Usually around this time of year we are near the end of the NHL season and gearing up for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The weeks leading up to this time of year are usually bombarded by stupid campaigns by the NHL, like "Because it's the Cup". Damn, it I hate that campaign...almost as much as "Is it October, yet?". Who writes this crap? Who greenlights this crap? And, why do they keep using this amateur slogans to promote a game that is losing its core audience.
Anyway. This is something I observed a few years ago and the pattern is still going strong. Notice that teams playing outdoor games have a very good chance to be in that year's Stanley Cup Finals. Here is a list of NHL outdoor games on Wikipedia that you can check. And, a list of Stanley Cup Champions and Finalists.
Let me break it down.
- 1954, Detroit Red Wings have an exhibition outdoor game with the Marquette Prison Pirates. The Red Wings go on to win the Stanley Cup that year against the Montreal Canadiens.
We get some outdoor games where this theory does not work out, but hold on...
- 2008 Winter Classic, Pittsburgh Penguins versus Buffalo Sabres. Penguins go on to meet the Red Wings in the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals
- 2009 Winter Classic, Red Wings vs Blackhawks. Red Wings meet Penguins in 2009 Stanley Cup Finals
- 2010 Winter Classic, Flyers vs Bruins. Flyers in 2010 Finals with Blackhawks
See it? The Winter Classic pretty much guaranteed a spot in the finals. No Cup win, but very close. Okay, a few more games were played in the open with no results that I can skew towards my theory. But, it happens again, this time we have Cup winners for outdoor teams.
- 2014 Stadium Series between the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings. The Kings would go on to win their second Cup that summer...against the New York Ranger...who also played in the...
- 2014 Stadium Series. The Ranger actually played two outdoor games, one against the Devils, other against the Islanders.
- 2015 Winter Classic, Blackhawks vs. Capitals. Chicago wins another Cup, this time defeating the Lightning in the Finals
Skipping a head to make me sound like a genius. I should also mention that there are up to four games being played outdoors at this point.
- 2017 Stadium Series, Philadelphia Flyers vs Pittsburgh Penguins. Yeah, Penguins lifting the Cup at the end of the Finals.
- 2018 Stadium Series, Toronto Maple Leafs vs Washington Capitals. Come on, you did not think the Leafs were going deep in the playoffs, did you? Of course not. The Capitals win their first Cup
- 2019 Winter Classic, Bruins vs Blackhawks. Boston make it to the Finals but just fall short, as the St. Louis Blues win their first Cup.
- 2020 Winter Classic, Nashville Predators vs Dallas Stars. Crazy pandemic year with whacky playoffs, but the Dallas Stars make it to the Finals, but are defeated by Tampa Bay.
Here we are at 2021, and we have four teams that played in two outdoor games. Vegas Golden Knights, Colorado Avalanche, Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins. Will one of these teams make it to the Finals, possibly win it all? Currently the Avalanche and Golden Knights are at the top of the same division. Bruins are in a playoff spot, with the Flyers just on the outside looking in.
Wait, I have more!
Three Canadian cities have hosted the Olympics. The result? Top of the league the next season and a Stanley Cup Championship (almost)
1976 - Montreal hosts the Summer Olympics. The next year, 1977, the Montreal Canadiens are at the top of the league. They would have been awarded the Presidents' Trophy, if it existed then. But, more importantly, they go on an win the Stanley Cup. Okay, I know this was during their dynasty years (1976-1979), and no one was getting around the Canadiens. My theory still stands.
1988 - Calgary hosts the Winter Olympics. The next year, in 1989, the Calgary Flames win their second Presidents' Trophy in two years, and first Stanley Cup.
2010 - Vancouver is host to the Winter Olympics. The Canucks would win back to back Presidents' Trophies in 2011 and 2012. They reach the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011 (year after Olympics) and came with in a game of winning it all, losing in Game 7 to the Boston Bruins.
There you go, my Stanley Cup, Outdoor Game, and Olympics theory.