Something that occurred to me as soon as the San Jose Sharks held off the Detroit Red Wings to complete the four teams in the NHL’s conference finals. The Tampa Bay Lightning are, by far, the team left in the field with the least baggage.â†µ
Actually, do they even have any baggage? Consider the other three teams.â†µ
Boston Bruins: Haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1972. Lost two Stanley Cup finals between then and now. Lost more gut-wrenching games to Montreal over the years than I can even count. Blew a 3-0 lead in last year’s playoffs against the Flyers.â†µ
Vancouver Canucks: Came into the league in 1970 and have never won the Stanley Cup. Lost two Stanley Cup finals between then and now, including a brutal Game 7 loss in 1994 that actually led to riots in Vancouver. Almost blew a 3-0 lead in the first round.â†µ
San Jose Sharks: Came into the league in 1991 and have never won the Stanley Cup. Have never reached the finals, but lost two conference finals, including a sweep at the hands of Chicago last year. Bombed out in the first round in 2009 as a #1 seed. Almost blew a 3-0 lead to the Red Wings.â†µ
Meanwhile, the Lightning have a Stanley Cup, they’ve never lost a series as a higher seed, they’ve never lost a Game 7, and they’re 6-1 all-time when they can eliminate an opponent. Compared to the Bruins, Canucks, and Sharks, being a Lightning fan has been a walk in the park.