Last week, to great fanfare, preliminary rosters for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey were unveiled. And as usual, Team Canada stood out as being ridiculously stacked, boasting so much talent that the biggest story were the perennial All-Stars who wouldn’t make the cut.
It was a nice moment for Canadian fans, one where they could feel good about the nation’s hockey prowess. Then the NHL regular season resumed, and those feelings immediately vanished. Because as a glance at this year’s standings will confirm, Canada’s NHL teams are terrible.
Canada has seven of the NHL’s 30 teams, and barring a miracle, all seven will miss the playoffs this year – according to Sports Club Stats, the country’s best hope for a postseason appearance rests with the Ottawa Senators, who have just a 1.7% chance of making it. It would be the first time that no Canadian team has made the playoffs since 1970, and back then there were only three.
So what’s going on? How can all seven teams from a hockey mad nation be so bad at the same time? There are a handful of theories, some better than others.