04 September 2006

NEW YORK YANKEES v. MONTREAL CANADIENS


The NHL's Montreal Canadiens are currently working on a movie about their illustrious history. The movie is scheduled to be released in the fall of 2008 to celebrate the Canadiens "Centennial Season" in 2009.

Fantastic.

One point the "Habs", as they are affectionately known to the locals, like to boast is that the Canadiens have "won the Stanley Cup 24 times, more than any other NHL club. Among major North American professional sports teams, only baseball's New York Yankees have captured more league championships."

Lets put that statement on ice, please! (pun intended)

The Canadiens won their first Stanley Cup in the 1915-16 season. There were 3 teams in the league!

The Canadiens then won a total of 11 Cups with 6 teams in the league and 2 Cups with 8 league teams.

How can they consider themselves a "major North American professional sports team" with 3, 6 and 8 teams in the league?

By comparison the New York Yankees won 18 World Series with 16 teams in MLB. The NHL didn't even expand to 12 teams until 1967!

Here is the total break-down for both teams:

YANKEES:
won 18 World Series with 16 teams in the league.
won 1 with 18 teams
won 2 with 24 teams
won 2 with 28 teams
won 3 with 30 teams

CANADIENS:
won 1 Stanley Cup with 3 teams in the league
won 11 with 6 teams
won 2 with 8 teams
won 2 with 12 teams
won 1 with 14 teams
won 1 with 16 teams
won 1 with 18 teams
won 3 with 17 teams
won 1 with 21 teams

This is not meant to diminish the Montreal Canadiens. They are truly a historic franchise, but when it comes to championships they cannot be compared to the Yankees.


2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Yankees won most of their championships in a league with only four playoff teams.

Anonymous said...

I just came across this; haha; I guess I'm late to the discussion. I'm just going to discuss a few points that were raised. Here's my thoughts:

1. The Canadiens won their first Stanley Cup in the 1915-16 season. There were 3 teams in the league!

I don’t think that fact is true. The Habs played before the NHL was even created; they played in the NHA and won their first Stanley Cup. Montreal won their first Stanley Cup against an American team – the Portland Rosebuds in 1915-16. The Canadiens did lose in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Seattle Metropolitans after that (the Seattle team was the first American team to ever win the Stanley Cup.) I’m pretty sure the NHA had more than Montreal, Seattle, and Portland competing for the Stanley Cup.

2. The Canadiens then won a total of 11 Cups with 6 teams in the league and 2 Cups with 8 league teams.

This is an argument that I hear all the time from my friends. What I ask them in return is that if they won 11 Cups, why didn’t any of the other 5 teams win that many? For example, Bobby Hull’s Chicago Blackhawks only won 1 Stanley Cup in that era. Gordie Howe’s Detroit Red Wings only won four times in that era. The New York Rangers and Boston Bruins didn’t even win.

3. How can they consider themselves a "major North American professional sports team" with 3, 6 and 8 teams in the league? By comparison the New York Yankees won 18 World Series with 16 teams in MLB. The NHL didn't even expand to 12 teams until 1967!

See the above point that I made. Also, I just want to point out that after 1967, when the NHL expanded (and subsequently expanded), the Montreal Canadiens were dominant. In 1976-77, they assembled the greatest team ever in the NHL. This team won the Stanley Cup after a regular season record of 60 wins, 12 ties, and only 8 losses. This team (that featured many greats including Guy Lafleur, Larry Robinson, Bob Gainey, and so on) has been considered better by many hockey writers and analysts in their prime than Wayne Gretzky’s Edmonton Oilers, Mario Lemieux’s Penguins, and Steve Yzerman’s Detroit Redwings (all in their prime). That Montreal Canadiens squad first ended the dominate Broad Street Bullies era of the Philadelphia Flyers, followed up the record setting season of 136 points from 1976-77 with a regular season of 59 wins, 10 losses, and 11 ties. 1978-79 – 52 wins, 17 losses, and 11 ties. All 4 years, they won the Stanley Cup. I’m not sure what the Yankees best season ever was based on winning percentage. I guess it’s the 1998 Yankees with a record of 114-48.

But I don’t agree with dismissing the history and championships won by the Montreal Canadiens or even considering that there is no comparison with the new york yankees. The comparison can be made and it is easy to make. There are only a few teams in the sports world that can be elevated to this discussion – the Montreal Canadiens, the new york yankees, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Boston Celtics, the All Blacks of New Zealand, Manchester United, and probably some that I forgot to list. Anyway, that's my two cents (and I'm talking about Canadian pennies :)

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