Parity kills off NHL dynasties

GARY LOEWEN

, Last Updated: 10:53 AM ET

The days of NHL dynasties date back, well, to Dynasty, a TV show which featured nasty catfights among scrapping members of the Carrington clan.

That was during the 1980s.

While the big-haired Krystle and Alexis were scratching and clawing on television, mulleted members of the New York Islanders and Edmonton Oilers were following up the domination of the Montreal Canadiens with dynasties of their own.

Nowadays, the annual Stanley Cup battle is wide open -- even the Maple Leafs could win it again. But an informal poll, as well as reader feedback on our FanFare page, indicates a pooh-poohing of parity with a preference for watching dominating hockey teams.

Give us a Madonna vs. Guy Ritchie kind of dominance.

But this is the Gary Bettman era, and the idea is for everyone to be equal, and the salary cap has only exacerbated that.

Let's roll out the numbers: Since 1992, nearly everybody and his Bettman have made it to the Stanley Cup final. There have been 16 Stanley Cups awarded since 1992, and 16 different teams have been the Cup runners-up.

There have been 10 different winners, with the Detroit Red Wings coming closest to a quasi-dynasty with four Cups.

Hall of Fame defenceman Bobby Orr, during an interview last week, bemoaned the death of the hockey dynasties that he grew up with.

"I believe in having dominant teams," Orr said. "The Green Bay Packers, New York Yankees, Montreal Canadiens, it makes it more interesting.

"But with the new system, it's not allowed."

Parity helps maintain interest in fringe markets, keeping the Atlanta Thrashers, Phoenix Coyotes and Florida Panthers on life support. The consequence is that each team has only a handful or recognizable players.

FEET IN MOUTHS

- "The way I play is the way, I play," Leafs centre Matt Stajan said after his benching. "I think Ron (Wilson) just wants some consistency, I guess." Well, gol-l-l-l-ly, Matt, maybe that explains why you've never played a playoff game. To think some people were pushing you as a potential Leafs captain.

- "I'm kind of past the point of being frustrated," Leafs defenceman Ian White, who was a healthy scratch the first three games of the season, said. Ian, you're a fringe defenceman, make like a mushroom and just collect your cheque.

- "The only thing I call cowardly is when you're up by 10 and do it (intentionally hack-a-Shaq). That's a cowardly move," Phoenix Suns centre and inept free thrower Shaquille O'Neal said. Couldn't be possible, could it, that the big fella is blaming someone else for his own shortcomings?

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CUP FINALISTS

The Stanley Cup winners and runners-up since 1992:

YEAR WINNER RUNNER-UP

2008 Detroit Pittsburgh

2007 Anaheim Ottawa

2006 Carolina Edmonton

2005 No Stanley Cup

2004 Tampa Bay Calgary

2003 New Jersey Anaheim

2002 Detroit Carolina

2001 Colorado New Jersey

2000 New Jersey Dallas

1999 Dallas Buffalo

1998 Detroit Washington

1997 Detroit Philadelphia

1996 Colorado Florida

1995 New Jersey Detroit

1994 NY Rangers Vancouver

1993 Montreal Los Angeles

1992 Pittsburgh Chicago


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