Yesterday, an announcement came saying that the 2019-20 NHL regular season is officially over. This means that the Bruins are officially the winners of the 2020 President’s Trophy. On paper, that looks like a great thing. I mean, who doesn’t want to be in first place in the league? But, as many of you probably know, the President’s Trophy has often spelled playoff doom for its recipients.
The last President’s Trophy winners that went on to win the Stanley Cup were the 2013 Chicago Blackhawks (yuck). That means for the past six seasons, the President’s Trophy winner was eliminated at some point in the playoffs. None of those teams made it to the Cup Final, and only one made it to the Conference Finals. That’s not a fun stat, to say the least. An early exit is not something any team wants, but especially the Bruins this season. After the way things ended last year, they’re clearly been hungry for revenge all season long. That hunger is only going to get stronger once the playoffs start too. One can hope this will help them overcome the curse, but they also won the President’s Trophy in 2014, one year after losing to the Blackhawks in the Cup Final in six games. They lost in the second round that year. Granted, this team has a ton of different players and they seem to be a closer, more determined group, but still. It’s not very fun to think about that happening again.
There’s Some Hope
All negativity aside, there is some hope that the Bruins can overcome the curse. I don’t know about you, but as I said earlier, this Bruins team feels different. It’s a really tight-knit group, and there was very little turnover from last year. So, it’s largely the same group that got their hearts broken, which means they should all be equally determined to not have a repeat of last season. That aside, as I also mentioned earlier, the 2013 Blackhawks were the last team to win the President’s Trophy and the Stanley Cup. As you may remember, 2013 was the lockout-shortened season. Teams would only play 48 regular-season games that season. It’s the only shortened season in recent memory. Until this one. This season was longer than that one, but it still ended with most teams having played 69 or 70 games. So, who knows? Maybe a shortened season is the key to breaking the President’s Trophy curse.
If you’re superstitious about sports like me, you can’t be too happy to see the Bruins win the President’s Trophy. Others may argue that the curse isn’t real, and truth be told, you can say it never was. But, it has become one in the salary cap era. Since the salary cap came into play in 2005, only two of the 14 teams have actually gone on to win the Cup. Yes, 28 (29 starting in 2017-18) other teams that didn’t win the trophy also didn’t win the Cup in those years, but still. That’s not a stat that makes me feel good about the trophy being a good luck charm. While I never want the Bruins to lose, a small part of me was pulling for an out of division team to surge and overtake them in the standings so they didn’t have to deal with the curse (or the Leafs in the first round, but the jokes potentially on me there). But unfortunately, the regular season is now over, so that possibility is dead. The Bruins are your 2020 President’s Trophy winners. All we can do now is hope that they can be the ones to break the curse. Given the amount of rest and time to recover they’re getting right now before the playoffs start and the chaotic potential of the return-to-play format, they might end up having a better chance than the others (or worse, but let’s not go there).
– Lydia Murray (@lydia_murray12)
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