As I'm reveling in the Caps' new position atop the League's standings, I keep hearing words of warning from friends and family. You may have heard them too: the Curse of the President's Trophy. Apparently, if you have the best record in the league for the regular season, you doom yourself to playoff failure. I thought this misconception was confined to the hockey ignorant, but Peerless last week mentioned that having the best record in the league "is not necessarily a good thing if you consider the number of President’s Trophy winners that traded up to a Stanley Cup (seven in 23 seasons)." Then on Ted's Take yesterday: "...we also know that it is highly unusual for the team that has the best record in the NHL to go on and win the Stanley Cup."
The truth: President's Trophy winners have far and away the best track record of winning Cups.
This myth is so easy to debunk, it's barely worth the trouble, but since it keeps popping up, I'll lay it out.
Here's a breakdown of where in the League standings the last 20 Stanley Cup winners finished.
- 1st (President's Trophy) = 6 teams (DET '08, DET '02, COL '01, DAL '99, NYR '94, CAL '89)
- 2nd = 2 teams (TB '04, COL '96)
- 3rd = 1 team (DET '98)
- 4th = 4 teams (ANA '07, CAR '06, NJ '03, NJ '00)
- 5th = 2 teams (DET '97, EDM '90)
- 6th = 2 teams (MON '93, PIT '92)
- 7th = 1 team (PIT '91)
- 8th = 1 (PIT '09)
- 9th = 1 (NJ '95)
Yes, 6 out of 20 is only 30%, but it's far and away the best place to be if you want to win the Cup.
Kaboom. Myth busted. Now let's all just settle down and enjoy our team's success.