etc.

if a player wants out, i don't think the franchise is "great", unless there's very specific needs

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08-13-2013, 12:17 AM
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Killion
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Originally Posted by Peter9 View Post
Same for me as Devil Made Me, whom I meant to quote here, but screwed up somehow. The Red Wings' more recent cups make the difference. Now the Wings are almost even with the Leafs in number of Cups won and those Cups are spread over several eras. It's now 46 years since the Leafs won, almost half a century.

Of course it's now 20 years (19 seasons) since the Canadiens won. Only their huge number of Cups keeps them top because their spread is getting poorer and poorer.
Well, Im a Leafs fan as and much as it pains me to admit it Im afraid your absolutely correct Peter. I think Detroits performances in the early 50's, 90' & 00's do indeed Eclipse those of the Leafs who's last hurrah was nearly 50 years ago now. Detroit was respectable during the waning years of the Golden era. From about 1970 with the arrival of The Darkness that was Ned Harkness it took them over a decade to recover. However, with the sale of the club to Ilitch, Yzermans arrival, Scotty Bowman, well, the rest as they say is history.

Toronto had Ballard to deal with, a miracle really that they won that Cup in 67, with the wheels falling right off through the late 60's to mid-70's, bit of a burst with Sittler et al in those series against the Islanders but you knew they were goin down regardless; Gilmour & Company early 90's coming the closest, Sundin in the early 00's but certainly still a team on the outside looking in. Really pretty dysfunctional. Generations of fans turned off. It truly is a phenomena that LeafNation is the size that it is, that the franchise despite itself is the wealthiest and most highly valued in the NHL. An absolute machine.

I think perhaps the only way Toronto could claim 2nd place would be to argue that they along with Montreal were the leaders in the development of the old farm & sponsorship systems, a luxury they enjoyed as being the only 2 NHL clubs located on & in the primary production fields of hockey players for the first 40 years of the NHL's existence. But really even there & back then, it wasnt until the late 40's that Montreal really embarked upon that, and Toronto too only got aggressive post WW2 in that regard as well. Montreal laid the tracks with their system right into the 70's, Toronto's dismantled starting in the early 60's. Montreal outclassed Toronto eons ago, Detroit equalled & matched if not completely Eclipsing the Leafs in the 90's & 00's, and now we have Boston with a single & Chicago with a pair in as many years, both of them still dangerous, Chicago in particular, so who knows? Maybe Toronto falls to 4th. Some might say it already has, if not 6th of the 06'rs. Rangers won a Cup. Always a respectable club. Bruins have won 3 since 67. Habs & Wings we know about. Chicago with 2 in the bag, still ascendant.

Then theres the Islanders, Oilers, the Devils, Colorado etc. These guys have done something for their fans, for the league, and done so a lot more recently and in far more spectacular fashion than the Leafs ever did. Who cares what you did 46yrs ago? What did you do last decade, last year? What are you doing for us right now? So no. I wouldnt give Toronto 2nd spot out of the Original 6, Id give them 6th spot, then drop that down several more rungs behind expansion franchises including LA, Anaheim, Dallas, Carolina & Tampa...


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08-13-2013, 01:58 PM
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It has to be Detroit. There were certainly those "Dead Wing" years in the 1970s and 1980s. But even then there was hope with Yzerman. But that's pretty much it for the Wings. Plus, Toronto was just as bad, if not worse, in the 1980s so it evens out. The Leafs haven't had a Cup since Lyndon Johnson was in the White House. That is some long shelf life. There isn't a Cup final appearance since then either. There isn't a team that you say "should" have won either. Just a lot of mediocrity in the last 50 years.

In fact, don't look now but Boston can eventually catch Toronto if they keep things up. Or Chicago. Yeah the Cups between the two teams are much lower than Toronto but Boston really only has a few years post 1996 of bad hockey while Chicago only has a decade in the last 60 or so years. Before that the Bruins were bad before Orr got there, but the Hawks have for the most part been elite, very good, good or competitive since the late 1950s save for that dry spell in the 2000s.

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08-13-2013, 02:12 PM
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The Leafs haven't had a Cup since Lyndon Johnson was in the White House. That is some long shelf life. There isn't a Cup final appearance since then either. There isn't a team that you say "should" have won either. Just a lot of mediocrity in the last 50 years.
Ya pretty much Phil. As I said above, Detroit more than evened things out with Toronto in the 90's let alone 00's, Boston post 67 winning 3 Cups, Montreals only real competition for several years there in the 70's, thereafter & prior to their recent SC always respectable. The Rangers came on strong with some excellent teams pretty much from the mid-60's on, they & the Bruins through the 50's & early 60's rather anemic to say the least but still. Then theres Chicago. Exciting teams through the 60's after that Cup win, came close several times, 67 had Sawchuk not stood on his head pretty sure theyd have taken out the Habs. 1971, lousy Coaching and Dryden. Ownership thereafter like Toronto a problem but not as bad as the constantly interfering & disruptive Ballard, the dysfunctional MLSE that followed and with which we now still live. Then theres the Islanders, Oilers etc, even some of the off Cup Winners, Anaheim, Carolina, Tampa. I mean c'mon here. Im a Leafs fan, loyal, but give credit where its due and if post 67 & historically Im ranking my team against the 06'rs with a longer history which gives them an advantage over the other 24 teams, sorry, but their now well down the ladder in terms of the criteria of this thread.

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08-13-2013, 02:16 PM
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Well, Im a Leafs fan as and much as it pains me to admit it Im afraid your absolutely correct Peter. I think Detroits performances in the early 50's, 90' & 00's do indeed Eclipse those of the Leafs who's last hurrah was nearly 50 years ago now. Detroit was respectable during the waning years of the Golden era. From about 1970 with the arrival of The Darkness that was Ned Harkness it took them over a decade to recover. However, with the sale of the club to Ilitch, Yzermans arrival, Scotty Bowman, well, the rest as they say is history.

Toronto had Ballard to deal with, a miracle really that they won that Cup in 67, with the wheels falling right off through the late 60's to mid-70's, bit of a burst with Sittler et al in those series against the Islanders but you knew they were goin down regardless; Gilmour & Company early 90's coming the closest, Sundin in the early 00's but certainly still a team on the outside looking in. Really pretty dysfunctional. Generations of fans turned off. It truly is a phenomena that LeafNation is the size that it is, that the franchise despite itself is the wealthiest and most highly valued in the NHL. An absolute machine.

I think perhaps the only way Toronto could claim 2nd place would be to argue that they along with Montreal were the leaders in the development of the old farm & sponsorship systems, a luxury they enjoyed as being the only 2 NHL clubs located on & in the primary production fields of hockey players for the first 40 years of the NHL's existence. But really even there & back then, it wasnt until the late 40's that Montreal really embarked upon that, and Toronto too only got aggressive post WW2 in that regard as well. Montreal laid the tracks with their system right into the 70's, Toronto's dismantled starting in the early 60's. Montreal outclassed Toronto eons ago, Detroit equalled & matched if not completely Eclipsing the Leafs in the 90's & 00's, and now we have Boston with a single & Chicago with a pair in as many years, both of them still dangerous, Chicago in particular, so who knows? Maybe Toronto falls to 4th. Some might say it already has, if not 6th of the 06'rs. Rangers won a Cup. Always a respectable club. Bruins have won 3 since 67. Habs & Wings we know about. Chicago with 2 in the bag, still ascendant.

Then theres the Islanders, Oilers, the Devils, Colorado etc. These guys have done something for their fans, for the league, and done so a lot more recently and in far more spectacular fashion than the Leafs ever did. Who cares what you did 46yrs ago? What did you do last decade, last year? What are you doing for us right now? So no. I wouldnt give Toronto 2nd spot out of the Original 6, Id give them 6th spot, then drop that down several more rungs behind expansion franchises including LA, Anaheim, Dallas, Carolina & Tampa...
I don't understand people diminishing the history of the Toronto Maple Leafs just because it happened a "long, long time ago." Aside from the fact that Detroit had it's own 42 year no show period between 1955 and 1997, when does the greatest franchise in the NHL label expire for the Montreal Canadiens? They've posted 6 sub .500 years and only 6 playoff series victories in two decades of competition. Surely they'll be eclipsed if the Carolina Hurricanes manage another cup in the next little while...

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08-13-2013, 02:22 PM
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"Why the Leafs Suck So Badly and How Everyone Else is Fantastic"
Detroit had a 42 year drought, Boston was up to 38 years, the Rangers had a 54 year fallow period, Chicago didn't win squat for 49 years, and Montreal just hit 20 years. The Islanders haven't won a cup in 30 years, the Flyers are up to 38 years. The Oilers haven't done anything in 23 years.

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08-13-2013, 02:30 PM
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I don't understand people diminishing the history of the Toronto Maple Leafs just because it happened a "long, long time ago." Aside from the fact that Detroit had it's own 42 year no show period between 1955 and 1997, when does the greatest franchise in the NHL label expire for the Montreal Canadiens? They've posted 6 sub .500 years and only 6 playoff series victories in two decades of competition. Surely they'll be eclipsed if the Carolina Hurricanes manage another cup in the next little while...
Im not "diminishing" the Leafs history & contributions to the League over the past near on 100yrs Stephen, not in the least. But what have they done for the game lately? Like in the last 50yrs? Ya our first 50 were glorious but then the wheels fell off. Stafford Smythe & Harold Ballard loosened the lugnuts, let er' rip right out of control, selling off assets including the farms. Pal Hal there then spending the remainder of his life trying to destroy every last vestige of the Majors' era. We as fans are not responsible for any of it, I lived through it all, remember only too well the heartbreak & angst over Ballards shoddy treatment of long time Scout Bob Davidson, of Dave Keon & Sittler etc. Had he lived another decade or two, God only knows? Mightve finished the job altogether huh? Yes we were the toast of the league, a class act from the 30's through the 50's & 60's, but by that last decade just prior to the 67 expansion, running on fumes, the "Over the Hill Gang" with one last Hurrah. The organization gutted even by then. Im not willing to forgive, forget & cut them any slack for the past 50+ years. A penalty I assess. Gross Misconducts. Been Eclipsed by not only all 5 of the other 06'rs, but so too Expansion Franchises. You think I like admitting that?

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08-13-2013, 06:14 PM
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I don't understand people diminishing the history of the Toronto Maple Leafs just because it happened a "long, long time ago." Aside from the fact that Detroit had it's own 42 year no show period between 1955 and 1997, when does the greatest franchise in the NHL label expire for the Montreal Canadiens? They've posted 6 sub .500 years and only 6 playoff series victories in two decades of competition. Surely they'll be eclipsed if the Carolina Hurricanes manage another cup in the next little while...
I don't think that's the reason, but the fact of the matter is the Leafs are easily the worst team from the original 6 SINCE expansion in 1967. That can hurt your ranking a lot, especially if other teams have been competitive - or better yet champions. From an all-time level, of course Toronto is going to have a better all-time franchise tag than, say, the Buffalo Sabres, but are they better than the Sabres from 1970 onwards? All together yes, but since other original 6 teams have been winning Cups (Boston, Chicago) coupled with how much better they did since 1967 and often adequate in the original 6 era, I think Toronto is soon going to lose its spot in the all-time franchises. What I mean is, how much longer before Chicago or Boston surpass them? If not rather close already?

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08-13-2013, 07:53 PM
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I don't think that's the reason, but the fact of the matter is the Leafs are easily the worst team from the original 6 SINCE expansion in 1967. That can hurt your ranking a lot, especially if other teams have been competitive - or better yet champions. From an all-time level, of course Toronto is going to have a better all-time franchise tag than, say, the Buffalo Sabres, but are they better than the Sabres from 1970 onwards? All together yes, but since other original 6 teams have been winning Cups (Boston, Chicago) coupled with how much better they did since 1967 and often adequate in the original 6 era, I think Toronto is soon going to lose its spot in the all-time franchises. What I mean is, how much longer before Chicago or Boston surpass them? If not rather close already?
I personally don't think Chicago and Boston should be anywhere close to the Toronto Maple Leafs on the basis of what they've done throughout their history in their entirety. Boston spent 18 years in the Original Six era with a sub .500 record and had a 30 year drought between cup wins, and another 39 year drought before their modern cup win.

Chicago was a laughing stock and a disaster for 10-12 years until 2008-09, and they didn't have a cup win for 49 years, and before their cup in 1961, they had a 23 year drought and also spent 18 years with a sub .500 record in a six team league.

Between the spring of 1938, months before Neville Chamberlain thought he had secured peace with the Nazis and the Prague Spring of 1968, the Chicago Blackhawks won 6 playoff rounds in total. That's six playoff rounds in 30 years.

The Leafs have gone through very lean years in the 80s and 2000s, but at the end of the Original Six era, we had as many cup wins as the Montreal Canadiens.

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08-13-2013, 07:59 PM
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Not the New York Rangers and yet they have the longest standing storied arena in history: Madison Square Gardens.


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08-13-2013, 08:08 PM
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Im not "diminishing" the Leafs history & contributions to the League over the past near on 100yrs Stephen, not in the least. But what have they done for the game lately? Like in the last 50yrs? Ya our first 50 were glorious but then the wheels fell off. Stafford Smythe & Harold Ballard loosened the lugnuts, let er' rip right out of control, selling off assets including the farms. Pal Hal there then spending the remainder of his life trying to destroy every last vestige of the Majors' era. We as fans are not responsible for any of it, I lived through it all, remember only too well the heartbreak & angst over Ballards shoddy treatment of long time Scout Bob Davidson, of Dave Keon & Sittler etc. Had he lived another decade or two, God only knows? Mightve finished the job altogether huh? Yes we were the toast of the league, a class act from the 30's through the 50's & 60's, but by that last decade just prior to the 67 expansion, running on fumes, the "Over the Hill Gang" with one last Hurrah. The organization gutted even by then. Im not willing to forgive, forget & cut them any slack for the past 50+ years. A penalty I assess. Gross Misconducts. Been Eclipsed by not only all 5 of the other 06'rs, but so too Expansion Franchises. You think I like admitting that?
Meh.

The way I see it, all of the Original Six teams have fallen on hard times at one point or another. Boston and Chicago were nothing but punching bags for most of the Original Six, so most of their greatness goes out the window from that era.

Chicago was a joke up until maybe 2008. Remember Bill Wirtz, the local TV blackouts, the declining attendance? Remember how Chicagoans were actually going to support the Chicago Wolves over watching **** poor Blackhawks hockey not too long ago? The reputation of the United Center as a dead and lifeless cavern, the unceremonious dumping of Blackhawk greats Jeremy Roenick, Ed Belfour, Chris Chelios, Tony Amonte? Remember those Mike Smith teams full of generic European mercenaries?

Boston had Harry Sinden/Jeremy Jacobs, the famous penny pinching duo that never put money into building a proper contender while they had Ray Bourque? How Bruins fans stayed away from the Fleet Center in the late 1990s?

New York Rangers, 54 years of futility, they also missed the playoffs 7 years in a row at the beginning of the 2000s.

The Detroit Red Wings, missed the playoffs 15 out of 17 years to begin the post expansion era. They had 20 years of minus .500 hockey between 1967 and 1991.

I've been watching hockey for 20 years, and even the Montreal Canadiens have been pretty crap during this time frame. They've won 10 playoff rounds including their cup victory in 1993 and have posted 6 minus .500 seasons, missing the playoffs 7 times.
The Leafs in comparison have also won 10 playoff rounds since 1993, posted four sub .500 seasons and missed the playoffs 9 times.

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08-13-2013, 08:09 PM
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Not the New York Rangers and yet they have the longest standing storied arena in history: Madison Square Gardens.

MSG is probably more famous for boxing matches and Beatles concerts, no?

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08-13-2013, 08:15 PM
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I think Toronto is a relatively easy choice for #3. Bruins still at #4. Chicago, Boston, and Edmonton are tied with 5 Cups, but Boston was competitive in far more seasons when they didn't actually win.

I'd honestly have Edmonton over the Rangers, and to me Chicago/Edmonton was a tossup before Chicago's last Cup

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08-13-2013, 08:16 PM
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MSG is probably more famous for boxing matches and Beatles concerts, no?
Of course. But I have a book on the history of hockey in NY and it's remarkable in its accounts of the Rangers and Americans of the NHL, several other professional leagues and early amateur leagues that played there:


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08-13-2013, 08:18 PM
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definitely detroit at #2

then toronto, followed by edmonton, boston, chicago, and the islanders who i'd put in front of the rangers

then you have the modern day teams with multiple cups like new jersey and colorado

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08-13-2013, 08:25 PM
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Meh.
.. subjectively, emotionally despite all of the problems & foibles I think their the greatest franchise period. Objectively, cold Spockian Logic, no, not seeing them as the #2 but #6 of the 06'rs. Last 46yrs but for 3 bright spots is shameful, unforgivable... yet I forgave. Will continue to do so.... Rangers, Bruins, Habs & Wings, Chicago, theyve all done something, continue to do so. Then youve got the Islanders, Oilers & Devils. On & on.

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08-13-2013, 08:55 PM
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.. subjectively, emotionally despite all of the problems & foibles I think their the greatest franchise period. Objectively, cold Spockian Logic, no, not seeing them as the #2 but #6 of the 06'rs. Last 46yrs but for 3 bright spots is shameful, unforgivable... yet I forgave. Will continue to do so.... Rangers, Bruins, Habs & Wings, Chicago, theyve all done something, continue to do so. Then youve got the Islanders, Oilers & Devils. On & on.
What have the Oilers done since 1990? Last time they won a cup Steven Stamkos was 4 months old. The New York Islanders won their last cup a month before I was born. Devils? Please.

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