Monday, March 10, 2014

The Top Of The Bottom - Ranking 9 through 16

 So we're halfway through our worst sixteen and we're about to hit the big boys of losing. I wanted to rank our bottom eight. This is a lot harder than I thought. These teams are truly terrible.

 Your mileage may vary of course but here is what I looked at.

Length of time - the longer the better (or worse I guess). Being horrible for four years is awful but nothing compared to twice or three times that amount of time. Put it this way, would you rather be last place overall for four years and then really good or near the bottom of the league for a decade.

Degree of being bad - Was the team absolutely horrific or just mediocre? Were there playoff appearances? This is what really separates the bottom eight from the top eight by the way. The worst clubs were really really bad for a very long time and had no redeeming qualities at all. The teams we have looked at so far included some that were bad but not abysmal.

End results - What did the suffering result in? In a lot of cases the fans of these teams ended up with championship teams. In others there was an improvement in quality but nothing really great.

Here we go:

16th - 80s Pens - Three really bad years, improvement for three resulting in a playoff spot, then a regression when Lemieux was hurt that netted them Jagr. The tank job saved the franchise and resulted in two Stanley Cups. Not bad for what was really only three disastrous years.

15th - Turn of the century Tampa - Five really bad years which were essentially their expansion pains postponed. Last overall twice which netted them Vinny Lecavalier. Two years after it was over they won the Cup. Big deal.

14th - Oughts Pens - Four years of being really bad that got them Crosby and Malkin. Seriously? Any fanbase would go through that.

13th - 90s/Oughts Chicago - A decade which began with mediocrity and became worse and worse. The team wasn't truly terrible until the end of the run and when Bill Wirtz died they emerged as the best team in the league. Hawks' fans were long suffering but what has followed makes even that decade worth it.

12th - Expansion Sens - The worst four year stretch any team ever suffered through was terrible but they were an expansion team and they were a contender for a decade afterwards. If they'd had Toronto's goaltending they probably would have won a Cup or two and been ranked even lower but they didn't so here we are.

11th - 80s Nordiques - Five years is awfully short when compared with a decade amongst the best teams in the league and two Cups. They would be ranked way lower except the fans in Quebec City never saw the payoff. How cruel is that?

10th - 70s/80s Canucks - over two decades of being bad puts them near the top of this list. They rarely really bottomed out and they had a Cup run in there which separates them from the worst of the worst but the fact that 1994 was the highlight of the decade following means they belong here

9th - 80s Leafs - this club was terrible, absolutely brutal. The only reason they are ranked this low is that they had a bunch of playoff appearances which they ended up with because they were in the worst division in pro sports ever. Horrible, horrible, horrible. And the eight teams that are worse than them are way worse. Seriously.


Olivier said...

I came around to hockey in Quebec city in the late 80's. Basically missed on the last good team and started paying attention when they cratered, mostly because they traded their top 2 C's, Stastny and Hunter. Both were fading, but they were still real NHL men. And they didn't guys to fall back on.

Tought the late 80's nords would be higher, but you are right, it wasn't that bad of a drought and, man, the Lindros trade…

5 Roster players right away: Ricci (#3C), Steve Duchesne (PPG D-Man), Huffman (top-6 D man), Hextall (#1 goalie, altough a 80's #1, ie crappy at stopping puck, which didn't look good in those showdowns against Roy) and Chris Simon (enforcer who could skate with Sakic back in the days). Then Forsberg and Thibault and *15 millions bucks*. And they drafted well and didn't blew their high picks (well, Fogarty was lost).

Sundin was sent away because of money and it's a shame, because I wish they had stayed and ran trough the league with Sakic/Sundin/Forsberg as a C line :).

Oh well…

Still, it shows the insanity of the Oilers sending so many roster players away with nothing in return. We got nervous in Montreal lately, watching Bergevin sign old/broken players to replace useful ones, but the trade deadline showed us he can assess weakness and adress them, even when said weaknesses are the results of his most recent and high profile choices.

It's all you can ask for, really. They have so many moves to make, they are bound to make mistakes.

Black Dog said...

I thought the Nordiques would be way higher too but then I started seeing these other teams and realized they weren't in the same league. Five years is not too long and the payoff was tremendous.

And the Lindros trade!

Sundin was the big misstep but as you noted they all make mistakes. Its just a question of how many and how big they are.