The 2013 NHL season was shortened because of the lockout, which was totally necessary. But the Blackhawks were dynamite right out of the gate, then they went on to beat the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Finals and get their names engraved on the Holy Grail for the second time in four years. It was a pretty magical run. The big question is, can they do it again?
It’s not easy to make back-to-back trips to the Stanley Cup Finals. The path is long and winding and steep, and after you’ve made it to the end you’re tired as hell. That’s why, more often than not, the teams that are still playing on the last day of the hockey season experience a letdown the following year. It’s called a Stanley Cup hangover.
Of course, not every team experiences the Stanley Cup hangover, and some have minor symptoms but get over quickly. Pittsburgh and Detroit played each other in back-to-back finals in 2008 and 2009, and the Kings were flat out of the gate last year before getting into shape and making it back to the Western Conference Finals. But a lot of other teams haven’t done so well.
Today, in honor of the start of the 2013 NHL season, we’re going to take a look at the nine worst Stanley Cup hangovers of the past 20 years. The 2013-14 Blackhawks? They got off to a good-enough start with a win over the Capitals. But there’s a long way to go.