The Stanley Cup playoffs are a long, exhausting grind. The process takes nearly two months to complete with teams playing every other night in hard-fought, physical battles where players are tested to the extreme both mentally and physically. It’s no wonder that some say the Stanley Cup is the toughest trophy to win in professional sports. With the Stanley Cup Finals set to begin tonight in Vancouver, here are some interesting facts about past Stanley Cup winners and losers – including some history about this year’s combatants.
- The Boston Bruins, one of the Original Six teams, have one of the worst Stanley Cup track records with a dismal .294 winning percentage. In 17 previous appearances in the Stanley Cup Finals, the Bruins have won five times with their last victory coming in 1972. This will be the team’s sixth Stanley Cup Finals appearance since their last victory.
- The Vancouver Canucks have never won the Stanley Cup. The team made two previous appearances in the Stanley Cup Finals since joining the NHL in 1970 – once in 1982 and the second time in 1994.
- Only two teams currently in the NHL have never lost in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Colorado Avalanche made two appearances, winning the Stanley Cup in both 1996 and 2001, while the Tampa Bay Lightning won their only appearance in the Finals in 2004.
- Six teams have never made an appearance in the Finals: the Columbus Blue Jackets (nine seasons), Minnesota Wild (nine seasons), Atlanta Thrashers (10 seasons), Nashville Predators (11 seasons), San Jose Sharks (18 seasons) and Phoenix Coyotes (13 seasons, and 17 seasons as the Winnipeg Jets).
- In addition to those teams, another seven teams have appeared in the Finals but never won the Stanley Cup: the Vancouver Canucks (two appearances), St. Louis Blues (three appearances), Buffalo Sabres (two appearances), Florida Panthers (one appearance), Los Angeles Kings (one appearance), Ottawa Senators (one appearance) and the Washington Capitals (one appearance).
- The Montreal Canadiens are the most decorated team in the NHL with an incredible 24 Stanley Cup championships in 34 appearances. The last time the team won the Stanley Cup was in 1993, which was also their last appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals as well.
- Henri Richard has won the most Stanley Cups as a player with 11.
- Mark Messier is the only player to captain two different teams to a Stanley Cup championship. He captained both the Edmonton Oilers and the New York Rangers to championships.