Hockey

Montreal Legend Backs Canadian Teams to Snap Stanley Cup Drought

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NHL Hall-of-Famer Denis Savard has backed Canadian teams to end their lengthy wait to win the Stanley Cup.

Savard was part of the Montreal Canadiens team that defeated the Los Angeles Kings in 1993 to lift ice hockey’s most prestigious trophy.

There have been five Canadian finalists since then, but none of them have been able to emulate what Montreal achieved nearly 30 years ago.

Out of Canada’s seven NHL teams, only Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers progressed to the post-season this time around.

Toronto exited in the first round, while Edmonton reached the Western Conference Final after beating Calgary in round two.

The Oilers’ bid to reach the Stanley Cup Final was subsequently ended in four games by an impressive looking Colorado Avalanche team. Avalanche are now favourites in the latest NHL odds to clinch the trophy and Savard believes it will not be long before a Canadian team achieves the feat.

“Canada’s the game – hockey is our game,” he told Betway. “I don’t think it’s ever going away. Ever. Sooner or later, it’s going to happen.”

“You look at all the Canadian teams right now, Edmonton is close, Calgary’s close, Toronto is very, very capable of winning it in the next two or three years. I think they’ve learned a lot over the last two years. It’s a learning process.“

“I don’t think (the drought) is going to hurt our game at all. As long as the teams stay competitive, which they will, we’re going to be fine.”

One of the biggest issues for Canadian teams over the past few decades has been the difficulty in enticing players north of the border. That point is particularly pertinent where free agents are concerned, with moves to warmer cities often proving to be more enticing.

However, there have been signs in recent times that attitudes are changing, with some players recognising that Canada is edging closer to ending its Stanley Cup drought.

John Tavares was a notable example of this in 2018, after rejecting higher offers to join the Maple Leafs from the New York Islanders.With two of the best players in the world currently attracting huge attention on NHL streams for their efforts with Canadian teams, Savard is confident the Stanley Cup drought will end.

“With the Canadian teams, the closer they get to winning a Cup, free agents will go there,” he added.

“There is no question because the ultimate goal is to raise the Cup. It’s not a question of it just being Florida or Dallas.”

“Toronto is not far off, they possibly could do it next year, or in the next two, three years. They have a great leader and a great player in (Auston) Matthews, and a bunch of other stars.”

“The best player in the world, Connor McDavid, is with the Edmonton Oilers and, sooner or later, if they surround him, they get him more help, there’s a chance that they could go on and win a few Cups in a row. That’s how good he is.”

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