Home Hockey Tampa Bay Lightning Try To Win Stanley Cups. How Hard Is It?

Tampa Bay Lightning Try To Win Stanley Cups. How Hard Is It?


Successful a championship is the height achievement for an expert sports activities group. Repeating the following yr is a rarity. However trades get made, and gamers retire. Accidents occur, and so do upsets. Postseason play is a grueling gantlet to run, and it retains increasing. Successful a 3rd straight title is among the hardest feats in group sports activities, and it’s seemingly getting harder.

The Tampa Bay Lightning take to the ice on Wednesday night time in a bid to win a 3rd straight Stanley Cup. It’s been 20 years since any group gained three consecutive championships in a significant North American skilled sport.

When a group, just like the Lightning, does handle to win two straight championships, simply how laborious is it, traditionally, to get the third?

Repeats: 17 since 1927, together with the Lightning.

Threepeats: 5, with two title runs stretching to 4 in a row and one, the Montreal Canadiens from 1956-60, to 5 straight. The league’s two-time champs have a 31 p.c success price the following season.

It seems that 31 p.c is fairly near the baseline for many leagues, with one exception.

Most up-to-date: The 1981-82 Islanders, a string that reached 4 the next season. “At the beginning of the year, people figured the Islanders would win it,” stated Roger Neilson, the coach of the Vancouver Canucks, the dropping Cup finalist in 1982. “In the middle of the season, people said they would, and heading into the playoffs, people figured they’d win it. It takes a real team to get through that kind of pressure.”

As for the possibility of one other threepeat 40 years later: “When you’re growing up in Canada, you always dream about having your name on the Stanley Cup,” Lightning Coach Jon Cooper stated. “And to get there the first time, it was a dream come true. To get there a second time the next year was like a dream, like there’s no way we’re going back. And to go a third time is unthinkable.”

Beginning within the mid-Seventies, the Islanders have been the most effective groups within the N.H.L., however the Stanley Cup persistently eluded them. Probably the most disappointing years of the last decade got here in 1978 and 1979, once they completed with essentially the most factors of their convention throughout the common season however failed to succeed in the finals.

So in 1980, when the Islanders gained the Stanley Cup in six video games over the Philadelphia Flyers, there was a gorilla-sized burden lifted from the gamers’ backs.

“There was a lot of pressure on the guys, and it was a tremendous grind,” stated Butch Goring, a middle for the Islanders from 1980-85, “but we finally got it done, and there was tremendous relief throughout the entire organization.”

After that first title, Goring stated, successful was “relatively easy” for the Islanders, and the stats again that up. The Islanders set a postseason document that also stands throughout North American skilled sports activities, with 19 straight playoff sequence wins from 1980 to 1984.

“In Cup two, we never broke sweat,” Goring stated. “Yes, we had to play, we didn’t just throw our sticks on the ice, but we were able to play to our level because we understood. We knew exactly what we had to do, and the pressure was kind of off, so we knew what we had to do.”

And for the third championship, Goring stated the sensation was the identical: “We felt during those first three years that if we played our best, you couldn’t beat us.”

Repeats: 13 since 1947.

Threepeats: 5, with the 1966 Celtics finishing an unfathomable eight in a row. A 38 p.c success price. The time period “threepeat” was copyrighted in 1988 by Pat Riley, now the Miami Warmth group president. Riley, the Lakers’ coach on the time, had gained two titles in a row, however in the long run his group did not earn him royalties with a 3rd title in 1989.

Most up-to-date: The 2002 Lakers, who additionally stand because the final group to threepeat in a significant North American professional league.

“The first one, it’s a novelty and it feels good,” Kobe Bryant stated after No. 3, a sweep of the New Jersey Nets. “The first one will always be the best one. The second one, adversity that we went through throughout the course of the year made that one special. We proved that we belonged. This one, it’s kind of making us step up as one of the great teams.”

Steve Kerr, who was on the Chicago Bulls group that gained three consecutive titles in 1996, 1997 and 1998 and got here shut as coach of the Golden State Warriors to doing the identical in 2019, stated undertaking the feat is awfully tough.

“I just think the accumulation of emotion and the physical wear and tear that you deal with over time. I think you go from the first year, where it’s kind of fresh and new, and by the third year, you’ve been hunted by every other team and everyone’s building their team to try to beat you. You’ve had short off-seasons for a couple years in a row. It just wears you out, for sure. So I think winning three in a row in any sport is a pretty incredible accomplishment.”

Repeats: 14 since 1903.

Threepeats: 4, together with a four- and a five-in-a-row by, after all, the Yankees. A 29 p.c success price.

Most up-to-date: 2000 Yankees. “We win the big ones,” reliever Mariano Rivera stated. “That’s why we’re so good.”

Not everybody purchased that clarification. “If every club were allowed to spend $100 million in payroll, you would not have the same team winning every year,” Jim Bowden, the Cincinnati Reds’ basic supervisor on the time, said. “But let’s not take away from what the Yankees have accomplished. They deserve the credit where credit is due.”

Bowden would have been stunned to be taught that regardless of that spending, the Yankees wouldn’t win once more till 2009, and so they haven’t gained since.

Repeats: 17 since 1920.

Threepeats: Simply three — a very long time in the past — and none of 4 or extra. Success price: The stingiest in sport at 18 p.c. And one of many three is iffy: The Canton Bulldogs gained titles in 1922 and 1923, then merged and moved to Cleveland and gained once more, although many don’t contemplate that the identical franchise. Don’t rely that, and also you’re right down to 12 p.c.

Most up-to-date: The 1967 Green Bay Packers, making the N.F.L.’s present wait the longest for a threepeat. (The opposite undisputed triple was by the 1931 Packers.)

Solely the final two of the three Packers titles within the Sixties have been within the new Tremendous Bowl, so no group has gained that massive recreation three straight instances. The Miami Dolphins have appeared in three consecutive Tremendous Bowls, and the Payments misplaced 4 in a row within the Nineteen Nineties.

The upstart Dolphins misplaced Tremendous Bowl VI to the Dallas Cowboys, 24-3. The stinging defeat motivated the Dolphins the next yr, once they accomplished the game’s solely good season, going 17-0 and beating Washington in Tremendous Bowl VII. With nearly the identical roster, the Dolphins repeated as champions within the 1973 season.

“You get injured players, you might get a trade or two, but in those good years, we didn’t have many changes,” stated Dick Anderson, the group’s robust security and one in every of its defensive leaders.

The Dolphins have been a nonetheless formidable group heading into the 1974 season. There was no free company on the time, so the group’s key gamers have been nonetheless below contract. However coaches have been free to go away, and Invoice Arnsparger, the Dolphins’ defensive coordinator, grew to become head coach of the Giants. Arnsparger was the architect of the Dolphins’ top-ranked No Identify Protection and Anderson stated that as gifted because the gamers have been, it was more durable with out their soft-spoken however heady chief.

“I don’t remember ever questioning a defense he called,” Anderson stated. “He was a brilliant coach, and people don’t realize when you look at the other coaches, they also got other jobs,” together with offensive coordinators Howard Schnellenberger and Monte Clark.

It has a a lot shorter historical past, however no group has threepeated in M.L.S. because it began in 1996, although there have been three repeats. The Houston Comets gained the primary 4 titles within the W.N.B.A., however there was just one different group — the Los Angeles Sparks in 2001 and 2002 — to even repeat because the league began in 1997. Including up the 2 younger leagues we get a 20 p.c success price.

Irrespective of the game, it’s laborious to get that third straight title.

Ken Belson, Scott Cacciola, Kris Rhim and Shawna Richer contributed reporting.

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