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1990-96 Calgary Flames: most underachieving team ever?

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Old
09-11-2010, 11:49 AM
  #26
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I think they should just be lucky that they won a cup in 1989.

They were outclassed by the Oilers all throughout the 80s and in the 90s they were a great regular season team because theyre players didnt have intensity.

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09-11-2010, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
The Sens from 1998-'08 are a good example though, about as close to them as possible. They did reach the final though in 2007. But they had huge disapointments in 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2006. Not to mention the constant failure against the Leafs no matter how good their team was. In 2007-'08 remember when their early record in the season had a few nuts screaming "1977 Canadiens"? By the 2008 playoffs they were so bad that Pittsburgh basically used that series as a practice in the first round. So the Sens are about as close to the Flames as possible.
Ottawa wasn't good in 1998. They barely made the playoffs, upset NJ in the 1st round before losing to a higher seed in Was.

In their short history, they've been upset by lower seeds 4 times (99, 01, 03, 06) and have upset higher seeds 4 times (98, 02, 07-nj, 07-buf).

2003 - lost to another great team in NJ in R3, G7 with the game winner scored with 2:14 remaining in the game.

2006 - lost to another team very close to us in the standings, our #1 goalie was hurt and our backup goalie put up an .864 SV%.

1999 & 2001 - check the rosters on hockeydb and you'll see a whole lot of 19, 20, 21, 22's beside the names of a lot of core players.

Those 4 seasons, plus 2004 (where Ottawa faced a higher seed in Toronto in the 1st Round) were the only times that Ottawa finished above 9th in the NHL standings (and virtually all Cup winners have been Top-7 teams)

That start in 2008 was predicated on Gerber playing like a Hall of Famer and Paddock overplaying the stars like he was still coaching in the playoffs.

----------------------------------------------------
How many times did Calgary finish Top-7 in the NHL? (thus theoretically giving them an excellent shot at a Cup)

How many times did Calgary lose to a lower seed? Or upset a higher seed?

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09-11-2010, 01:35 PM
  #28
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Originally Posted by Mayor Bee View Post
To use an NFL comparison, I'd look at Vernon being like Rex Grossman; one game he looks like an All-Pro, the next he looks like an incapacitated Ryan Leaf.
If I may nitpick, I'd say Jake Delhomme is the Mike Vernon of the NFL.

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09-11-2010, 02:22 PM
  #29
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After reading Fleury's book, it's hard not to think a general culture of boozing and excessive partying didn't contribute to this underperformance, given he talent level of those squads. I know the state of training in the early '90's wasn't like it is today, but it doesn't sound like there was a whole lot of professionalism going on in the Flames locker room during those years. I'm sure that "the life" catches up to hockey teams today as well, but Fleury makes it sound like it was pretty extreme in Calgary in the '90's.

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09-11-2010, 04:04 PM
  #30
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Originally Posted by RewBicks View Post
After reading Fleury's book, it's hard not to think a general culture of boozing and excessive partying didn't contribute to this underperformance, given he talent level of those squads. I know the state of training in the early '90's wasn't like it is today, but it doesn't sound like there was a whole lot of professionalism going on in the Flames locker room during those years. I'm sure that "the life" catches up to hockey teams today as well, but Fleury makes it sound like it was pretty extreme in Calgary in the '90's.
i haven't read fleury's book, but i do remember terry crisp talking about certain guys on that team's dedication to conditioning. one guy he singled out was gary roberts, which is obviously very surprising given his reputation as a fitness freak later in his career. but i assume that began when roberts had retired the first time and had to rehab like hell to come back and prolong his career.

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09-11-2010, 09:09 PM
  #31
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The sens of 1999-2006 and the Sharks of 2006-2010 have to be right up there with the 1990-1996 Flames.

I wonder if there is a formula that could be used to display this, such as the number of playoff wins a team achieved over a certain time, compared to the number of playoff wins they "should" have had based on a best fit curve of what other teams in the league did.

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09-11-2010, 10:59 PM
  #32
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Ronald Corey cries me! me! me!. Harold Ballard chuckles. The Norris family group winks know there is always a fall guy.

Destroying a great franchise or dismantling a dynasty. Six of one half dozen of another
Why Corey? Why Ballard? Unless you mean certain trades in the 1960s the Leafs made that seemed harmless at the time or letting young talent go to other teams

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09-11-2010, 11:05 PM
  #33
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Originally Posted by trentmccleary View Post
Ottawa wasn't good in 1998. They barely made the playoffs, upset NJ in the 1st round before losing to a higher seed in Was.

In their short history, they've been upset by lower seeds 4 times (99, 01, 03, 06) and have upset higher seeds 4 times (98, 02, 07-nj, 07-buf).

2003 - lost to another great team in NJ in R3, G7 with the game winner scored with 2:14 remaining in the game.

2006 - lost to another team very close to us in the standings, our #1 goalie was hurt and our backup goalie put up an .864 SV%.

1999 & 2001 - check the rosters on hockeydb and you'll see a whole lot of 19, 20, 21, 22's beside the names of a lot of core players.

Those 4 seasons, plus 2004 (where Ottawa faced a higher seed in Toronto in the 1st Round) were the only times that Ottawa finished above 9th in the NHL standings (and virtually all Cup winners have been Top-7 teams)

That start in 2008 was predicated on Gerber playing like a Hall of Famer and Paddock overplaying the stars like he was still coaching in the playoffs.

----------------------------------------------------
How many times did Calgary finish Top-7 in the NHL? (thus theoretically giving them an excellent shot at a Cup)

How many times did Calgary lose to a lower seed? Or upset a higher seed?
I was thinking more like the 1998-'99 Sens rather than the 1998 playoffs version. No one expected them to go anywhere. But the 1998-'99 Sens had big things coming, maybe, thank Yashin for failing to find a way to get out of the grasp of Mike Peca.

In 2003 they had all the ingredients. Maybe not an all-star goalie, but Lalime was no worst than Niemi with this year's Hawks Cup winners. He just ended up being a terrible clutch goalie. Either way, the Sens had the best record in the NHL, they had a lead in Game #4 vs. Jersey and blew it which would have tied the series. They had a lead in Game #7, blew it. They somehow turned a routine 2-on-2 into a 2-on-1 against them for the winning goal. They just never got over that hump

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09-11-2010, 11:45 PM
  #34
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Originally Posted by trentmccleary View Post
1999 & 2001 - check the rosters on hockeydb and you'll see a whole lot of 19, 20, 21, 22's beside the names of a lot of core players.
Good post overall. But the Sens weren't that young in 1999. Redden, at 21, was pretty young to be a top pairing D-man, but he was the only young core player. Hossa was 20, but only playing on the 3rd line.

The 1999 Senators outshot the Sabres by more than 3-2, and just couldn't make their shots. Maybe it was Hasek. Maybe it was because they were playing from behind all series. Maybe they were gripping their sticks too tight. Maybe it was just bad luck. In any case, the Senators should have won the series, they just didn't.

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09-12-2010, 12:25 AM
  #35
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
The sens of 1999-2006 and the Sharks of 2006-2010 have to be right up there with the 1990-1996 Flames.

I wonder if there is a formula that could be used to display this, such as the number of playoff wins a team achieved over a certain time, compared to the number of playoff wins they "should" have had based on a best fit curve of what other teams in the league did.
imo, calgary is definitely worse, since they had a team that had already won, which is a very large difference. 3 of the teams that beat calgary were at or below .500. calgary never reached the CF's from '90-'96. SJ and ottawa both reached CF's.

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09-12-2010, 01:08 AM
  #36
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imo, calgary is definitely worse, since they had a team that had already won, which is a very large difference. 3 of the teams that beat calgary were at or below .500. calgary never reached the CF's from '90-'96. SJ and ottawa both reached CF's.
in ottawa's case, i think it got balanced out by the fact that they lost pretty badly a couple of times. For example: Since 1994, three top 1/2 seeds have been swept in round 1, and two of those times it was Ottawa.

I think in a couple of cases the circumstances under which they lost were embarrassing, too. For example: 2002, they have the injury-decimated Leafs on the ropes, they're winning game 6 at home by 2 goals, but gave up the lead and choked in game 7. 2004, game 7 against the leafs was abysmal. 2006, the Pominville OT goal to eliminate them will never be forgotten by Ottawans.

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09-12-2010, 06:26 AM
  #37
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And You Ask...................

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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Why Corey? Why Ballard? Unless you mean certain trades in the 1960s the Leafs made that seemed harmless at the time or letting young talent go to other teams
Ballard. Mishandled 1967 expansion, WHA, Sittler/McDonald, scouting.Bad trades and bad hockey decisions were the norm. Provide examples of a solid hockey decisions he made after assuming control.

Corey. Ordered some bad trades - Patrick Roy.etc. Image replaced performance. Scouting and farm systen deteriorated. Hired Rejean Houle whose only qualification was not refusing Corey`s offer.Circle des Étoiles fiasco.

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09-12-2010, 01:50 PM
  #38
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Ballard. Mishandled 1967 expansion, WHA, Sittler/McDonald, scouting.Bad trades and bad hockey decisions were the norm. Provide examples of a solid hockey decisions he made after assuming control.

Corey. Ordered some bad trades - Patrick Roy.etc. Image replaced performance. Scouting and farm systen deteriorated. Hired Rejean Houle whose only qualification was not refusing Corey`s offer.Circle des Étoiles fiasco.
I have no disagreement whatsoever that these guys were atrocious cancers to their organizations but the Leafs weren't winning the Cup in 1968 anyways. They were the "seniors" not expected to win in 1967 as it is. They weren't continuing that dynasty either way as much as I would love to lay all the blame on Ballard. The Sittler and McDonald situation was just plain personal but the Leafs hadn't won a Cup that decade and weren't on pace to do so either. So he mishandled a team, they were not a dynasty.

The Roy trade was in 1995. It's proven to be the worst trade that organization ever made but they weren't winning the Cup back then either. They had missed the playoffs the previous year. Before that they had 2 Cups in 15 years. I'd even blame Tremblay more for the Roy trade than Corey, but either way they didn't break up a dynasty, there wasn't one there

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09-13-2010, 10:51 AM
  #39
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IIRC the 1990 Flames were absolutely jobbed by Denis Morel in OT in Game 6 of the Kings series, and the non-goal actaully sped the process for instant replay.

But I agree with most everybody that Vernon was extremely small in the postseason minus 1989.

I will say that his glove save on Tanti and Smyl's breakaway in OT in that Game 7 were quite spectacular.

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09-13-2010, 03:51 PM
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IIRC the 1990 Flames were absolutely jobbed by Denis Morel in OT in Game 6 of the Kings series, and the non-goal actaully sped the process for instant replay.
If it goes to Game 7 I don't see the Kings winning it. I am not sure why that goal was called back. I think it had to do with a whistle or whether the puck was covered up properly, just looking at the replay that seems to be the case.

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But I agree with most everybody that Vernon was extremely small in the postseason minus 1989.
He did win the Smythe in 1997. Contrary to popular belief Vernon was actually good that postseason. It is just that every time that Conn Smythe is brought up everyone always finds a different player who deserved it more. That might be true, but Vernon still played well that spring. Plus he took his team to two other trips to the final, and while he might have been able to play better in the final, he still got there. I agree though everything else in the postseason with Vernon is shady

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09-14-2010, 06:55 PM
  #41
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If it goes to Game 7 I don't see the Kings winning it. I am not sure why that goal was called back. I think it had to do with a whistle or whether the puck was covered up properly, just looking at the replay that seems to be the case.



He did win the Smythe in 1997. Contrary to popular belief Vernon was actually good that postseason. It is just that every time that Conn Smythe is brought up everyone always finds a different player who deserved it more. That might be true, but Vernon still played well that spring. Plus he took his team to two other trips to the final, and while he might have been able to play better in the final, he still got there. I agree though everything else in the postseason with Vernon is shady


I was referring to his Flames career. But I agree that his arrival to Detroit certainly changed the dynamic in Detroit. Osgood was behind the nets for the 1994 fiasco and 1996 disappointment, and Vernon was huge in the 97 postseason

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09-14-2010, 07:18 PM
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I was referring to his Flames career. But I agree that his arrival to Detroit certainly changed the dynamic in Detroit. Osgood was behind the nets for the 1994 fiasco and 1996 disappointment, and Vernon was huge in the 97 postseason
Yeah, here's how I see Vernon's playoff career. Good in 1986 (trip to the final), shady in 1987 and '88. Great in 1989 (won Cup). Scary bad from 1990-94. Good again in 1995 (trip to the final). Great in 1997 (Cup, Conn Smythe).

This up and down rollercoaster has kept him out of the HHOF despite always being pretty good in the regular season. I think his peaks are good enough to get him into the HHOF personally but it hasn't happened yet.

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09-14-2010, 08:22 PM
  #43
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Yeah, here's how I see Vernon's playoff career. Good in 1986 (trip to the final), shady in 1987 and '88. Great in 1989 (won Cup). Scary bad from 1990-94. Good again in 1995 (trip to the final). Great in 1997 (Cup, Conn Smythe).

This up and down rollercoaster has kept him out of the HHOF despite always being pretty good in the regular season. I think his peaks are good enough to get him into the HHOF personally but it hasn't happened yet.
His save percentage in the regular season, when weighted, was almost exactly average. Vernon was nothing special.

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09-14-2010, 09:03 PM
  #44
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Yeah, here's how I see Vernon's playoff career. Good in 1986 (trip to the final), shady in 1987 and '88. Great in 1989 (won Cup). Scary bad from 1990-94. Good again in 1995 (trip to the final). Great in 1997 (Cup, Conn Smythe).

This up and down rollercoaster has kept him out of the HHOF despite always being pretty good in the regular season. I think his peaks are good enough to get him into the HHOF personally but it hasn't happened yet.
barrasso was another guy who had huge peaks and valleys, but he had more regular season success. it will be interesting to see which one five years from now the papers will be writing about as a guy who should be in. time remembers the peaks, but often forgets the valleys.

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09-14-2010, 10:03 PM
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Yeah, here's how I see Vernon's playoff career. Good in 1986 (trip to the final), shady in 1987 and '88. Great in 1989 (won Cup). Scary bad from 1990-94. Good again in 1995 (trip to the final). Great in 1997 (Cup, Conn Smythe).
It seems pretty unlikely that Vernon was actually bad every time his team lost and great every time his team won. Goaltending is important, but the relationship to winning isn't usually that perfect.

For example, was Vernon actually good in 1995? His .889 save percentage kind of suggests otherwise, including a terrible .854 in the Finals. I don't think it mattered who the Wings had in net, they were probably going to end up in the Finals regardless, but the Devils' superior goaltending was a big part of the New Jersey sweep.

I think that any average goalie like Vernon is going to have some peaks if they get enough chances while playing on good teams. Sooner or later they are going to get hot at the right time and win something. That's good, but to me it still doesn't make them any less average when it is balanced out by quite a few major letdowns.

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09-14-2010, 10:13 PM
  #46
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It seems pretty unlikely that Vernon was actually bad every time his team lost and great every time his team won. Goaltending is important, but the relationship to winning isn't usually that perfect.

For example, was Vernon actually good in 1995? His .889 save percentage kind of suggests otherwise, including a terrible .854 in the Finals. I don't think it mattered who the Wings had in net, they were probably going to end up in the Finals regardless, but the Devils' superior goaltending was a big part of the New Jersey sweep.

I think that any average goalie like Vernon is going to have some peaks if they get enough chances while playing on good teams. Sooner or later they are going to get hot at the right time and win something. That's good, but to me it still doesn't make them any less average when it is balanced out by quite a few major letdowns.
i agree that vernon, like nieuwendyk, isn't as good as his list of accomplishments make him look, but this is going too far. a guy like vernon, or vanbiesbrouck, or curtis joseph played for so long because they were very good goalies.

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09-14-2010, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
i agree that vernon, like nieuwendyk, isn't as good as his list of accomplishments make him look, but this is going too far. a guy like vernon, or vanbiesbrouck, or curtis joseph played for so long because they were very good goalies.
OK, maybe Vernon was better than average, the fact that a lot of good teams made him their starting goalie is a point in his favor, but I think it's going way too far to call him "very good". I wouldn't even put Vernon in the same category as guys like Vanbiesbrouck and Joseph, I think the latter two were just better goalies on generally worse teams.

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09-14-2010, 11:18 PM
  #48
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It seems pretty unlikely that Vernon was actually bad every time his team lost and great every time his team won. Goaltending is important, but the relationship to winning isn't usually that perfect.
The thing is, in 1988 he had a terrible GAA in the playoffs. Yeah Gretzky labelled a shot right over his shoulder for the overtime goal and maybe no one stops that one but it's another example of how Vernon could be the type of goalie who failed to make the big save when needed. Other times he did though, it was weird. Then from 1990-'94 it has been commonly thought of around here that he was the most responsible for the Flames playoff chokes. You can't blame Fleury. Even Nieuwendyk wasn't that bad. But Vernon just always seemed to let his team down those years. So yeah a lot of the success and failures can be traced to Vernon.

Plus there are other subtle things in those years. Three times (1990, '91 and '94) the Flames were eliminated in overtime twice in Game #7. Vernon had been so instrumental in 1989 in the clutch but he was the complete opposite here. In 1990 Krusher's overtime goal was terribly weak, Vernon should have had it. If he saves it and the Flames score there is a Game #7 back in Calgary. In 1991 he allows Calgary to blow a 3-0 lead in Game #7 and then allows a bit of a question marker in overtime. Yes he was screened and he made it clear by looking straight at Ric Natress after the goal but to me that was another choke. 1994 is where it really gets bad. All Vernon had to do was win ONE overtime game in the last three tries. Courtnall landed a good shot over his shoulder in Game 5 (similar to Gretzky's in 1988) and Linden scored on a rebound in Game 6. In Game 7 we remember the classic save from McLean followed by the massive deke Bure put on Vernon. It was a nice goal but it just pretty much summed up the Flames of that era. They had ample opportunity to finish the series and did not. If Mr. Vernon makes a crucial save at the right time in any of those years maybe we aren't talking so badly about him in that time frame. So yes, he is responsible for much of that failure.

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For example, was Vernon actually good in 1995? His .889 save percentage kind of suggests otherwise, including a terrible .854 in the Finals. I don't think it mattered who the Wings had in net, they were probably going to end up in the Finals regardless, but the Devils' superior goaltending was a big part of the New Jersey sweep.
In the final, no, he wasn't very good. The Wings got swept. I wouldn't say the Wings were "probably" going to make the final anyway. They hadn't in 29 years and had some choke issues the previous couple of years so it was far from a lock.

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09-15-2010, 12:34 AM
  #49
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
The sens of 1999-2006 and the Sharks of 2006-2010 have to be right up there with the 1990-1996 Flames.

I wonder if there is a formula that could be used to display this, such as the number of playoff wins a team achieved over a certain time, compared to the number of playoff wins they "should" have had based on a best fit curve of what other teams in the league did.
That Sens team that lost 4 straight in the finals just looked horrendous, almost like an AHL team, probably one of the worst SC performances ever. Spezza earned his well deserved reputation right there.

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09-15-2010, 01:43 PM
  #50
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
i agree that vernon, like nieuwendyk, isn't as good as his list of accomplishments make him look, but this is going too far. a guy like vernon, or vanbiesbrouck, or curtis joseph played for so long because they were very good goalies.
Yes, he was good enough to last that long... but he definitely was no Beezer or Joseph.

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That Sens team that lost 4 straight in the finals just looked horrendous, almost like an AHL team, probably one of the worst SC performances ever. Spezza earned his well deserved reputation right there.
They lost in 5... and I didn't include that as part of their choking phase because they pretty much steamrolled their way to the finals. They were a good team and did what only 2 teams can do every year. I hate them, but they have to get props for that.

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