Obviously many great stories from this year's playoffs and the finals in particular. Ottawa finally made it to the big dance, but obviously couldn't get the job done when it mattered most. The Niedermayer's got their wish as did Chris Pronger. But one underlying story occurred to me as I was watching Niedermayer hoist the cup; no team with a European captain has ever won the cup.
Now, obviously it is not like the league is flooded with European captains, but there have been teams with legitimate chances who could never get the job done. Some could argue coincidence, some could argue there is a direct correlation. I think it's really hard to tell, but I certainly feel it is an interesting topic, one that should not simply be cast off as pure coincidence. The captain is the one who gets the guys to play a team game, he motivates them to compete, he keeps the team level. Don't let the highs get too high, or the lows get too low. He steers the ship, the team only goes as far as he is willing to lead.
After watching Alfredsson wake up and decide to take charge last night, albeit in a losing effort, I realized that maybe it could be more than just a coincidence. Why are the captains on the past winning teams all North American, and more specifically, Canadian? Yes, the Dallas Stars had an American captain, but look around all those other years? See any trend?
It's simply one of those things I find fascinating in the game. A similar stat that has since been changed; prior to Hasek and Khabibulin winning their cups, no team with a European starter had ever won the cup. If that streak was still alive, would it be a coincidence as well?
This year could have been the year to break the trend. If Detroit had have won the WCF, it would have gone to Alfie or Lidstrom. Both had great playoffs, but won't get their names on the big mug.
So in a year from now when the playoffs are starting up and you pick you pool and certain teams to go all the way, history tells us your odds of winning might increase if you stick to a team being led by a Canadian.